When the world outside seems super busy, it's no wonder that we want to shut our front door behind us and find some peace and quiet. We can see it in the rise of 'quiet luxury' homeware, the return of beige interiors, and the urge to declutter to create a stress-free happy home. The popularity of calming colours for living rooms and bedrooms is part of this home decor trend – not content with homes that look good, we want interiors that help us feel soothed, happier and less anxious in our personal space.
'Colour is a big part of creating a home, and when balanced with good lighting and complementary furnishing textures, it has the power to transform any space into a haven to relax and de-stress,' confirms Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown Paints.
Colour experts and research partners, Dr Vien Cheung and Dr Douha Youssef Attiah, say how we see and perceive our surroundings is key to creating a calm atmosphere at home. 'A setting can remind a person of a nice memory, whereas to another it can be an uncomfortable space with its colours,' they say in Colour in Spaces.
Calming colour schemes
From hallway to bedroom, we asked a panel of experts for the most chilled and calm colour schemes for your home. Because we all want a space where living is easy…
Calm colours for hallways: green, pink or lilac
'The first welcome to your home as you return for the day, as well as your guests' first impression, the hallway is a busy area of the home with lots of passing traffic and energy as the hustle and bustle of daily life unfolds,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.
'For a calmer atmosphere, don’t feel confined to only natural and neutral colours – consider interesting colour pairings to deliver design interest and detail, as well as a serene ambience. For example, green and pink are a naturally beautiful colour pairing.'
'The entrance is the first place that we see when we get home, and the last place when we leave, so it is important to create an environment that makes us feel happy,' agrees Francesca Wezel, founder of Francesca’s Paints.
'I always advise people to choose their favourite colours – shades and tones that make them feel comfortable. For some this might be an acid yellow, whereas for others it’s a gentle pink. Lilac is a fantastic colour to bring into the home; often seen in nature, it is fresh and uplifting, bringing a sense of vibrancy and life to interiors. Due to its association with the natural world, it works well in common areas such as hallways.'
Laid-back living rooms
Calm colours for living rooms: black, neutrals, dark green and dark blue.
Pastel tones tend to be associated with calm colours for living rooms, but our two paint experts actually recommend tones at opposite ends of the spectrum.
'While it may be controversial, there has been an increase in black living rooms and interiors in recent years, and though daunting, a monotone scheme can actually also be restful and calming in the home,' explains Justyna Korczynska from Crown Paints.
If you don't want to go to the dark side, then a neutral living room may be what you need to feel cool, calm and collected.
'To create a sense of peace and relaxation, natural stone colours such as Little Greene's Portland Stone, Bath Stone, or Clay are good choices. These are becoming increasingly popular, as warm neutrals are perfect for creating restful living spaces that bring comfort to the home throughout the seasons,' suggests Ruth Mottershead. 'To inspire quiet evenings, consider darker blue and green paint colours. They give a cosy and inviting feeling when painted on all four walls and look sumptuous when paired with dark woodwork. '
Calm colours for kitchens: pink or green.
If cooking is your me-time and the kitchen your chillout zone, then colour could be your secret ingredient for calm. And for the cherry on top, how about a pink kitchen?
'Soft-hued pinks can create feelings of warmth and calm, making this an ideal colour choice,' suggests Justyna Korczynska from Crown Paints.
'If you’re looking to create a calming oasis at home, you can also try bringing the outdoors in with a nature-inspired soft green kitchen. Sage greens are particularly popular at the moment and the more muted tone is incredibly versatile, working well in kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms alike. Using a mix of dark and light greens to reflect the tones you find in nature is also a great way to add depth to a white kitchen.'
Calm colours for bedrooms: terracotta, dark blue, dark green and brown.
Bedroom colour schemes are getting a makeover, with warm terracotta, earthy browns, and dusky deep blue and green tones answering our need for grounding and calming colours to help us sleep. Get the right calm bedroom colour and it could even help night owls fall asleep or make you more of a morning person.
'Earthy colours are seeing a surge in popularity, with searches for ‘earthy bedroom aesthetic’ rising by 139%. These colours may help us to feel grounded thanks to their connection with nature, and include terracotta, warm blues, greens and gentle yellows,' explains style psychologist Dr Dion Terrelonge, who has been working with House of Fraser.
Ruth Mottershead from Little Greene agrees. 'Bedrooms are a really personal space that should provide a feeling of sanctuary within the home,' she says. 'Consider the earthy shade of Nether Red from our Stone collection on all walls to create a gentle, cocooning scheme.'
It's in the evening, as we're getting ready for sleep, that we want our bedrooms to be at their most calm and inviting – and deep colours that look inviting in the light from a bedside lamp are ideal.
'Dark colours are a great choice for the bedroom as they create a warm, cosy atmosphere and look wonderful at night,' confirms Francesca Wezel. Both dark green bedrooms and dark blue bedrooms bring a meditative, relaxing feel. But dark brown is a particularly soothing colour, which is exactly what you want for your bedroom.'
Calm colours for bathrooms: warm white, green, blue and black.
Spa-like sanctuaries have a warmth and nurturing atmosphere that overrides the usual clinical bathroom vibes. The easiest tip is to paint the walls to soften the effect of gleaming tiles and sanitaryware. Or at the very least, light a candle for a gentle glow!
'When selecting a paint colour for your bathroom, consider shades with warm undertones which will bring tranquillity to a space that should feel comforting. If you're decorating a white bathroom, be careful to use a natural mineral white containing no blue,' recommends Ruth Mottershead from Little Greene.
'Natural stone colours and warm neutrals work well to create a spa-like haven, but my favourites are earthy green bathrooms and blue bathrooms – the true colours of nature. They're perfect for providing a cocooning, natural feel. Black bathrooms can also work well, adding a touch of opulence to any bathing space.
'Finally, colour blocking with contrasting tones is a great tool for introducing a little bit of colour to your bathroom scheme without it feeling overwhelming. Choose a soothing tone such as Flint for your walls and pairing it with a bolder tone such as Deep Space Blue will give you a sumptuous shade to get lost in as you're relaxing in the bath.'
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Andrea began her journalism career at Ideal Home and is currently Editor of our sister title, Country Homes & Interiors, which celebrates modern country style. Andrea is passionate about colour and how it can transform both our homes and our sense of wellbeing, and has completed The Power of Colour course with the prestigious KLC School of Design. Andrea's career spans interiors magazines, women's lifestyle titles and newspapers. After her first job at Ideal Home, she moved on to women's magazines, Options and Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor of Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for idealhome.co.uk.
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