Home is where the heart is. For many of us, our homes are our sanctuaries – places where we can relax, recharge, and just be ourselves. In today’s busy world, having a peaceful, uplifting home environment is more important than ever for our mental and physical wellbeing.
Interior designers understand this need and are using their skills to create living spaces that nourish the soul. From color palettes that evoke serenity to layouts that encourage reconnection, designers are incorporating elements that lift the spirit. The result is interiors that feel like a warm embrace – welcoming spots where residents can retreat from the stresses of everyday life.
In this article, we’ll look at how today’s top designers are using thoughtful, intentional design to turn houses into uplifting sanctuaries.
Soothing Color Schemes Connect to Nature
Color has an undeniable impact on mood and emotion. When selecting a palette for a sanctuary-like interior, designers often draw inspiration from nature, using hues that evoke the colors found in serene natural settings.
Earthy, Neutral Tones
Natural wood finishes, warm beiges, soft greys and greens – these muted, earthy tones have an inherent calming effect. They remind us of things like sandy beaches, cozy cottages, and forest glens – places where we instinctively feel relaxed. Designers will often use neutral foundations and then layer in small pops of brighter accent colors.
Tranquil Blues and Greens
The colors of water and trees have deeply soothing associations for us. Serene blues and greens are fantastic choices for bedrooms, bathrooms, and other rooms where you want to cultivate a sense of peace. Use paler shades on walls and save deeper jewel tones for accents.
Sunny Yellows and Oranges
Warm yellows and oranges are uplifting colors that evoke sunlight. Use these energizing hues in moderation – a single statement wall or accent chair will infuse a space with cheer without becoming overwhelming.
Key Takeaway: Look to nature’s palette when selecting colors for a sanctuary space. Neutrals, blues, greens, sunny yellows and oranges will all help promote tranquility and lift the spirit.
Layout and Furnishings Optimize Flow
A home’s layout and furnishings play a big role in how our bodies move through and interact with the space. Designers seeking to create uplifting interiors pay close attention to arranging furnishings and defining zones in ways that make residents feel cared for.
Defined Activity Zones
Having areas designated for different activities like cooking, dining, and relaxing helps a home feel well-ordered and peaceful. Define zones with area rugs, changes in flooring, ceiling heights, and furniture arrangements. Avoid cluttering these spaces.
Thoughtful Storage Solutions
Clutter quickly makes a home feel chaotic. Designate plenty of storage space for items to be tucked neatly out of sight. Built-in cabinetry, large closets, and attractive baskets help keep things organized.
Flowing, Open Floor Plans
Minimize cramped, walled-off spaces in favor of open floor plans. Allow movement to flow smoothly from one room to the next. This fosters a relaxing sense of space.
Cozy Nooks for Retreating
While open plans foster movement, having defined nooks for retreating and cozying up nurtures the soul. A window bench piled with pillows, a tucked-away reading corner, or window seat overlooking nature all provide refuge.
Key Takeaway: Carefully arranged furnishings and intentional floorplans cultivate order and flow in an uplifting interior. Defined activity zones, storage solutions, open layouts, and cozy nooks are design strategies that nurture.
Natural Light and Views Connect to Outside
Access to natural light and views of nature are two of the most influential elements when designing a soothing, uplifting living space. Designers get creative to maximize these connections to the outdoors.
Generous windows, especially in key living areas, bathe interiors in rejuvenating natural light. If adding more windows isn’t possible, whitewash walls, hang mirrors, and use glass interior doors to amplify sunlight.
Skylights and Sun Tunnels
Skylights and sun tunnels funnel sunlight into interior, windowless spaces like hallways and closets. Even this small dose of natural light is uplifting.
Window Seat Reading Nooks
Position cozy window seats next to large panoramic windows. Nestle in with a blanket and book to soak up the tranquil view.
Thoughtfully Framed Views
Carefully frame beautiful vistas outside of windows and glass doors. Prune trees or vegetation to open up views. Draw the eye towards landscapes that inspire.
Use French doors and folding glass walls to blur the line between indoor and outdoor areas. Create a seamless flow to your home’s loveliest natural elements.
Key Takeaway: Abundant natural light, framed views of nature and indoor/outdoor floorplans are key for connecting an interior sanctuary to the outdoors.
Textures and Textiles Enhance Coziness
Tactile, textural elements engage our sense of touch, adding to a feeling of coziness and comfort within a space. Designers often layer natural fiber rugs, soft upholstered furnishings, billowing drapes and bedding to help create warm, welcoming interiors.
Natural Fiber Rugs
Rugs made of wool, jute, seagrass and sisal add delightful texture underfoot in a room. Look for handmade rugs and carpets for added artisan appeal. Layer smaller rugs over wall-to-wall carpeting for an instant upgrade.
Soft, Flowing Fabrics
Upholstery and drapes made of soft, flowing cotton, linen, velvet and silk beckon you to snuggle in. Avoid stiff fabrics – instead choose textiles with some movement and drape.
