Water features are relaxing to the eyes and ears.

10 Things to Make a Room Relaxing

by Christine Bartsch

Traffic, work, kids, finances, friends – everyday stresses have a way of building up inside until released in an anger explosion or a mental breakdown. Ease these tensions before they boil over by designing a room meant to inspire and encourage relaxation. Whether you prefer to unwind in the living room, bathroom, or bedroom, these spaces become serene with the removal of clutter and the addition of items with restful elements.

Calm Colors

Color schemes set the mood in any room, so in a relaxing space stick to a calming palette. Cool hues in the blue, green and violet color families are far more relaxing than bright yellows, reds, or oranges.

Peaceful Patterns

Intricately detailed patterns, or those with hard geometric lines, are hard on tired eyes. Stick instead to soft, organic patterns with curves, or circles. Opt for larger, simple designs over small, “busy” patterns, or skip prints altogether for solid fabrics.

Tranquil Textures

Beyond color and pattern, the choice of relaxing materials is all about the textures. Steer clear of industrial chromes or steels, and instead incorporate natural elements such as woods or rocks. For fabrics, gravitate toward materials that are both soft to the touch and resilient enough to resist stress-inducing stains.

Serene Furnishings

Angles are often the enemy when shopping for relaxing furniture, so seek out couches and chairs with calming curves and comfy stuffing. However, straight lines and angles can be calming in modern furniture with a simple, clean design.

Cozy Throws

No matter how cozy the furniture, sometimes you just need a little extra for a truly relaxing snuggle. Decorate the space with blankets and pillows selected as much for their comfort as for their aesthetic appeal.

Languid Lighting

Ceiling-mounted fixtures that illuminate the entire space are often too intense to be relaxing, especially if they’re florescent. Soften the light with low-wattage bulbs, or keep the overheads turned off entirely in favor of area lighting. Incorporating several table and floor lamps allows better control over light levels.

Intimate Fire Features

Flickering flames offer a fluctuating light source that’s soothing to watch, whether relaxing to the crackle of burning wood in a fireplace, or the more consistent glow of a gas-fuelled fire. For spaces without fireplaces, a similar effect can be achieved from the glimmer of a few candles.

Placid Water Features

Ocean waves, babbling brooks, rushing waterfalls – watching water outdoors has a natural calming effect. Recreate that peace inside with a relaxing water feature, such as a tabletop fountain, or an aquarium.

Pleasing Plants

Oxygen-producing houseplants bring the outdoors in and help with air purification, but not if they die. Pass over persnickety plants, such as orchids or violets, for low-maintenance variety such as rubber trees or succulents that can survive a few missed waterings.

Senses Soothers

While the look and feel of a relaxing room is of utmost importance, don’t neglect the rest of your senses. Add fresh scents to the space with an incense burner or potpourri. Soothe your ears with the addition of a lulling sound machine or a stereo stocked with serene music. Satisfy your taste buds with an always-full candy dish, or a well-stocked bar cart.

About the Author

A former art instructor, high school counselor and party planner, Christine Bartsch writes fashion, travel, interior design, education and entertainment content. Bartsch earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communications/psychology/fine arts from Wisconsin Lutheran College and a creative writing Master of Fine Arts from Spalding University. She's written scripts for film/television productions and worked as the senior writer at a video game company.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images