Calming decorating trends - the best new ways to create a soothing home space

After a whirl of pattern and maximalism, calm interior décor trends are quietening things down on the interiors scene

Beige room with small indoor tree
(Image credit: John Lewis)

It’s easy to see why calm decorating trends are becoming a big thing in interiors, they play on our love of Scandi design, using natural materials and textures and embracing biophilic design. However, they also tap into the incredible power home decor trends can have over how we feel. 

‘Creating a home that exudes a powerful sense of calm is beneficial on every level, protecting us from the outside world and allowing us to flourish and feel nurtured and secure,’ writes Sally Denning in her book Calm (Ryland Peters & Small, £14.85 on Amazon)

When thinking about a calm scheme, a great place to start is with colour. Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene says, ‘We’ve seen that there is a greater desire to surround ourselves with comforting, nurturing colours that are not only easy to scheme but provide serenity and tranquillity in our homes. This has been reflected in the increasing popularity of neutrals and earthier tones that have an inherent warmth.’

Being in touch with nature is a key trend for 2024 – so it’s easy to see why we are drawn to calming interiors. Nature has that instant soothing effect, something our homes could all benefit from. Here are our favourite ways to bring a little calm to your home.

1. The two-toned wall

Green and white kitchen

(Image credit: Fenwick and Tilbrook)

Bring a sense of balance and calm to a space with the smart paint idea of a two-toned wall, split horizontally. ‘This can really add visual interest and depth,’ says Anna Hill, brand director and colour consultant for Fenwick & Tilbrook. ‘The horizontal division can also alter the proportions of a room, making it feel taller or cosier, depending on the colours chosen and their placement.’

‘By selecting complementary colours, you can boost the harmony of a space,’ adds Anna. You can also echo the outdoors, framing the view from a window, by using a fresh green, teamed with a soft white.

2. Curves, curves and more curves

Ivy Pacific Velvet 3 Seater Curved Sofa

(Image credit: Dunelm)

In a calming decorating scheme, swap those sharp corners and straight lines on furniture for gentle curves instead. We’re seeing more round pieces that mix fluted detailing for a touch-me vibe, which has instant calming and pleasing benefits. Keep colours neutral, with warm cream, beige, putty and off-white all great for calming a space down.

Curved upholstery pieces are trending too; these designs have an almost ‘hug me’ vibe. A curved sofa, like the one from Dunelm (shown above) is a great way to improve the sense of flow in a room, making it much easier to navigate and therefore providing a calming effect.

3. Blue colour schemes

Blue bedrom with brown headboard

(Image credit: Fenwick and Tilbrook)

Perhaps because of our association with blue skies, waves rippling on a beach or a running water, blue is often described as having a calming effect. 

It’s set to be a big colour trend this year. ‘Shades of blue, especially the softer, more muted tones, like powder blue or pale aqua, can really evoke a feeling of peace and tranquillity,’ says Anna Hill, brand director and colour consultant for Fenwick & Tilbrook. 

‘Blue shades are known to have a calming effect on the mind, making them an excellent choice for bedrooms and bathrooms, where you want to create a relaxing and restful space.’

Try adding touches of soft blue mixed to a neutral scheme, where you’ve used lots of natural wood and neutral furnishings – it adds a calm yet inviting touch that’s very easy to live with.

4. Create a spa-room

Pink bathroom with walk in shower and freestanding bath

(Image credit: Future PLC / Lizzie Orme)

Spa-like bathrooms continue to soar in popularity as we look for spaces to relax and unwind from everyday life. ‘This is also boosted by the fact that people are travelling more and staying in hotels with luxurious, en-suite bathrooms that they then want to replicate at home,’ says Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs

‘Spa bathrooms centre around quality materials with a focus on the natural – both with texture and colour palette; think marble, wood and soft whites.’

When it comes to key elements, ‘a freestanding bath is a must,’ adds Barrie, ‘not only does it add a focal point, but serves as a tool for the ultimate relaxation. Likewise, lighting is key – no matter how calm your décor is, if you only have task lighting – those bright spotlights – then it will instantly be a relaxation killer.’

5. Mood lighting

Bedroom with wall panelling, artwork, armchair and wall light

(Image credit: Future PLC / Chris Snook/ @design_at_nineteen)

Lighting can make such a difference to the mood of a space, with low-level lighting a great tool to bring calmness to a busy room. This is the year that new lighting trends are coming through almost weekly, as the big light has been vetoed and lamps are the only way to light a room.

 ‘Lighting is key to setting the mood in every part of the home, but specifically in the living room, where we often want to achieve different settings,’ says Sarah Gare, design director Sarah Gare Interiors.  ‘There will be times where you may want to use your lighting to create a calm, tranquil space, where you may want a brightly lit room, or when you might be watching a film and need your living room dimly lit. Your choices will need to be thoroughly considered to create all these moments.’

