Having a place to feel peaceful, meditate, and get consistently good sleep is beneficial to our mental and physical health, and there are specific ways you can achieve the most calming atmosphere possible to help it happen. We’ll talk through general tips that can be applied to any room, how to maintain the peaceful atmosphere of your space, and finally how design style affects the overall look of your calm bedroom.
COLOR is the easiest way to change the vibe in a room. There are several studies that link color to psychology and emotion. You’ve maybe heard about companies using color associations strategically when they’re creating branding or advertising, and that’s because of the strong science behind how colors make us feel different things and can actually spur us to specific actions. For example, red is a color that is not only exciting, but it can make you hungry – hence why many fast food restaurants use red in their logos. Green and blue are most commonly associated with calm and refreshing emotions, so they’re easy choices when selecting bedroom colors. When choosing a color scheme for a bedroom, using these cooler colors will subtly give the room a calmer atmosphere. Even if you really like the color yellow, having yellow bedroom walls might affect your sleep or mindset while in the space without you even realizing it. That being said, really any color can be used in a bedroom and still feel calming if used correctly. You could have pops of yellow with your pale blue walls and achieve a calming effect. Along the same lines, every color has both positive and negative psychology to it, which is why choosing paint colors is really personal, don’t be afraid to go with your gut for what you like or what you know calms you.
When using whites or neutrals in a bedroom, choosing one that has blue undertones will also help achieve that calming effect. You can see in these comparison images that “white paint” is a bit more complicated than it seems. All paints are made with some pigment of either reds, yellows, blues or a mix, so even white will have a bit of one of those added. Whites that have pigments of red or yellow are warmer “off-whites” while whites with blue are cooler and icy.
By contrast, you can also choose very dark colors to create a moodier version of your space, but keep it in the family of greens and blues. Even black paint has an underlying color used to darken it, so choosing one with blue or green tints will change the overall effect.
LIGHTING is another instant mood changer, and it can be tricky with all the styles available today to know what to pick. The general rule of thumb in any space, but especially a bedroom is that you want to have a variety of lighting styles.
Even though we just spent all that time talking about cool colors of paint, lighting in a bedroom needs to be a bit warmer for that calm and cozy feel. Avoid harsh lighting like daylight bulbs or fluorescents in the bedroom. Opt instead for warm or soft white bulbs, and put things on dimmers when possible. Keep in mind having multiple types of lighting in the space as well, to further customize the space for its lighting needs day to day. Having a main pendant, along with recessed lighting and bedside table lamps give you options at all hours of the day to set the ultimate peaceful mood. Yes, having warmer lighting will make your wall color showcase a bit warmer, but that’s ok. Imagine if you had really warm burnt orange walls and then you added warm lighting on top, you’d have a highly saturated super hot room. The cool walls will balance the soft light and vice versa.
If you don’t have carpeted floors, a RUG is a great idea to add some cozy to the bedroom. Not only can the rug pull together the elements of your space, it also gives a texture to the room that adds to a calmer vibe. Plus, having something soft and cushy you can sink your feet into in the morning is a much nicer way to get out of bed than a cold floor. You don’t have to get a huge rug to accomplish this either. You can certainly opt for a rug that goes all the way underneath the bed, or you can do runners along either side. I even just have one of those small sheepskin mats next to mine, just enough for my initial wake up. Still does the trick!
Finally, for the little things that make a bedroom space feel calm. The details are what take your tranquil design and amplify the atmosphere.
SCENT is a big impact in a room. Candles or oil diffusers in the bedroom that are calming but not overwhelming help trigger a sanctuary-like feeling when you step in the room. Scents like lavender, clean laundry, or soft florals are most commonly associated with calm, but scent is also very specific – maybe you feel most calm out in nature and scents like pine or campfire calm you the most, go for it!
FABRIC can be a little more personal preference in a bedroom, but if you want automatic calming and serenity, linen is a great choice since it’s casual and lightweight. Bedding that’s white gives an instant airy hotel vibe. Curtains can be light and sheer to let light in the space and allow for movement, or they can be thicker and plush like velvet, for a more enveloped feel.
ARTWORK is a great way to add decor and serenity to your space. Like the rest of this list, artwork is entirely personal. The key for calm bedroom art is really just about color scheme and avoiding heavy subject matter, but that varies person to person. Gut reactions to artwork are what you want to find, have fun with including some pieces around you!
GREENERY is probably undervalued in a lot of people’s homes. Here at HAVEN we talk about using greenery in pretty much every designed space, and the bedroom is no exception. There’s a lot of science related to people’s moods when they’re around nature and how it can help calm, destress, and even make you breathe easier. Even if you’re going faux greenery in the bedroom, just seeing something that evokes nature has a calming effect so we highly recommend including it.
Any other ACCESSORIES are up to you, just keep in mind that too much clutter does not help ease your mind at night when you’re trying to sleep. Try to keep accessories to a minimum, and be really intentional with them. Are they adding an aesthetic or a smell that impacts the calm of the space in a positive way? Use them. If they’re not, tuck them away in covered storage or use them elsewhere in your home.
You could do everything we’ve discussed and still not feel peaceful in your bedroom. If that’s happening, it’s probably because of how you’re using the space. In order to maintain the peace and tranquility, you’ll need to set some ground rules for yourself. You know what you need to reduce stress, so these are ideas but ultimately everyone’s setup will be unique.
CLUTTER FREE. In general this helps people feel less stressed, but it’s hard to do at times. Maintaining a rule that things like kitchen dishes, kids toys, or other items that belong in different areas of the house stay out of the bedroom will help to both visually and psychologically separate your room as a peaceful spot of the house.
UTILIZE COVERED STORAGE. Try to contain closet items to a closet or dresser – this can be really difficult, but even just being able to close the closet door and not have shoes or clothes strewn about the sleeping area can help.
KEEP IT CLEAN. More than just clutter being tidied, it’s important to keep your space clean to maintain your own stress level, but also because it’s healthier. Dusting and vacuuming just need to be part of the norm, and make sure to clean your ceiling fan regularly too. If you’ve got allergies, consider a small air purifier or room humidifier to help you sleep better and wake up with fewer allergy symptoms.
TECH FREE. This is hard. For the majority of people, our phones are the last thing we look at before sleeping and the first thing we look at when we wake up. I am definitely one of these people, and have never been able to fully turn off or walk away from my phone before going to bed easily, but a few things have helped me.
Keeping the charger slightly further away – whether you have it across the room or just slightly shorter so that you can’t charge the phone while in a comfortable position on your bed can help you get to a point where you have to actively pick it up to look at something.
Turn on features of the phone that are designed to wind down. Smartphones should all have features like this, where you can switch the screen color (automatically filter the blue light that keeps you awake) at certain times of the day or even make everything show in black and white. This can help you sleep better even if you’re on the phone near bedtime since the blue light is a big part of the problem.
Along the same lines, ditching a TV in the bedroom is a good idea. The bright light and colors from the TV screen does the same as a laptop or a phone and can inhibit the winding down your brain needs to do to get full and restful sleep. If you simply must have one in the room, think about setting specific hours of the day to not use it.
There are many ways you can utilize all these tips in a bedroom space to make it relaxing and peaceful. Use these in addition to your own personal style and have fun creating your own little haven!
PS – HAVEN did a session during our Tuesdays @ Two on this topic. You can watch the webinar in full here.
*All images are property of HAVEN Home Staging and/or have been used with permission.*