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Oct. 18, 2021, 10:24 a.m. EDT

Space Clearing Experts Infuse Interior Design With Spirituality

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The stress of living through a pandemic hunkered down at home working—or worse, not working at all—has sped up interest in a niche home service: space clearing, a practice that straddles the line of spirituality and interior design. 

Space-clearing services have become widely available through holistic interior design firms, can even be performed remotely and range in price from $100 to several-hundred dollars per hour depending on the complexity involved. Of course, space clearing can also be a DIY project requiring little more than reading about the ritual to prepare.

“The reason I started on this journey and studying all of this,” said Gala Magriñá, who runs her eponymous interior design company in in Queens, New York, “comes from a quote from the Global Wellness Institute: ‘Our homes, communities and surrounding environment directly affect our daily behaviors and lifestyles, and together these determine up to 80% to 90% of our health outcomes.’ Our spaces matter. They have a huge impact on our health and mental well-being.”

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Defining Space Clearing

Space clearing, often associated with yoga and meditation, feng shui and New Age practitioners, is a ritual to begin anew in a space. It can involve smudging (burning sage or palo santo ), ringing a bell or other actions.

“The essence of energy is intention,” said Matthew Tenzin , of Joe McGuire Design, a holistic interior design firm in Boulder and Aspen, Colorado. “It’s about conscious or unconscious intention. Smudging is an act of conscious intention. It’s an opportunity to honor the history of the space, not to reject, cast out and banish all negativity.”

Mr. Tenzin , who also runs True Home Design, an energy-centric design consultancy, said stuck energy, what someone doesn’t want in their house, is most easily cleared when it is “honored, acknowledged, felt and released.”  

“That applies to our internal stuck emotions and healing as well as to spaces,” he added.

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The idea behind the smoke from burning sage or palo santo is that it helps to clear out what the practitioners called “old, stagnant energy.”

“When you create a ritual around that, it becomes powerful,” Ms. Magriñá said. She doesn’t perform energy work on her own, and instead calls in experts on space clearing. She’s even worked with experts who can do remote energy clearing using a pendulum, an address and a home’s floor plan. “It’s been fascinating,” she said.Mr. Tenzin cautioned that when dealing with a building with a complicated history and energetic imbalances, it’s best to call a professional. For instance, trying to space clear a hotel is probably outside the ability of most DIYers. 

“We worked on an old hotel with a lot of rooms, with a lot of history and a lot of complexity. It took a lot of work to clear. In the end, they said it was the best money they ever spent in terms of customer satisfaction,” Mr. Tenzin said. The hotel client told Mr. Tenzin that they had fewer customer complaints and a happier staff following the clearing.

Drawing on the Elements of Holistic Design

After space clearing, designers often lean on the holistic design school of thought to reimagine a space. Holistic design touches on nature and biophilic design, colors, shapes, natural light, proper artificial lighting, air quality, ventilation, sustainability, wellness and energetics. “So much [of holistic interior design] has to do with our ancient brain connection with nature, patterns of nature, sounds of nature, the feelings that nature emits and recreating those inside,” Ms. Magriñá said.

The Joe McGuire team takes the same considerations, along with the social, spiritual and sustainable aspects of interior design. Their clients in Boulder and the Denver metro area and in the surrounding mountains often have acreage. He encourages a walk around the perimeter of the property to get to know its natural elements better.

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