How to Create a Relaxing Listening Nook, According to Musician Lily Kershaw

The LA-based singer/songwriter has a knack for creating a cheerfully relaxing and charming creative space wherever she is.

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Los Angeles based singer/songwriter, Lily Kershaw, is quite possibly an angel on earth. As an earth-angel, it is imperative that she create a relaxing respite here in this corporal world to energetically and creatively recharge herself. Kershaw’s space takes its form as a cheerfully snug and warmly lit listening area, or music nook. The professionals call this a studio, but as I write this without any musical talent or professionalism, it is, for all intents and purposes, a nook by my standards. The following depiction of Kershaw’s listening area at home and in the studio will set the scene for how to attempt to carve out a space of your own where you too, can sit on fluffy, pastel colored furniture and bask in the gentle, radiating light of pink neon wall art. 

Walking through the door to Kershaw’s home will make you do a double take—did you just make a left turn into Candyland? Is she living inside of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights? It smells of gardenia candle wax and fresh cut flowers. All the furnishings and trimmings are curated much like a gingerbread house, iced to perfection.

“Soft lighting and a cozy place to sit are the things that make me feel most safe and at ease when I’m [song] writing. When I am making a creative space for myself, I focus most on filling it with things that I love," says Kershaw. "At my home where I do most of my writing, I have art I love to look at, beautiful flowers, and trinkets I am fond of that remind me of various places and times in my life."

But how do you cultivate a relaxing space that suits your specific habits? Kershaw has some thoughts.

“When listening to music I feel it’s important to find the way you enjoy listening and that will dictate the kind of space you do it in," she says.“Do you like listening to music streamed from your phone through your favorite speakers? Do you like listening to your music on vinyl? Do you enjoy listening in your car on long drives?” 

In my own attempt at creating said nook, I emulated Kershaw by arranging some personal doo-dads and cacti on a small table, alongside my record player. Underneath I’ve stored vinyls and other small speakers should I decide to hook up music digitally, and leave my records out posing, you know, for the contribution to the aesthetic. 

You need not be a professional songwriter to enjoy an intimate space to listen to your favorite tunes. This experience can be tranquil, romantic, energizing, or really any adjective you decide on, and that is a beautiful thing. And according to Kershaw, it seems all you do need to know how to do is be your own lighting designer. “Lighting that evokes a mood or atmosphere is incredibly important to me. In my living room, I have curated the lighting to be very soft yellow, pink, and purple tones. I love writing here at night, it is an incredibly inviting place especially in the evening,” she says.

Kershaw insists that lighting is the key to creating a relaxing vibe wherever you are.

“When I record in studios, it is a space I haven’t had a hand in designing. The quickest way to make it more my own is figuring out which lights to keep on and which to turn off," she says. "Sometimes I’ll record vocals in the dark. Which probably sounds dramatic but for me it helps me to forget the day, be in the present moment, let go and sing.” How are you going to light your nook? Natural sunlight or dim and ambient? Is it by candlelight as Enya plays softly? Or are you doused by the glow of a neon moon, in Brooks and Dunn fashion?

In short, Kershaw advises making sure you have a comfy place to kick back and sit for long periods of time that's above all else, you. All it takes is a little effort, a few choice lighting & comfort additions, and some experimentation, and you'll soon be sitting pretty while your speakers whisper sweet nothings in an intimate arena built for one.

Greer Glassman is a Thrillist contributor.
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