File this under: Things We Didn’t See Coming but Oddly Make Sense in the Dystopian Hellscape We’ve Found Ourselves In. OK, OK, perhaps that’s a touch dramatic, but as we mark the second year of the pandemic—amid an Omicron surge, with headlines declaring another variant discovered in France (though WHO says it isn’t a concern, thankfully)—it’s understandable that one of the top emerging home trends is creating a “emotional escape room” within your house.

Coined by Pinterest, the term denotes half a dozen ways people are searching to make better use of their now-not-so-used guest rooms, be it converting them into little libraries, massage rooms, music dens or crystal caverns. In fact, when the brand analyzed its global data from October 2019 to September 2021, it found searches for music-themed rooms and home massage parlors had essentially doubled, while crystal rooms had octupled. And, while we may not have the means to create a Beauty and the Beast-caliber library at home, a great deal of us dream of a reading nook to call our own: Searches for ideas to create a “tiny library room” are 12 times what they were pre-pandemic. So, what does it all mean? We’re all looking for a private sanctuary—and adding a rainfall showerhead and wine tray to our bathrooms just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Pinterest found that these searches span all age groups, noting that it points to a larger trend of creating “safe spaces for feels.”

emotional escape rooms music space
Patricia M. Lachance/Unsplash

“People will plan their great (indoor) escapes and designate rooms in their homes to decompress, vibe and rage,” the brand noted in its report.

It’s a sentiment echoed in Zillow’s 2022 Home Trends research; the real estate listings company found that homeowners have started prioritizing creating retreats within their homes, and that highlighting said features could boost your ROI down the road, helping a house sell for 2.2 percent more than expected.

“The pandemic forced a lot of people to reevaluate what’s most important in their homes,” Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton noted. “For many, 2022 is the moment to start living those values.”

emotional escape rooms overhead
Ralph (Ravi) Kayden/Unsplash

So, while the idea of an ‘emotional escape room’ may sound a bit bleak, the concept itself could be a boost to your overall wellbeing, particularly in light of recent research that maintaining or increasing your leisure activity—especially when it comes to tackling purely creative pursuits over productive ones—can help you feel happier.

Is this the year you finally create that craft room? Or commit a corner to your meditation practice? After the two years we’ve all had, a self-care space doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

RELATED: What Is Distress Tolerance? A Therapist Explains Why It’s Your Easy Pandemic-Era Coping Tool

Don’t want to devote a room to a specific hobby or interest? You can always create a comfy space that helps you relax. Here are a handful of ways to achieve just that.

1. Choose a Soothing Color Palette

Most years, paint companies are divided on the Color of the Year. Not in 2022. Just about every major brand debuted a variation on pale green. The hue is mellow, works in a variety of lighting situations and aesthetics and complements a range of other colors. Road to Todos Santos is a cool, muted green with gray undertones, making it a great neutral base for your chill zone.

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2. Add Mood Lighting

Instantly cast a warm, dreamy glow on your walls with one of TikTok’s trendiest finds: a sunset projection lamp.

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3. Keep It Organized

You’ll find no relief from the chaos of your life if your sanctuary’s a cluttered mess. Acrylic floating shelves are a minimalist’s dream come true, and let you display whatever sparks joy, be it crystals, vinyl or Ron Burgundy-approved leather-bound books.

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4. Play Some Music

You could stream music straight from your phone, but something tells us this space will be a bit more relaxing if you make it a cell-free zone.

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5. Get Cozy

The No. 1 rule of an emotional escape room? No hard pants, no hard surfaces. Ultra-cushy floor cushions let you lounge anywhere.

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RELATED: PureWow Staffers’ Best Purchases of 2021

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