Capture a feeling of calm with a palette of soothing colors. Use these subtle, undemanding colors in your decor for a serene space.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated May 04, 2020
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Colors help dictate how we feel when we walk into a room. Vibrant hues such as red and orange can energize and evoke excitement, while softer, more muted colors bring out feelings of calm and relaxation. To create a soothing environment at home, look to the pale, neutral shades that reside at the fringes of a color family: ecru instead of yellow, sage as opposed to hunter green, and lilac over eggplant. Textures from neutral elements, such as grainy wood floors, a fluffy rug, a distressed leather club chair, or shiny chrome lamps, add visual interest and character to calming color schemes to keep the design interesting.

Because they instill a sense of peace and sophistication, these subtle palettes are often employed in luxurious spas or high-end clothing boutiques, and they can conjure the same mood in your home. The trick to creating a calming color scheme is to pull hues from a narrow range of hushed tones, which might be only a few degrees different from one another.

Emily Followill

Calming Living Room Color Schemes

To decorate a living room that feels relaxing, stick to an elegant, mostly monochromatic palette. Consider coating trim in a warm ivory hue, for example, then pick one shade darker, such as cappuccino or biscuit, for the walls to create a smooth, uninterrupted canvas for the room. Keep the hushed hues going with linen slipcovers on furnishings, curtain panels of cream-colored silk, and carpeting or an area rug in a warm oatmeal shade. Finally, add subtle color in decorative accessories, such as soft blue throw pillows or a coffee-table bouquet of apricot roses.

Dave Greer

Calming Bedroom Color Schemes

To foster a calming vibe in the bedroom, focus on one standout feature, such as an upholstered headboard or an accent wall with botanical-print wallpaper, and let everything else recede. Choose linens in a color that makes you feel pampered and soothed, then take it down to its palest shade. If your favorite color is blue, look for pale aqua or silvery sky-blue, for example. Then pick a variety of textures, such as cotton sheets, velvet pillows, and wool blankets, in similar calming colors for interest. Stick to unobtrusive neutrals for other design elements, such as matchstick blinds or natural linen curtains on the windows and Berber carpeting or natural varnished wood for the floors.

James Nathan Schroder

Calming Kitchen Color Schemes

Take the frenzy out of your household hub by creating a serene backdrop of pale-finish cabinets. Consider painting your cabinetry a modern white enamel, country-style ivory with an antique glaze, or traditional painted taupe. Against this neutral background, install countertops and backsplash materials in a consistent shade (though they don't have to match exactly). For example, white and gray are harmonious shades, so concrete countertops with white-painted cabinets work together. Stainless-steel appliances and natural wood floors keep things simple and soothing.

Anthony Masterson

Calming Bathroom Color Schemes

Choose calming colors to turn your bathroom into a happy place. Look to your favorite relaxation spot for color inspiration you can use for the walls: the spa's aqua and mint, for example; a flower garden's pale buttercup or violet; or a beach's sandy brown, seashell pink, and tide-pool blue. Paint one accent wall, only above the wainscoting, or just the vanity to achieve the right dose of color. Then stick to bleachable white for towels and rugs for a bright, clean look.

Calming Entryway Color Schemes

Impart a soothing feeling right from your front door with an entryway decked out in calming colors. Keep colors light and soft, especially if you have a two-story or vaulted entryway. Consider painting walls a shade of white, but pick one with a hint of color so the white comes off as serene not stark. Most paint manufacturers have a "whites" collection, so start your search here for a shade with a pleasing undertone. Introduce color with accents in muted tones, such as taupe or mellow turquoise.

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