For some people, decorating a home is another form of self-expression: a creative opportunity to build a space reflective of one’s personality and tastes. For others, interior design is more about creating a space that is soothing and relaxing, where one can escape the stresses of everyday life. There are many ways to achieve this soothing environment.

Sticking to a largely neutral colour palette is one technique. Almond, cream and light grey are good options for large areas of colour such as carpets, curtains and upholstery. The risk with neutrals, of course, is that they can look uninspiring, but incorporating different shades and textures will help you achieve a simple look without compromising on style. Add some depth and character to the room with various patterned but neutral accents such as lampshades, cushions and throws.

Alternatively, if you want an aesthetic that is both colourful and soothing, science is on your side! Different colours are proven to have measurable effects on your mental and physical state. Black and red are known to elicit feelings of tension, restriction and darkness, whereas green and blue are seen to be calming and peaceful. It’s not as simple as just filling your home with green and blue though: getting the right shades can make all the difference.

Blue is generally perceived to have a relaxing and tranquil effect, and to invoke reflection and serenity. Use a light sky blue to brighten and illuminate a room, or use deep sumptuous navy tones in accent walls to invite relaxation and unwinding.

Green offers a more harmonious feel to your interior. Typically known to produce feelings of balance and refreshment, it can be a great colour choice for someone who struggles to find a healthy work/home balance, or whose schedule doesn’t allow them much time outdoors. Indoor plants are an especially good way to incorporate green into your home, offering a natural and homely touch.

Whether you stick to sophisticated neutrals or psychologically soothing shades you won’t regret creating a space that allows you to really switch off and chill out.