For calm lighting options, add a mix of lighting options, with overhead lighting controlled on a dimmer, table or floor lamps for adding pools of soft light to corners, and even candlelight for a truly relaxing mood.

6. Go deep and dark with colour

Brown wall

(Image credit: Little Greene)

While soft colours are instantly soothing and calming, darker shades can also have a similar effect when creating calming living room colour schemes. 'Deep, intense browns are perfect for creating calming spaces, enveloping an interior that will deliver an enticing, sumptuous layer of comfort and cosiness,’ says  Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene. 

‘With their earthy tones, chocolate browns are a subtle nod to nature and work wonderfully with natural materials such as stone, wood, wicker and rattan finishes, all increasingly popular as we continue to embrace the beauty of the natural world in our homes,’ explains Ruth.      

7. Sleep havens

bedroom with painted wall and cane bed

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

Our bedrooms are often described as our sanctuaries, places of calm and tranquillity. As we find our working from home balance, more of us are reclaiming our bedrooms again. ‘And that’s so right,’ says Anna Schmitt, founder and owner of ALSO Home and Elä Life.  ‘Our bedrooms should be safe havens, away from the busy lives we lead. We’re seeing more ways that we can bring nature inside, with natural fabrics, such as cotton, linen in textiles, and wool, jute or seagrass for rugs.

‘When it comes to colours for calming bedroom ideas,  think about soft moss greens, natural linens and warm creams rather than stark whites. Thinking about the fabric you sleep under is important – you want natural linens and cotton so your skin can breathe. Using essential oils in candles or diffusers before bed that help you relax and feel calm,’ adds Anna.

8. Embrace the green side

An olive green cabinet with a wallpaper backdrop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Oliver Perrott)

Green is the colour of nature, so it goes without saying that we find it calming to decorate with green. 'Adding green to your interior will change the atmosphere creating a restful, positive space that will feel nurturing, harnessing the calming effects of nature indoors,’ says  Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene.  

Find a wallpaper that you love, perhaps with a trailing leaf to bring the outdoors in. ‘This creates a calming, cosy and cocooning nature inspired sanctuary with a palette of soothing, tones such as midnight sky and restful green. Combine with natural wood finishes, rattan and trailing house plants for an inviting serene feel.’

9. Warm modern

Beige bedroom with triangle blanket

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Often, we think of modern décor schemes as stark, clean and even a little devoid of colour and pattern. New-look modern sees timeless furniture and lighting in clean contemporary shapes crafted from beautiful materials. ‘For spring, we’re seeing a calming, soothing and restorative colour palette used to welcome in the new season,’ says Charlotte Elgh, home director of design, John Lewis.  

Look for comforting feel-good prints and patterns, such as triangles used for patchwork, barcode-style stripes and Aztec-inspired blocks.

10. Indoor trees

Beige room with small indoor tree

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Move over succulent, there’s a bigger leafy friend in town! Indoor trees are filling empty corners, with olive and palm trees big favourites. As Sally Denning writes in her book Calm, ‘biophilia, or a love of nature, has fuelled a huge trend for living with plants and flowers, and biophilic interior design focuses on brining the sounds and textures of the natural world into the home. This has multiple benefits – living with plants not only looks good but is also proven to reduce anxiety and even to boost our productivity.’

While you can just bring in fresh flowers or potted plants, an indoor tree can become a real feature of your space, with many people opting for them post-Christmas once the tree came down.


What interior design style is cosy?

A cosy scheme is about creating a space you want to be in; somewhere that’s inviting yet homely. Modern country style is the epitome of a cosy look. 

Start with pieces of furniture you love, then add layers of colour, pattern and texture. Colour is also key to creating a cosy interior design style, with warmer colours a must. Think terracotta, mid-blue, forest green, ochre yellow and blush pink. 

How can I make my home peaceful and tranquil?

Start by playing to the senses, with touch, scent, sound and sight most important in a calm home. Include plenty of welcoming textures, fragrant candles, favourite tunes, calming colour schemes and be surrounded by things that mean something to you. 

Banish the clutter, simplify your space and make the most of natural light will all help too.

Take one of these ideas for a spin if you want a trend to make you feel calmer in your home.

Jennifer Morgan

Jennifer Morgan is an award-winning editor, writer and stylist, with over 25 years’ experience writing, styling and editing home interest magazines. Jennifer was the deputy editor of Ideal Home from 2008-2010, before launching Ideal Home’s sister title, Style at Home in 2010. Jennifer went on to launch several craft magazines and websites, before going freelance in 2016, with a client list that includes John Lewis, Dunlem and Nordic House. Today, she writes for Ideal Home, Real Homes, Waitrose, Woman & Home, Sainsbury’s Magazine and Homes & Gardens. But it was during lockdown that Jennifer realised her dream of publishing her own magazine – Simply Scandi.