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Soothing colours for relaxation spaces

From the Resene decorating blog

Finding a spot to unwind and decompress at home seems more important than ever, when our homes are often also workplaces and study zones.

Creating a place where you can just relax need not involve changing around a large room, it can be a quiet corner in a bedroom, a place in the garden, a bathroom or a reading nook on a landing.

Dreamy teal bedroom walls

The dreamy teal of these Resene Juniper walls set the scene for a relaxing night’s rest.

The walls are complemented by the floor finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, the headboard painted in Resene Dover White and a bench seat in Resene Balderdash. The pendant light is Resene Double Sea Fog with Resene Rose Gold metallic paint. The bedside table is Resene Double Sea Fog on the top and base and Resene Hammerhead on the underside. The ribbed vases are Resene Balderdash and Resene Double Sea Fog and the ombre plant pot is (from top to bottom) Resene Celeste, Resene Terrain and Resene Cobblestone. The large basket planter is Resene Double Sea Fog. Cushions and rug from Contempa, duvet and pillowcases from Society of Wanderers, throw from Kip & Co, basket tote and artwork from Kmart. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

A zen-like interior

Symmetry and light bring balance and a zen-like calm to this outdoor relaxation and meditation space.

The upper wall is painted in Resene Eagle, with a lower wall in Resene Waiouru. The floor is Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash and the skirting is Resene Ottoman. The two planters are painted in Resene Cut Glass, and the tops of the rattan cushions are painted in Resene Eagle. The bottom half of each paper lantern is Resene Sweet Corn and the shoes are painted in Resene Waiouru. Pouf from Nood, rug from The Ivy House, shoes, tray and planter boxes from Kmart, paper lanterns from Trade Aid, teapot from Everyday Needs, artwork by Rakai Karaitiana from endemicworld, mugs and book from An Astute Assembly. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Think about what you, or your family needs to relax. It might be cosiness and warmth; it might be light and airiness. You might need a comfy seat, large cushions or a whole bed, but what you’ll also want to consider is which colours are going to help get you in a calm, mindful and relaxed state.

Declutter first

Whatever space you’re turning into your relaxing retreat, it’s a good idea to remove all distracting clutter first so you have a blank canvas.

Decorate simply, with one or two things that you really love and will help give you a mood boost. It might be a piece of art, a vase of flowers from your garden, or perhaps an upcycled and repainted table topped with your favourite book or a magazine.

Add in items to your relaxation space thoughtfully rather than just because you need somewhere to put something. Do you want to be able to listen to – or play – music? Do you want to watch movies or binge watch your favourite show? Will you need somewhere to put food or drink? Or do you just want somewhere comfortable to sit quietly under a cosy blanket with a scented candle burning? Everything in your space should be there to serve the function of making you feel good and relaxed.

If you need to share your space with others, keep the things you need to make it relaxing for you in a handy drawer or storage box so you can set up your space in a few minutes and be relaxing.

A dramatic yet relaxing bedroom

Keeping the linen and accessories lighter against the dramatic Resene Dark Slate rear wall, keeps this room calming instead of becoming overbearing.

The timber floor is finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash while the feature headboard has been painted in Resene Triple Blanc with palm tree designs in Resene Yucca, Resene Half Tide, Resene Half Bison Hide and Resene Rum Swizzle. The bedside tables are Resene Triple Blanc and the bases are Resene Half Lemon Grass and Resene Tana. Rug from Freedom, linen from Container Door, sheets from Society of Wanderers, cushion from Castle & Things, throws, lamp and bedside table from Kmart. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

A home interior painted with dreamy muted natural colours

Dreamy muted natural colours and organic shapes make this a very restful sitting area.

