The Very First Thing You Should Do When Designing a Calming, Tranquil Room in Your Home

published Jun 11, 2021
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Credit: Rikki Snyder

The Small/Cool Experience is a shoppable online home design showcase and social event full of decorating tips and tricks from your favorite designers. Check out the whole virtual experience online and at @apartmenttherapy on Instagram from June 11-13. Thank you to our sponsors BEHR® Paint, Genesis G70, LUMAS, Overstock, Tuft & Needle, Chasing Paper, and Interior Define for making this experience possible.

Meditation rooms and other kinds of zen-inspired design choices have been all the rage this past year. With more people spending more time at home than ever — and the world a more stressful place than ever — why not dedicate even a small part of your home to tranquility and relaxation?

Chances are, you’ve at least thought about doing this. And if you’re still figuring out how to lend your space an air of calm, designer Tiffany Brooks (who you’ll definitely recognize from HGTV) has a brilliant tip: First, start by understanding that “tranquil” looks different to everyone.

In a conversation with Apartment Therapy’s Founder & CEO Maxwell Ryan during the Small/Cool Experience, Brooks explained that tranquil isn’t always the peaceful garden scene you may often see depicted. In fact, it probably is completely different from person to person!

When thinking about what feels tranquil to you, ask yourself, “Is it a lush green, spa-inspired Japanese garden? Or does a tranquil day on a southern porch, daybed, swinging on the daybed inspire you?” Brooks says. “Once you connect it, that’s when you have that design direction.” For her, it’s hanging in her backyard with her dog with vintage rap music on, which goes to show that your tranquil room could take on a completely unique look.

Once you have that figured out, it’s all about color — and Brooks has an similar tip for deciding how to use color to evoke tranquility. “Color is the biggest thing in tranquility,” Brooks says, explaining that as part of her work, she asks clients to think of the most tranquil color. “People either have a visceral reaction to color or a memory that will take them to a calmer place. Do you see cool blues automatically when I say tranquil? Or do you see a room covered in blush pink?”

Again, there are so many different directions this can take, depending on whom Brooks works with. Once she and her clients have the color and scene in mind, they figure out how they need the room to behave (what they need to store, what lighting they might need for it, and more), and voila! It all starts coming together.

To hear the rest of Tiffany and Maxwell’s conversation (and to get even more great tips), watch the whole thing below!