5 ways to create a “self-care space”: 5 expert tips

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It is undeniable that recent design movements emphasize well-being. From minimalism and botanical motifs to the ever-growing interest in color psychology – it’s clear that people are looking for a home that looks good and makes them feel as well.

Walk in; hence, the aptly named “self-care space” – the latest interior design trend that prioritizes mental health and well-being – and its appeal is clear. These designated spaces (of all sizes) provide a “meaningful break from life” through therapeutic decorating ideas – including mood lighting and indoor plants, naturally.

And while designers can advise you on the best shapes and colors, psychology experts explain that your “self-care space” is completely personal – meaning many decisions come down to you. Here’s how to start.

How to Create a “Self-Care Space”

Mid-Century Modern Living Room with Scandi Influence

(Image credit: Future/Alexander James)

Psychology professors Belle Liang and Timothy Klein recently published How to Navigate Life (opens in a new tab)a book that explores how to reduce stress and design a useful and meaningful life. Starting from their principles, we asked them how to create a self-care space at home. They recommend designing for your energy.

Design for Energy

You may have heard of energy in terms of bedroom feng shui, but Belle and Timothy’s teaching differs from this ancient teaching.

‘Ask yourself what you need a break from. Do you need a break from stress and anxiety? Do you feel overwhelmed, irritated or agitated? You want to design a soothing, pleasant, tranquil or serene space,” they say. Alternatively, if you fancy a break from boredom and monotony, you should design an “uplifting, high-energy space” that will make you feel more energetic.

“If you live a stressful life, you want to design a pleasant and serene space. So consider what makes you feel peaceful, balanced, tranquil, or serene,” they add. You should look for objects, colors and other elements that promote the feeling you desire.

How to organize a serene space – according to a designer

As Belle and Timothy explain, each self-care space has a different purpose depending on the individual. However, it never hurts to have starting points, especially when endorsed by Chelsey Preuss, a holistic interior designer from Welcome (opens in a new tab).

1. Choose the location wisely

Chelsea Townhouse

(Image credit: Violet & George)

Your personal care space should be as remote from the real thing as possible, so it’s important to consider its location. Chelsea invites you to find a space separate from other people – and most importantly – away from your home office or workspace.

2. Experiment with lighting

living room with curved white sofa, abstract artwork and red marble coffee table

(Image credit: Jake Curtis/Claudia Bryant)

Your lighting ideas have great power in every room – often used to make a statement or make a space appear larger. However, as Chelsey suggests, they have a particular impact on self-care.

“Dim lighting slows us down, whether it’s string lights, lamps, or colored mood lights,” she says. LED bulbs provide an ambient glow and are also more energy efficient (compared to standard bulbs), which also makes your personal care space slightly more sustainable.

3. Opt for a grounding pallet

Living room fireplace with brown footstool

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki/Future)

The growing interest in color psychology is already no secret, so it’s perhaps no surprise that your palette plays a role in your self-care space. Light blue is one of the most soothing colors you can choose, and it’s fully backed by sleep experts – good news if you’re designing your space in the bedroom.

Chelsey also recommends drawing your color ideas from nature, including warm neutrals and various shades of green that will connect you to the world beyond your own four walls.

4. Create fluidity through shapes

White Scandinavian design living room with pink chair

(Image credit: Jon Day Photography)

If your personal care space is large enough to accommodate large pieces of furniture, Chelsey recommends choosing round and circular shapes and edges that will create fluidity.

“You can add floor pillows, window coverings, and bedding,” she says. “And for durable goods like tables, wood or natural stone that make you feel grounded.” She invites you to place most of your furniture on the floor to further accentuate this feeling.

5. Finish with houseplants

A large indoor plant in a large vase on a living room table, two brown leather chairs

(Image credit: BRENT DARBY PHOTOGRAPHY LT)

The best houseplants should be introduced, as their natural benefits are already admired for their mood-boosting qualities. That’s why Sam Baldry, Head of Design at Swoon (opens in a new tab)invites you to integrate them into your personal care space.

‘Not only have [plants] They have been scientifically proven to boost mood and increase creativity levels, they can also reduce stress and eliminate air pollutants in your home,” he says. “They can help promote wellness and self-care, as well as create an aesthetic display in every space.” Let the preparation begin.

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