Cozy Textures in the Bedroom
This is the space to pull out all the stops when it comes to tantalizing textures. A sumptuous duvet, plush rug next to the bed, curtains of billowing linen or silk – such details make the bedroom a luxurious haven.
Natural Wood Finishes
The beautiful organic patterns and smooth surfaces of natural wood finishes bring warmth and texture to any space. Use reclaimed wood furnishings and exposed wood beams to maximize natural appeal.
Key Takeaway: Layering soft, flowing fabrics and natural fiber rugs along with reclaimed wood creates texture-rich interiors that comfort the soul.
Serene Interior Styles and Touches
Certain interior styles and decorative details lend themselves beautifully to creating soothing, spirit-lifting home spaces. Here are some of the top serene styles and touches used by designers.
This hybrid style merges Scandinavian minimalism with Japanese tranquility. Clean lines, light woods, muted palette and ample negative space result in interiors ideal for calm.
Bohemian style encompasses a relaxed mash-up of textures, patterns and natural materials. The casual vibe is conducive to unwinding. Just keep the look curated so it doesn’t veer chaotic.
Cottage style features whitewashed walls, floral prints and vintage finds. These hallmarks along with an abundance of natural light give cottage interiors a cheerful, welcoming charm.
Drawing inspiration from soothing spa and resort interiors, this look relies on plush towels and bedding, fresh flowers, candlelight, and a soothing color scheme. The result is a personal home sanctuary.
Incorporating natural pieces like driftwood sculptures, stone vases, rattan baskets and bamboo blinds brings the outdoors in. Displaying collected treasures like shells, stones or feathers also adds charm.
Key Takeaway: Japandi, boho, cottage, spa-inspired looks along with natural decorative touches are fantastic interior style options for crafting an uplifting oasis.
Carefully Curated Artwork
For an interior to truly feel like a sanctuary, its decor must appeal not just to the eye but to the deeper spirit. Carefully selected artwork and cherished mementos elevate a space.
Fill your home with large-scale photography that captures soothing vistas – forests, oceanside cliffs, flower fields. Images that remind you of favorite places have special impact.
Uplifting Wall Quotes
Wall art featuring inspiring quotes or positive mantras endorses a home’s sanctuary-like feel. Find quotes that speak to your spirit and reflect your values.
Family Heirlooms on Display
Showcase treasured antiques that were passed down, like your grandma’s quilt or dad’s vintage camera. These mementos and family artifacts add soul.
Spiritual or Mystical Symbols
Some people find spiritual symbols like the Buddhist lotus flower, yin-yang or tree of life icons centering. Use artwork featuring meaningful symbology.
Collections of Natural Objects
Groupings of natural pieces found in nature present simple beauty. Display shells, coral, dried botanicals or sea glass in glass cases or bowls.
Key Takeaway: Carefully curated photographs, wall quotes, family artifacts, spiritual symbols and natural object collections infuse personalized meaning into a tranquil interior.
Serene Interior Touches for the Senses
Designers also incorporate decorative elements that engage our senses, helping us feel nourished and at ease at home. Little touches can make a soothing impact.
Essential Oil Diffusers
Aromatherapy’s positive effects on mood are well proven. Use diffusers or oil-scented candles to fill rooms with relaxing lavender, soothing eucalyptus or other calming scents.
Textured Throws and Pillows
Throw blankets and pillows crafted of cozy cable knits, fuzzy mohair, woven textures and more invite snuggling up for comfort.
White Noise Machines
Set up a white noise machine or sound conditioner in bedrooms or workspaces to provide a calming, consistent background noise that minimizes distractions.
Caring for leafy potted plants enhances relaxation while also purifying indoor air. Cluster plants in bedrooms and living spaces.
Designate a spot for daily meditation with the addition of supportive cushions. This space for reflection fosters inner calm.
Key Takeaway: Incorporating positive sensory experiences like calming scents, tactile textiles, white noise machines, greenery and meditation stations cultivates soothing spaces.
Feng Shui Principles Invite Positive Energy
For centuries, the ancient Chinese art of feng shui has provided guidance on arranging interior spaces to invite positive energy flow. Designers are increasingly incorporating feng shui principles for uplifting results.
The entryway impacts how energy enters the home. Keep this transitional area clutter-free, well-lit and accented with fresh floral arrangements.
Beds placed between solid walls with a commanding view of the entrance ensure occupants feel protected and empowered. Avoid positioning beds under ceiling beams or exposed pipes.
Living Room Layout
Arrange furniture into balanced groupings avoiding cuts through the center of the room. This allows energy to harmoniously flow around and activate the space.
Place desks so you have a solid wall behind you and clear view of the room’s entrance. This placement promotes focus and productivity.
Mindful Accessory Placement
Use feng shui bagua maps to ensure furnishings and art are thoughtfully placed in auspicious zones. This intentional placement enlivens energetically beneficial areas.
Key Takeaway: Feng shui principles about furniture layouts, room use, and accessorizing provide guidance on crafting interiors where positive energy can flourish.
