Creating a Peaceful Space

October 6, 2007 § 14 Comments

library_3.jpgSometimes you just want to relax. Whether it’s in a bedroom, a master bath, or some other special place like this library, there are times when you want to enter a room and just say Ahhhhh. When planning that relaxing space, start with the wall color. This room is Gentle Gray (Benjamin Moore) and it reads a very soft blue that is picked up in the carpet color, window shades, and pillows. To add to the earthy Zen feel yet create some warmth, we added a chocolate brown sofa and chair cushions. The texture on the sofa makes it cozy and the silk pillows add some sheen. We topped off the space with satin nickel and glass accents for some sparkle.  We kept the accessories spare to avoid visual clutter.

The big tip for creating a peaceful room is to choose colors that are soothing to you and avoid too much contrast that is jarring to the eye. Use texture to add interest instead of bright colors and you’ll have a space you can collapse into at the end of the day.

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§ 14 Responses to Creating a Peaceful Space

  • Anne says:

    Thanks so much for this posting. We’re moving and have a huge chocolate brown velvet sectional and I’ve been struggling with paint colors — I wanted something grey/cream…We’ll place our sectional as in the picture with its back to a bank of windows that let in a fair amount of light. The room has high ceilings, but no crown molding.

    I plan to paint the window molding white, but can you suggest what to do for the ceiling? Also, what do you recommend for a rug to keep it serene? It will also be a bit more formal so I’m struggling with “unfussy” window treatments. It’s a city apartment with medium colored wood floors.

    Also, our entrance foyer opens directly into the living room — do you have any color suggestions for that and the adjacent hallway and dining room (visible through french doors)? The brown sectional is the only piece of furniture or decor that isn’t “temporary” so we’ll be upgrading nearly everything. I want things clean, uncluttered and with nice flow. Thanks so much!

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Anne,

    If your ceiling is not textured, you could try a grey blue (kind of like the gentle grey in the photo). It would certainly be serene. If your ceiling is textured, I would leave it white.

    As for rugs, go for texture instead of pattern. Even a fuzzy shag would make the space look cozy but not cluttered by contrasting colors and sharp geometrics. You should avoid those. You could also go with a sisal. Again you’re going for texture instead of color.

    As for your other rooms, it’s really hard to say without a photo. But you can achieve flow by putting some brown in the other areas, either with dark wood tones or fabric. That will spread the brown around and create flow.

    A peaceful place calls for serene colors, earth tones, and soothing textures. I’m sure you can do it.

    -Hope I’ve helped.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • Rebecca says:

    Hi Barbara,

    first let me say that finding your site was blessing. your advice is wonderful and it is kind of you to share your knowledge.

    now my question is that i’ve chosen a creamy shade of yellow to paint the inside of my house and i have to decide whether or not to paint the ceilings, a brick wall and some built-in shelves.

    the ceilings are pretty low so i’m worried it will make it look even shorter if i paint the ceilings. but i don’t like unfinished ceilings. they aren’t textured . . .

    also, one of the rooms is a long rectangle so i’m really, really worried about painting that entire room. which, in that same room one entire length is a brick wall that has been painted white. should i paint over the white? there is also a big built-in book shelf that i wonder if i should paint too. also, in that same room at one end are two sets of french doors which are also white.

    thanks Barbara!

    Best,
    Rebecca Seeder

  • Great site! Relaxing rooms is what every home should have. I like green because it is the most relaxing color and it can be used with gray as a main color or complementary one.

    I work closely with color psychology and find that certain colors can reduce stress. And; we all have stress today.

  • Karen says:

    Enjoy your site! I have a question for you: I am moving into a traditional home and want to add a contemporary feel to it. All the woodwork is stained oak (window casings, trim and moldings). While I am not going to repaint all of it, I do want to focus in on the dining room that even has a stained wood chair rail. I was planning on painting the upper half a warm, rosy gray and the bottom half a few shades lighter. What do I do with the chair rail? Can I paint that the same color as the top or bottom and leave the baseboard and crown stained to match the windows? Please help!

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi Karen,

    You can always remove the chair rail — it tends to make the room quite colonial in style and that’s not what you’re trying to achieve. You can still paint two (or several) tones of grey in the room. They would be stripes instead of areas above and below the chair rail.

