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Chris Carroll asks: Is you home stressing you out?

Calm interiors bring with them a sense of comfort and tranquility, but they’re not always easy to get right. People tend to think that creating a calm space requires a lot of white paint, furniture and accessories. What ends up happening is that these rooms feel sterile, cold and far too crisp – the exact opposite of what you were trying to achieve. So let’s explore some ideas and inspiration to help you create a calming interior at your place.


Creating a calming interior is all about exploring neutrals. You should let a variety of colours play together in a space, but ensure the intensity of the colour is turned right down.

For walls, look to soft grey shades and muted olive tones. Mixing beige and grey together (what people are calling ‘greige’) is an interesting approach too, because it brings out the best in both colours and makes the walls feel warm. Dusty blushes and soft champagne tones also work in large doses, and stone and pewter shades are your friend.


Every room needs a focal point, but with a calm interior it should be less intense. You can try painting a door in a subtle, dusty blue tone or a staircase in a muddy clay tone.


Calming rooms use colour to highlight and enhance the finishes and materials in the space. Wood panelling and exposed brick feature walls are made even better by using paints with suede finishes to make them soothing but imperfect. You want to see the surfaces of the materials, but colouring them in a light tone allows them to blend into the space, as opposed to having them be a standout feature. Light, raw timbers also benefit from a lime wash if you really want to ramp up the feeling of calm in the room. It gives the timbers a lush, milky quality but you still get to celebrate and admire the wood grain.


If you’re not ready to go paint crazy, expose your brick walls or whack up some timber panelling, there’s a quick fix for immediate impact – plants!

Indoor plants are great for more than just their ability to make your house look like Pinterest. Through photosynthesis, plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen, and they can also remove toxins from the air we breathe.

No green thumb? No worries, here are five plants you’re (pretty much) guaranteed to keep alive:

• Fiddle leaf fig

• Rattlesnake plant

• Aloe vera

• Mother-in-law’s tongue

• Swiss cheese plant