Whether you prefer a messy bed or a gender-neutral palette, there's one look that encourages a tranquil tone every time, and that's the zen bedroom design. This minimalistic, clutter-free, and placid vibe is the kind of sanctuary we could probably all use more of in our fast-paced, increasingly digitally-driven society.
When we just need a little respite from the world, our bedroom can serve as the perfect escape. With the help of some design tips (including a few gleaned from feng shui design principles), we can all learn to rely on this cozy, personal, and incredibly special space when we need to seek solace from the chaos, or reflect and unwind in the peace and quiet.
To get your inspiration meter ticking, we found 13 zen bedrooms conducive to calm. Scroll down to learn how to breathe and rest easier in the bedroom with these design tips.
Keep It Tonal
The secret to keeping the peace in any boudoir is sticking to a minimal color palette. Neutral tones ensure a calm and serene sentiment so you can breathe easy without distraction.
For pop of color, add a bright throw on the end of your bed, hang some abstract art, or fix a metallic pendant above.
Let the Light in
To ramp up the tranquility, zen bedrooms are designed to let in as much natural light as possible. If you don't have floor-to-ceiling windows like this lovely space, then add some rattan pendant lighting to keep it well-lit. You'll feel the mood change—we promise.
Clear Any Distractions
All zen bedrooms have one thing in common: Clutter is kept to a minimum. This is often easier said than done, but having a distraction-free zone is the key to evoking calm in the bedroom. There's no disturbance or confusion, nothing to bring your attention away from simply being present in that very moment.
Layer It Up
If you're a maximalist at heart and the idea of less stresses you out, then add some layers to the mix. This zen bedroom evokes the bliss factor without overdoing it. The key here is pairing different fabrics together, from linen, to wool, and faux-fur rugs. With these mixed textures, the feel is cozy and warm.
Make It Minimal
If you really want to take zen bedroom style seriously, then clear the room of everything and only introduce the bare minimum. Just include the main ingredients; a bed, a light, and a nightstand. This one also has some very neutral artwork and a skinny tufted bench to add a little flair, but that's it.
When done well, a monochromatic palette can be elevated and chic yet warm and snug—and zen. With white as its base, this boudoir applies touches of gray and charcoal for a minimal mix that will stand the test of time.
Space It Out
This room is a visual representation of the feeling you get in a zen space. To mimic this at home, create white space between different pieces when possible so the room can breathe, and you can literally go with the flow.
Minimize Negative Symbolism
To enhance the peaceful vibes of a zen bedroom, evaluate whether there are symbols in your room that seem at-odds with your ideal environment. For example, if you're after more headspace, check to see whether your surfaces are cluttered. Are you interested in nurturing a partnership? Look around your room and asses whether "you're loading up your home with single imagery—a single vase, a single chair, a single person in a picture," Laura Benko, feng shui expert, previously told MyDomaine.
Seek Hidden Storage
A calming bedroom should boast clean lines, and choosing décor that's sleek and can double as storage space will keep items out of sight.
Surround With Nature
In the 21st century, says feng shui expert Marianne Gordon of Feng Shui with Me, our homes are predominantly filled with the metal element. To equalize the space, incorporate organic, earthy elements in your bedroom. Whether it's a wooden bed frame (to symbolize support) or a pair of potted plants for each nightstand, "We are wired to feel at ease in the company of nature," Gordon says.
A Centered Bed
A centered bed creates equal space for balance, "even if you can only spare an inch of space between between the wall and bed, it's better than nothing," explains feng shui expert Laura Cerrano in a previous MyDomaine interview.
A Made Bed
According to feng shui experts, making your bed when you rise is like setting your best foot forward for the rest of the day. "Making your bed may seem small and insignificant, yet a greater development within your conscious and subconscious minds is evolving," Cerrano tells MyDomaine, adding, "This simple act becomes your first accomplishment of the day and it only requires two minutes of your time. This also creates a mind-set of being organized, which helps reduce stress and increase motivation."
Balance All Five Elements
If harmony is the ultimate goal in a zen bedroom, be mindful to balance the five elements (expressed through furniture and décor) that surround your space: Earth, wood, fire, water, and metal. Colors, materials, physical and symbolic objects all play a role in exciting or softening the energy of a space.
Elliot AJ. Color and Psychological Functioning: A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Work. Front Psychol. 2015;6:368.
Franco LS, Shanahan DF, Fuller RA. A Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017;14(8)