July 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

15 Soothing Decor Ideas to Help You Relax and Unwind at Home

7 min read

Your home is your refuge, where you can feel safe and relaxed when life gets overwhelming. Soothing decor ideas help foster that sense of peace and significantly impact how you feel in a space. A well-designed environment filled with items you love can be calming and relieve stress, while cluttered rooms can have the opposite effect on your mood and mental health. We asked some of our favorite interior designers for tips on transforming your home into a personal sanctuary. These decorating ideas will help you create a stress-free oasis you’ll enjoy every day.

Start with a Neutral Palette

David Land

Muted, neutral tones are easier on the eye than bright colors. “While I’m definitely one for decorating with color because it can be fun and exciting, I do believe that neutral spaces promote the calmest, sanctuary-like vibes,” says Karin Bohn, founder and creative director of the House of Bohn.

Use plenty of texture to create interest when decorating with white or light-toned neutrals (such as cream, off-white, or taupe). Flat white walls and smooth white furnishings are soothing decor ideas, but they can readily blend into boredom, so layer in various fabrics and subtle patterns. Add shades of warmth, such as gold, pale tan, or faded yellow, to keep white from looking too sterile.

Create a Cluster of Color

Annie Schlecther

For a punch of happiness and positivity, add in a few brightly colored accessories such as pillows (like these Better Homes & Gardens Blue Velvet Blooms Throw Pillows, $19, Walmart) or throws, suggest Meghan Hackett-Cassidy and Erin Hackett of Hackett Interiors. Pottery in a favorite color, vibrant artwork, a jewel-tone vase, and other items of intense color can help attract the eye and focus the mind.

Maximize the comforting effect of favorite accessories by clustering them together to create a focal point. That way, every time you pass by, you can take in the collective joy of the items. Be sure to choose a place you notice daily, such as a fireplace mantel or entryway console table.

Maximize the Appeal of a Fireplace

Stacy Goldberg

A fireplace doesn’t have to be lit to create a comforting atmosphere. Pay attention to the entire hearth to maximize its relaxing appeal. Add soothing decor ideas to the walls around and the floor in front of a fireplace to create a cozy vignette.

When not in use, brighten up the firebox with a decorative screen, a cluster of birch branches, or an arrangement of pillar candles. Otherwise, the dark, empty spot can detract from the room’s calming effect.

Warm with Candles

Kim Cornelison

The soft glow of candles is a soothing decor idea for any space, so use them generously throughout your house. “In the morning, I like to light candles in the kitchen and living room and let them burn until evening,” says co-founder, principal designer, and chief creative officer of Metal + Petal, Jade Joyner. “It creates a soothing ambience while adding a little luxe to my day.”

Keep a substantial supply of candles (tapers, pillars, or votives) and several favorite candleholders to have plenty on hand when you want them. Just be sure to blow them out when you’re not at home or go to bed.

Work with Light

David Tsay

Utilize a variety of lighting types (including natural, ambient, and task lighting) in every room. “Having a bright, lighted room is an easy way to make a space feel more inviting and put together,” says co-founder and principal designer of BANDD DESIGN, Sara Barney. “Consider adding in some sconces, a floor lamp, desk lamp, or pendants to bring more light to those darker spaces in your home.”

During the daytime, take advantage of natural light by throwing back the blinds and enjoying the sunlight that floods in. Then, create a lighting scheme for the evening hours that’s just as appealing as nature’s rays with bulbs that cast a gentle, warm light.

Scent the Air

Brie Williams

A pleasant aroma is one of the quickest soothing decor ideas to create an environment of relaxation and a sense of well-being. Interior designer Darla Bankston May suggests burning your favorite scented candles (Better Homes & Gardens Salted Coconut & Mahogany Bell Jar Candle, $13, Walmart) and placing fresh, fragrant flowers in the rooms you use the most.

Alternatively, try running an essential oil diffuser to fill the room with your own signature scent blend. “Eucalyptus, geranium, and chamomile are some of my favorites, and they bring a soothing, spa-like quality to any room,” says founder and creative director of Black Lacquer Design, Caitlin Murray.

Display Family Photos

Helen Norman

Hang framed photos for a soothing decor idea to take your mind to the pleasant places you’ve been, such as trips to the beach or a beautiful family wedding. “Surrounding yourself with happy memories and the faces you love can be a great way to add a little warmth to your space,” says interior designer Abbe Fenimore. Keep images of loved ones in your daily line of sight, or store photos in easily accessible albums or boxes.