Eco-Friendly Design Safeguards Wellbeing
Green design techniques that eliminate noxious elements from a home also help cultivate uplifting interiors where wellness and sustainability come first.
Natural Cleaning and Laundry Supplies
Replace harsh chemical cleaners and detergents with natural, plant-based options that won’t degrade indoor air quality. Bonus – they smell amazing!
Organic Materials and Textiles
Look for FSC-certified wood along with organic cotton, wool and latex in furnishings and textiles. This avoids off-gassing and exposure to pesticides.
Indoor Plants for Purifying
In addition to uplifting ambiance, many common houseplants also filter indoor pollutants. Snake plant, aloe vera, English ivy and others help purify air.
Air Purifying Systems
Install central air purifiers along with portable units and filters throughout your home to remove allergens, chemicals and micro-pollutants.
Natural Light Over Artificial
Maximize natural light to avoid over-dependence on artificial lighting. Use LEDs instead of harsh CFL and incandescent bulbs where lighting is needed.
Key Takeaway: Using eco-friendly design strategies minimizes toxins to create a healthy sanctuary environment where wellness and sustainability come first.
Warm, Welcoming Entryways Set the Tone
A home’s entryway gives guests their very first impression. Designers pay special attention to ensure foyers and mudrooms make an uplifting first impression.
Soothing Color Palette
Choose light, neutral wall colors for entryways to cultivate a calming, welcoming vibe from the moment one steps inside. Save deeper or brighter hues for inner rooms.
Fragrant Greens and Florals
Place a pair of woven baskets overflowing with scented citrus fruit like oranges and lemons on a console table. Fresh flowers in the entry also say “welcome”.
Walls of Inspiring Art
Make a statement by filling entryway walls with a salon-style display of meaningful photography and artwork. This makes the space feel curated vs. bare.
Carve out room for a small bench, a couple comfy chairs or built-in window seat in foyers and mudrooms. This provides a spot to take off shoes and focus on transitioning into your sanctuary.
The entryway is an ideal spot for a small tabletop fountain. The pleasant gurgling sound when you arrive instantly signals it’s time to unwind.
Key Takeaway: Soothing sights, sounds, scents and a place to pause in entryways help set the tone for an interior sanctuary from the moment one steps inside.
Spa-Inspired Bathrooms for Pampering
For many homeowners, the master bathroom serves as a mini-sanctuary for self-care tucked within the larger home. Designers create spa-like bath spaces using these techniques.
Spoil yourself with details like marble or quartz countertops, freestanding soaker tubs, radiant heated tile floors, towel warmers and wood medicine cabinets.
Candlelight and Soft Music
Set the mood with grouped candles and gentle background music to appeal to senses when drawing a bath or applying lotion post-shower.
Space for Two
Select larger-size tubs and include two sinks/mirrors to allow couples to share pampering time together in their private bath sanctuary.
Install an adjustable shower-head with water jets to target aching muscles. If your budget allows, add luxurious spa features like an in-tub massage system.
Greenery and Fresh Flowers
Tuck small potted plants on the windowsill and a vase of fresh-cut blooms on the sink counter to bring vitality and life to bathroom spaces.
Key Takeaway: Using luxurious finishes, sensory details, space for two, massage features and greenery transforms bathrooms into spa-inspired sanctuaries for self-care.
Bedrooms Designed for Rest
Bedrooms should rank at the top of the list when designing home sanctuaries, as this is the space where we start and end each day. Focus on details that promote deep, restorative rest.
Soothing Color Scheme
Stick to cool, tranquil colors in the bedroom. Shades of blue, green, lavender and soft grey are naturally peaceful. Reserve warm neutrals for bedding and textiles.
Blackout Window Treatments
Block out all exterior light for uninterrupted sleep. Choose blackout blinds or curtains along with m
asking strips around door edges to plunge rooms into total darkness.
To keep bedrooms focused on rest, banish TVs, computers, tablets, and phones. Place chargers in a separate room to avoid temptation checking devices at bedtime.
Premium Mattress and Bedding
Invest in the best quality mattress and pillows you can afford. Add a plush mattress pad, breathable cotton sheets and naturally cooling duvet for comfort.
Soothing Scents and Sounds
Use essential oil diffusers with relaxing scents like lavender or vetiver. White noise machines provide calming background sounds, blocking disruptive noises.
Key Takeaway: Dark, tech-free spaces outfitted with top-tier beds, soothing sensory details and a tranquil color scheme transform bedrooms into rest sanctuaries.
Landing Spots for Setting Down
Interior designers know that having spaces to pause and sit down to take off shoes or set down gear when arriving home is key for transitioning into sanctuary mode.
Mudroom Benches & Storage
Mudrooms offer a spot to sit and remove muddy shoes. Look for a cushioned bench flanked by cubbies, bins and hooks keep outerwear and bags organized.
Entry Console Table
An entryway console table provides perfect landing spot to set down keys, sunglasses and handbags when you walk in. Stylish baskets below corral items.
Built-In Bench Seating