How to Get Privacy When You Share a Living Space

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:08
A guide to finding time & space to be alone when you live with others When you share a living space with other people, it can feel like you never have a second for yourself. If you're looking for ways to relax with some me time, or just to...
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When you share a living space with other people, it can feel like you never have a second for yourself. If you’re looking for ways to relax with some me time, or just to establish some privacy in your own home, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll share simple and practical ways to get alone time in a shared living space, whether you’re living with extended family, your partner, or roommates. Read on to get the privacy you deserve.

Things You Should Know

  • Objects like a room divider, curtain, or bookcase can be used to create your own private space if you share a bedroom.
  • Find a corner in your shared space that is only yours to work or relax in. Add a table to make a workspace and a plant or bookcase next to it to make it private.
  • Talk to your family and roommates to schedule times when a shared space is yours or theirs to use, and add the schedules to a calendar.

Carve out privacy with a room divider.

  1. Add a divider, curtain, or bookcase to make your own bedroom space.
    If you share a bedroom with a sibling or roommate, rearrange your furniture to divide up your spaces. Use a bookshelf or dresser to designate your half of the room, or set it next to your bed as a barrier so you can relax in peace. If you don’t have a lot of space to rearrange, place a thin divider between your part of the room. Or, hang a curtain from the ceiling.[1]
    • If you don’t have space to make a full barrier, carve out a corner for yourself. Make your own reading or vanity nook by placing a shelf or curtain along one of the corner walls.
    • Switching out your bed to a loft bed (or building your own) is a great way to save space and create a private area for yourself, too.
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Create your own corner in shared living spaces.

  1. Find a spot in the kitchen, dining, or living room to work and relax.
    This might be as simple as flipping around a chair in the living room to close yourself off or claiming a stool at the kitchen counter. Or, place a small table in the corner of the dining room and set a tall plant next to it to make a private workspace. If your home has a big enough closet, throw some pillows on the floor and create your own personal lounge.[2]
    • Repurpose furniture you already have to make your space. Use a nightstand or an accent table in the living room as a desk or pull a chair onto your porch to relax on.
    • Whether you’re using your computer for work or entertainment, keep it private by adding a privacy filter on the screen. Or, set up a divider or folders on each side of your computer.

Schedule time for yourself in shared spaces.

  1. Set aside chunks of time when the living or dining room is all yours.
    Talk to your family about the shared areas you all want to use in your home and when. For example, you might want to use the patio to work out on weekday mornings and the kitchen table before dinner to do homework. Then, write down all of your schedules on a whiteboard or sync your electronic calendars together so you remember when and where someone is having alone time.[3]
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Create a peaceful space in your bathroom.

  1. Add candles or plants to your bathroom to make it relaxing for me time.
    If you live with a lot of people, the bathroom might be your only true private space. So, make this room a comfortable place to relax, journal, meditate, or read. Place candles on the counter, hang a plant in the shower, and put up fun artwork on the walls. If you have the space, add a stool or chair in the corner.[4]
    • If you can’t permanently add these items to the bathroom, store them in a basket in your room and bring them into the bathroom when you want peace and quiet.

Wear noise-canceling headphones.

  1. Use headphones to...
    Use headphones to be in your private world and shut out distractions. Headphones are a great way to enjoy a show, music, or podcast and communicate to your family or roommates that you don’t want to be disturbed. Just look for a pair that tunes out the ambient sounds around you. Then put them on while you work, shut your eyes and meditate, or simply to block out the distracting noises of your family.[5]
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Wake up early.

  1. Get alone time by waking up a few hours before everyone else.
    Sometimes all you need is an hour or 30 minutes on the couch by yourself to feel recharged and refreshed. If you know when your family or roommates usually wake up, set your alarm for 1 to 2 hours before them. Then enjoy your coffee, watch some TV, put on a face mask, or journal in private without worrying about anyone looking over your shoulder.[6]

Go to bed early.

  1. Get some privacy by heading to bed a few hours before everyone else.
    Your family might want you to spend time with them in the evening when all you want to do is decompress by yourself. So, give them 1 to 2 hours of your time, then go back to your room. Use the few hours before they go to bed to do your skincare routine, call a friend, or scroll on your phone in peace.[7]
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Communicate your needs.

  1. Talk to the people you live with about your privacy boundaries.
    One of the best ways to get privacy is to tell your family, partner, or roommates that you need it. Clearly and firmly establish your boundaries using “I” statements like, “I’m not comfortable with you coming into my room unannounced.” Because you’re all sharing space, work with your family to reach a compromise that fits your needs and leaves everyone happy.[8]
    • For example, you might suggest that your parents knock on your door and wait for you to respond before opening it.
    • If you find the TV distracting when you’re doing work, you might compromise that your family keeps the volume low instead of turning it all the way off.
    • If you want more privacy in your room, develop trust within your relationship with your parents.
    • Find out why they don't trust you enough to give you that privacy.
    • You can build trust by following the boundaries they have set. They will be willing to offer more privileges when they see you can follow those boundaries.

Set rules about when guests are allowed over.

  1. Knowing who is coming over and when can help you find alone time.
    Talk to your family and roommates about giving you notice when guests are invited over and when it’s acceptable to have them. You might ask that they give you 1 day's notice before a guest comes over and 1 week's notice if they’re staying the night. Then, set rules on what days and hours they’re allowed over.[9]
    • If you’re sharing a small space, also talk about how many guests are usually allowed. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed in your home either.
    • Make this an open conversation so your family and roommates can give their input. They might have different rules and expectations that you need to compromise on.
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Take a walk outside.

  1. Get away from everyone else by spending time outside.
    Taking 30 to 60 minutes to wander through your neighborhood or local park is a great way to reduce stress, feel at ease, and get some much-needed time away from your family or roommates. Listen to music, a podcast, an audiobook, or the sounds of nature and people around you. Or, call or FaceTime a friend as you walk.[10]
    • If you have a car, going for a drive is another great way to get alone time. Roll down your windows, blast your music, and drive through your favorite streets in town to feel refreshed.

Take up a hobby that gets you out of the house.

  1. Join a club or volunteer group to spend time away from your house.
    Sometimes you have to remove yourself from your shared space to get your privacy, and that’s okay. Join a gym, look for fun classes in something you’re interested in, like pottery, or volunteer at your local animal shelter. If you’re in school, join a sports team or an after-school club.[11]
    • Encourage your family members, partner, or roommates to find a hobby outside of the house, too. When they’re gone, you’ll have the place to yourself!
    • Work and relax outside of the house too. Go to your local library, coffee shop, park, or museum to read, stroll, or answer some emails.
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Take a trip.

  1. Plan a short vacation away from home to get all the alone time you need.
    Taking a weekend trip to do exactly what you want to do is a great way to recharge. You might drive to the city closest to you for a day trip and explore all its nooks and crannies. Or, go hiking and camp out under the stars. If you need a bit more time away, jet off to the beach to relax or to the mountains to ski.[12]
    • If you don’t want to be completely alone, invite a friend or your partner to come with you.
    • Or, use this opportunity to stay with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while.

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