Soothing the Senses: How to Make Your Bedroom a Relaxing Sanctuary

Your bedroom is the place where you retreat to recharge, relax and be yourself. 

We have to endure uncomfortable environments on the daily. The morning commute is crammed. Your office is cold. The lecture hall chairs are uncomfortable. And your gym smells. We often have no power over these discomforts and have no choice but to suffer through them.

This shouldn’t be the case when you come home. Your home or apartment has to be your sanctuary and your safe space, especially when it comes to your bedroom. Here are some simple tips and tricks you can apply to create a more serene environment.

Paint It Cool & Muted

The colour of your room lays the foundation for the rest of the décor. It is the first thing that sets the mood. In fact, it is probably more important than you have realized.

Colour has significant effects on our psyche.

For example, colour specialist, Leatrice Eiseman, explained in her interview with the human behaviour research lab, Science of People, that colour associations have roots in our primal instincts.

“For example, the color blue is almost always associated with blue skies, which when we are children is a positive thing — it means playing outside and fun. Evolutionarily it also means there are no storms to come. This is why it is reminds us of stability and calm.”

Other cool and muted colours have a similar effect on our minds, such as greys, greens and purples. On the other hand, bright colours can excite the mind, increase blood pressure and energize the body.

So when selecting the colour of your bedroom walls, choose carefully.

In-SCENT-ivize Relaxation

Just like colour, scent can have a powerful effect on our wellbeing. A 2005 study published in the research journal, Chemical Senses, showed that certain scents can have healing physical properties, reducing anxiety and muscle tension.

Mental Health Daily reports that the most relaxing scents are:

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Geranium
  • Chamomile
  • Sage
  • Bergamot
  • Jasmine
  • Sandalwood

Some easy ways to introduce a relaxing aroma to your bedroom are: to light a candle (this one from Voluspa smells divine), plug in a fragrance bulb (the Bath and Body Works wallflowers are my current favourite) or invest in an aromatherapy diffuser (like this cute one from Saje).

Stock Up on Soft Textures

There is nothing quite like snuggling up in a perfectly plush blanket or throw. Likewise, being surrounded by soft, comforting textures can give your room a cozy feel. Try mixing different textiles to create a stylish design and make the space more inviting.

My personal favorite addition to my bedroom is a faux fur area rug (I bought mine at Ikea). Throw it on top of your comforter as a design element or better yet, put it on the floor right where you first step in the morning. It will make getting out of bed just a little more bearable and let’s face it, most of us need as much comfort in the mornings as we can get!

Pick Mood Lighting

I don’t mean that you have to constantly keep your bedroom in a state of sensual twilight. I recommend giving yourself options. In my opinion, a bedroom should have three kinds of light pieces:

  1. A Ceiling Fixture – The brightest option, which is best for lighting the entire room
  2. A Secondary Freestanding or Desk Lamp – Delivers a dimly lit effect, which can provide mood lighting in the evening time
  3. A Bedside Light – Provides the softest cast, which is best for reading in or preparing for bed

Having these three options positioned strategically around your room will help you adjust the lighting depending on the time of day and your activities.

When choosing the lightbulbs for the main fixtures, consider buying ones labelled as warm white (2700K to 3000K). These will provide a candlelight glow. If you want to use your bedside lamp as a reading light, try using a bulb that will give off a daylight effect (5500K to 6500K). The brighter light won’t strain your eyes as you try to concentrate on the pages.

Play with Sound

I’m sure all of us, at one point or another, have used music as a way to relax and escape. Music has the incredible power to change your mood and enliven the senses. I personally love to play one of my two favourite radio stations in the evening (Bossa Nova or Café de Paris, both found for free at

I set my speakers to low volume and let the music play in the background as I do homework or get ready for bed. This is an easy and relaxing ritual. Listening to calming melodies is a wonderful way to finish off your day.

Surround Yourself with Positive Imagery

A personalized space is one that you have made your own. Photographs. Candles. Books. Figurines. All of these small touches bring your room to life and surround you with a soothing sense of familiarity.

If you design your room with love and care, that space will forever reflect those emotions. Your bedroom should be a representation of you, your creativity and unique personality. And there is so much pleasure to be found in being surrounded by the things you hold most dear.

Now You Tell Me

What makes your bedroom relaxing? Do you have any other tips to share, which I haven’t mentioned? Please comment below! I would love to hear what your design experiences have been like. I will be moving soon and decorating a whole new apartment, so all of your suggestions will be a big help.

Though it might take some care and effort, designing a truly welcoming and comforting environment will help you relax at the end of the day, even it is just for a Me Minute.

*Assignment 5d

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