Bring the Outdoors In

Jacob Fox

A bunch of flowers, an arrangement of branches, or a few houseplants can all bring a breath of fresh air into a room. “It can be as simple as gathering a bunch of branches from a tree in your backyard and popping them in a vase,” says designer Linda Eyles. Eyles suggests filling a wide, shallow bowl about halfway with water and floating some of your favorite blooms on the surface for an easy, spa-inspired centerpiece.

If you’re worried about wilted petals and neglected plants, choose dried flowers or hearty houseplants and indulge in fresh flowers for special occasions.

Emphasize a View to Nature

Nicholas Johnson

If you have a great view from your windows, highlight that portrait of nature with smart window treatment choices. Layering treatments gives you the option of creating a look that suits the day. For example, shades can block out the view when privacy is needed or go up to emphasize the view. A valance over the shade ensures windows are never too stark, and draperies along the sides add softness.

Soften with Textiles

James Nathan Schroder

Layer on cozy textiles, such as cable knits, velvet, and suede, for a soothing decor idea that gives your decor a relaxing look and feel. Drapes that pool on the floor, loose-fitting slipcovers, and tons of pillows bring a sense of ease to a room. These accents are easy (and relatively inexpensive) to swap out on a whim. “Rugs, throw pillows, and blankets get well-worn over time, so making a coordinated effort to switch them out all at once helps a space feel polished and cohesive, sending signals of satisfaction to the brain,” Murray says. For pillows, choose a variety of shapes and sizes and move them around regularly.

Redo a Room with Simple Changes

Lisa Romerein

Sometimes, simple repetition creates a sense of tension, and all a space needs is a quick refresh to maximize its comfort level. Keep the approach simple but fresh by changing a room’s looks with the seasons. Dress up chairs with slipcovers, rearrange some furniture, or add seasonal decor to make a room more welcoming.

Soak Away Stress

Michael Partenio Productions

Make your bathroom function for both practical and pampering needs. Create a spa-like atmosphere with simple soothing decor ideas like a stack of fluffy towels or a few candles, then take advantage of the space to soak away stress with a bath. “Clear out the kids’ toys, grab your favorite book, and take back the bathroom as your own for a few quiet moments of solitude,” suggests creative director and CEO of Kate Lester Interiors, Kate Lester. Warm colors, soft lighting, and soothing music can add to the experience.

Create a Relaxing Bedroom

Edmund Barr

Improve your sleep quality (and the quality of your waking hours) by making your bedroom a sanctuary. “After a long day, there is nothing more soothing than slipping into crisp, clean, high thread count sheets,” Lester says. “Invest in a set, and every evening, it will feel like you are relaxing at your favorite luxury hotel.”

Keep only the essentials within reach and view to extend the calming effect beyond your bed. Decorate walls in colors that comfort you, and add only artwork that makes you smile. Cover the floor with rugs or carpeting that feels best on bare feet.

Organize Away Chaos

Dave Greer

Chaos breeds anxiety, so think of getting organized as prepping for calm to come. “I’m a firm believer that a space with lots of knick-knacks, or just disorganization, creates visual tension and physical stress,” Bohn says. If your space is teeming with stuff, start the path to organization by focusing on a single space, such as the place where you enter the house. Recruit everyone in the household to participate in clearing clutter, starting at the door.

Once you’ve cleared one room of clutter, shift your focus to the next space. “Organize your living room by adding an oversized basket in the corner for throw blankets or toys,” suggests Fenimore. “Not only will it feel satisfying to manage the mess, but it will add a little extra space to the room.”

Create a Comfort Zone

James Nathan Schroder

Designate a place in your home where relaxing is the primary function, suggests Bankston May. Tailor it to your choice of activity, whether reading, listening to music, or meditating. “Move a comfortable chair to a spot in your home that gets natural light or has a view you love,” she says. Put a barrier between you and distractions, such as a folding screen, to block unwanted views and redirect foot traffic away from the area.

You don’t need to set aside an entire room; select a spot that’s out of the main flow of household activity. “All you need is a comfortable chair, a floor lamp, and a side table for your teacup,” Eyles says. “Everyone needs a place to get away from it all.”


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