How to design a peaceful and stress-free living room

Create a stress-free space.
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It’s no secret our surroundings significantly influence our mood and emotional wellbeing. 

WATCH: Juliet Love shows you how to elevate your living room

The living room, often the central hub of our homes, serves as a sanctuary. However, if there’s too much sensory stimulation going on, it can impact your overall sense of calmness and relaxation.

Creating a more peaceful living room doesn’t have to be difficult. To help you get started, here are some ways to create a stress-free space to unwind in after a long day.

How to create a stress-free living room

calm living room
(Credit: Lynden Foss/

Bring nature in

We know being in nature is a serious mood booster that can reduce feelings of stress, among other things. So, it makes sense to bring some of those good vibes into your living room. In fact, biophilic architecture and design suggest getting natural elements into your environment can have a positive impact on your mental well-being. 

neutral colours
(Credit: Armelle Habib)

Neutral colours

Colour can shape the way you feel while in a room. And when it comes to the living room, or any room you plan on spending a lot of time in, neutrals are popular for their calming qualities. Additionally, blue is known to create a sense of calm, as well as helping to reduce anxiety. 

If neutrals aren’t your thing, choose a colour that makes you feel good and relaxed and steer clear of the ones that trigger you. Adding clusters of colour in a room using throw pillows and throws or wall art can help boost your mood without being overwhelming.

natural lighting

Get the lighting right

Achieving the perfect lighting in your living room can significantly impact the atmosphere. A dark and moody setting can evoke a certain mood, but for a stress-free environment, it’s crucial to balance natural and artificial light.

  • Maximising natural light: While natural light is essential, it fluctuates throughout the day. As the sun sets, introduce cosy artificial lights, preferably equipped with dimmer switches, to maintain a tranquil ambience.
  • Choosing the right bulbs: Opt for bulbs that aren’t overly bright, or ensure they come with a dimmer switch. According to a 2017 scientific journal PLOS ONE study, blue lighting can “accelerate the relaxation process after stress compared to conventional white lighting.”
  • Light tricks from the pros: In Frida Ramstedt’s book, “The Interior Design Handbook,” she suggests a light trick to add cosiness. Placing a table lamp on a TV bench or having a mid-level lamp near the television helps soften the contrast between a bright TV screen and a dark room.”
  • Layering lighting: Embrace various lighting types in each room, including natural, ambient, and task lighting.
living room
(Credit: Getty)

Declutter and create space

Studies have shown a link between clutter and stress. And while the thoughts of decluttering your living room might be overwhelming, it’s worth it in the long run. Don’t let the stuff in your living room control you. There are many helpful methods to help with decluttering, like this Core 4 decluttering tip that works.

scent calm living room

Utilise scent

Creating a pleasant aroma is an excellent way to de-stress. While lavender is known to be relaxing, it’s best to choose a scent that you enjoy smelling. 

curved furniture
(Credit: Kristina Soljo/

Embrace curves

Environmental psychology suggests the brain responds more actively to sharp, right angles than round or oval shapes. Having an excess of rectangular forms in a room can feel overwhelming. Instead, look for sofas, chairs with rounded arms, curved backs, and rounded or oval coffee tables. You could also incorporate rugs with circular or organic patterns to break up the room’s straight lines.

calm living room rocking chair

If you really want to unwind, consider adding a rocking chair to your living room. The rhythmic rocking motion calms the nervous system, releasing endorphins – a hormone that helps reduce stress and enhances mood.

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