The rear wall is painted in Resene Half Athens Grey with shape in Resene Quarter Perfect Taupe while the floor is Resene Quarter Delta with shape in Resene Atomic. The left wall is Resene Oilskin and the curved backboard is stained in Resene Colorwood Riverstone. The shelf and stool top are Resene Quarter Perfect Taupe. The DIY artwork is Resene Quarter Perfect Taupe, Resene Atomic, Resene Oilskin and Resene Quarter Delta and the small vase on the books is Resene Atomic. Chaise/sofa bed from Nood, stool and lamps from Urban Sales. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Choose your palette

Choosing colours that relax you is a very personal thing. As a rule, it will make sense to choose more muted or even pastel shades, rather than bright primary colours – but that doesn’t mean your room needs to be one-dimensional and strictly neutral. There’s still plenty of room for personality.

One way to do this is to play with different colour strengths of one Resene paint colour. If you want a moody olive green, you could try Resene Colins Wicket as your main shade, but paint different surfaces in eighth, quarter, half, double or even triple strengths of it. It will give your space depth and interest without cluttering it with competing colours. If you wanted a pop of something different add some highlights in deep blue Resene Indian Ink, or a fresh note of pastel Resene Provincial Pink.

Here are some other soothing colour combinations to consider: Soft sky blues such as Resene Bali Hai or Resene Kashmir Blue remind us of warm, lazy summer days. Pair with a bold note of darker Resene Blue Bark for some structure, or add wood surfaces stained in Resene Colorwood Mahogany.

Grey blues like Resene Remember Me or Resene Duck Egg Blue work very well as neutrals will lend your space some quiet strength and work well with a darker smoky shade such as Resene Coast or, for a muted contrast try the soft tan of Resene Papier Mache.

Much like blue, most shades of green inspire a sense of calm and connection with nature. Try herbaceous tones like Resene Sage with muted yellows in Resene Sapling and Resene Reef Gold. Or try mellow Resene Spanish Green with grey-toned Resene Hermitage and beige Resene Thistle.

Teal, that other iteration of green and blue is another wonderfully soothing colour, and very on-trend. To invoke the ocean try Resene Sea Green lightened with trims in Resene Foam. If you want your relaxation space to resemble a really cosy retreat try the deep intensity of Resene Deep Teal, with silvery Resene Tasman. For contrast add some notes of curry-hued Resene Korma.

Pastel purple or a hint of lavender can make a room very restful. Try the subtle violet of Resene Blue Haze with notes of brighter Resene French Lilac, then, for a botanical touch add highlights in the fresh green of Resene Granny Apple or Resene Tusk.

Colours in the ‘natural’ spectrum such as beige, taupe and cream often feel immediately calming because they can make a space feel very grounded and earthy, and in the right combinations can make your room feel light and airy. Try the grey-brown of Resene Greige, with creamy Resene Half Scotch Mist. Add some leafy plants, and floaty sheer curtains and you’ve created an at home spa-suite.

Top tip:  Before you commit to colours, think about whether you want your space to feel cool or warm, light or dark, cosy or spacious.

Remove distractions

The other aspect to consider when creating a soothing space is to look at balance and proportion, and whether there is anything in the space that’s going to irritate you. Keep the space gadget and screen free unless you’re there to watch a movie.

Make sure your couch or chair is not too big or too small for the space, or there’s not too much furniture overall.

Do you have enough light, or too much? Is the light fitting in the right place so you don’t have glare when sitting in your favourite seat? Are there draughts? Do you need a heat source?

Balance in your colour scheme is important too. Does one colour dominate too much so that your colour scheme feels out of sync? A good guide for using multiple colours is the 60-30-10 rule; your main colour takes up 60% of the room, 30% for your secondary shade, and 10% of your third or impact colour.

Top tip:  Think about incorporating organic curved shapes into your relaxing space, either in your furnishings, or in your decoration. Organic shapes are thought to be more calming for our brains than lots of angles and edges.

Spending some time getting all of these little details right will definitely help you relax, once you’re finally in your space with your feet up!

Resene Remember Me

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Rose Gold

May 31, 2022

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