    A really contemporary look is to paint wide horizontal stripes in three-five tones of grey moving up the wall. Or if that’s too much, you could do just two tones of grey (or one tone in different finishes) and make the stripes really wide. Like 18″ or more. The effect widens the room and since it’s quite unexpected to see the stripes going horizontally instead of vertically, it is very dramatic. Great for a dining room.

    But after all that, if you want to keep the chair rail, it is fine to paint it the same color as the wall and it will go away on its own.

    Hope that helps.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • rebekah says:

    I am wanting to re-vamp my home. I am focussing on the entry which leads into the formal lounge, then blends (like a L shape) into the dining then the french doors stops you from entering the family room. the Kitchen and dining are alongside eachother. I guess it’s a U shape with kitchen and lounge partlly separated by a wall.

    I have a lovely dark malaysian wood dining table with 8 cream leather chairs. Dark choc lounge set. With the furniture in mind, I am thinking sage blue/green walls, I am still questioning this. And the floor replaced with a terracotta orange/brown tiles.
    I have little idea as to what to do with the kitchen. I wanted to replace cabinet doors and benchtop, maybe cherry wood and dark granite benchtop. the cherry red, oranges and sage are opposite eachother on the colour wheel, is this all too wrong?

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi rebekah,

    The sage sounds really nice especially against the dark wood. But if you’re replacing the floor, I would settle on that first and maybe even lay the tiles before finalizing the paint color for the rooms. The terracotta tile makes a wonderful but huge statement in a room and you may want to move to something more neutral for the walls and stay in the warm family of colors for the dining room. But sage does go terrifically with dark cherry and other dark wood so maybe in the kitchen.

    Finalize the “bones” of the room first and then pull a paint color from that.

    Hope that helps a little.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • rebekah says:

    I was so excited to get a reply for my question. I live in the middle of Australia and it can hit 40 degrees celius, we have cold winter for about 6 weeks of the year. I wanted to create a cool & peaceful space, that is also a touch of formal.
    I guess its a choice between terracotta tuscan style or more cool contemporary feel. thank you for your advice.

    another question for you. With contemporary look now in mind, I am thinking a sage feature wall and maybe a taupe for the majority for the wall, to give the formal feel.

    Does this sound okay with our dark chocolate furniture? what colour or style of tiles, would you suggest? And would a lighter coloured wood cabinets plus dark granite benchtop for kitchen work with this colour scheme.

    I love the picture you have to shown for a peaceful room.
    I have 5 children between 18months to 9 years. And I am ready to create a part of the house that is for me and my husband.

  • michelle says:

    I’m having a hard time deciding whether or not to paint the chair rail in my dining room the same color as the wall (but in a glossy finish)or a white to contrast with the wall color. the wall color i am using is pratt & lambert’s genteel gray, with lined off white linen curtains. I am also planning on hanging a 48″ by 48″ contemporary painting that has a mostly off white background with gray/blue/ some yellow and pale orange in it. The table is not contemporary.

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi michelle (#11),

    Since you have a mix of styles in your room anyway (and that’s okay), I would go ahead and paint the chair rail an off white. Ordinarily if you’re trying to make the room contemporary, we would remove the chair rail altogether so there is no hint of traditional style. But since you have a traditional table and it sounds like you’ve already painted (which would make removing the chair rail less than optimal), I would go ahead with the off-white. Just make it match the curtains so it doesn’t call too much attention to itself. That way, the painting will be the focal point and not the chair rail.

    Hope that helps.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

  • michelle says:

    thanks so much for your reply, I haven’t painted yet, but I will go ahead and paint the chair rail an off white that matches the curtains. I think it will keep the room from becoming too drab, it will be the first dark color we have ever painted in our house, and the color board looks amazing in the room. I tried a lot of lighter grays similar to the one you show above and it just seems that the room calls for a bit more drama. michelle:)

  • bmeglis says:

    Hi nowstarter (#14),

    I use myperfectcolor.com for a quick reference (have not tried sending for samples) but you have to be really careful since the browsers and computer screens will alter the paint colors. And I’ve noticed some big differences between what’s seen on the screen and the actual color.

    But they do a nice job at giving you color combination ideas.

    Thanks for call our attention to the site.

    -Barbara
    Your Home & Color Coach

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