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13 Tips For Creating A Zen Home

Zen interior design

Décor Ideas & Simple Tips For A Tranquil Home

Let's face it, we spend a lot of time in our homes.

The home environment is really significant in how it affects our mood & well being.

When we think of Zen, usually images of Buddha & lotus leaves come to mind.

We think of tranquillity & calmness & not being disturbed by people & events.

It has been well documented for many years now, the damaging effects of stress on our physical, as well as mental & emotional health.

So having a tranquil sanctuary to return to after a long day is super important.

Remaining centred & peaceful is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves & others.

We've heard the saying "charity begins at home", but I believe our peace of mind also begins from the moment we awaken.

So greeting the day in a mindful home environment is going to help you face the day ahead with calmness & positivity.

A Brief History Of Zen

Zen derived when Buddhism was introduced into China in the 6th century, then later in the 12th century in Japan.

It’s core principle, or ideology, is realising enlightenment, or a mind without mind, or the state of no "mindness".

Basically getting past the minds interpretation to reveal the unfiltered reality as it truly is.

Anyway, this isn’t a philosophy lesson & I’m probably not the best person to try to describe a state of being that is .. well, indescribable!

How Do You Make A Home Look Zen?

It’s really important to have a home you feel comfortable in, a space where you can relax & unwind from the outside world.

Even if you’re not into meditating or taking an inward journey, just having a peaceful home environment improves your well-being on so many levels.


Related Article:

Ideas, Tips & Inspiration For Creating A Meditation Room


As we learned in the introduction, Zen is a Japanese philosophy.

But you don’t need to use Japanese & Zen specific décor to create a mood of calmness in your house.

Whatever the definition of Zen may be, it basically comes down to the same state of being that is described differently by various philosophies.

I hope you're not superstitious!

13 isn't really an unlucky number .. so here are some useful ideas, in no particular order of importance, to help you bring peace into your home.

1. Be Mindful

empty room

Before heading out to buy Buddha statues & paintings of Ganesha, just take the time to really understand the space you’re working with.

You may have a modern house, an older style home or a tiny apartment.

Understanding the bones of the building, the different elements already within it, will help you choose the right décor that compliments rather than clashes.

These can be small things like modern or old style light switches & power-points, cornices & mouldings & other elements.

You may find existing furniture & accessories you already have will work within the space.

Otherwise you might need to get rid of the old & incorporate new things.

Also ask yourself how far are you willing to go?

Are you up for stripping off wallpaper, painting walls or other larger renovation jobs?

After all, this is meant to create calm, not add stress to your life!

2. Declutter

woman at garage sale

This goes hand in hand with being mindful of the space you’re working with.

Have a really honest & brutal look at what items you genuinely love & stuff you can live without.

Decluttering & discarding things you no longer use is very cathartic.

It also clears old energy & makes way for new things to enter your life.

Many things can be donated to charity shops, or alternatively have a garage sale & make some money for things you may really need or want.

3. Storage

neat storage

There’s always a certain amount of clutter that seems to accumulate.

The kitchen drawer full of batteries, odd screws, receipts from 5 years ago. ( Yep .. that’s mine! )

Bathroom tops piled with beauty products, laundry & utility rooms with mops & brooms leaning around.

Storing things in this way isn’t very conducive to a relaxed state of mind, especially when you’re trying to find that pair of scissors you know you’ve put somewhere.

There’s another saying, “a place for everything, & everything in it’s place“.

Having stylish storage solutions that are organised, not only makes things easy to find when you need them, it keeps the home from being visually cluttered & can also free up floor space.

Having the kitchen bin in a cupboard, or the slide out type you often see for recycling is a good example of keeping the messy stuff out of sight.

Another handy hint is to keep cords out of sight.

Have you ever seen a professional photo of a home interior with power cords & cables lying around?

4. Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

couple cleaning house

If that's the case, I ain’t no saint!

Seriously though, a clean tidy house is a beautiful thing to come home to, don’t you agree?

I do actually try to keep my place clean.

Regular vacuuming, dusting & general cleaning may seem like a chore, but when it’s done, the house is a much friendlier place.

If you find it too overwhelming, one room will only take 10 minutes or so, then clean another room the next day.

If you get into this habit, you’ll never again waste a weekend doing the chores.

Doing the dishes instead of letting them pile up in the sink, as well as avoiding attracting unwanted pests, avoids that visual clutter.

Same in living rooms & bedrooms, just tidy up as you go along so it doesn’t become a big job later down the track.

5. Colour Is Key

choosing colours for home interior

The importance of colour has been well researched.

Different colours affect our psychology, often on a subtle & subconscious level.

You can explore this in more depth, as I wrote an article on how room colour affects our moods & psychology.

But the main thing is to use neutral & soft tones for your colour palette so as to create a relaxed vibe.

Here’s a quick run down on some different colours & how they affect our state of mind .

  • Blue - a soft shade of blue can reduce anxiety by reducing the heart rate & lowering blood pressure.

  • Green - because it represents nature, it instils a sense of calm & tranquillity.

Beige & yellow shades are the best for a calming mood.

  • Pink - in Feng Shui, pink is believed to soothe various energies, promoting tranquillity & peace.

  • White - the colour of clarity & freshness.

Great for getting your thoughts in order & de-stressing.

  • Violet - representing strength, wisdom & peace, it’s a good colour for promoting inner tranquillity & balance.

  • Grey - not a colour you may initially think about using for a Zen space, some people may think it’s a bit dull or dreary.

But in fact, a pale grey used with blues & whites can create a sense of relaxation.


Related Articles:

What Colour Art Matches Grey Walls?

Picture Frame Colours To Compliment Grey Walls


White walls work well for a minimalist look, but adding a feature wall in a soft or earthy tone is a nice way to add another element.


Related Articles:

How To Choose A Feature Wall

Should A Feature Wall Be Lighter Or Darker?


Decorating in neutral tones also means colours won’t clash, tying the décor together.

This means you can still use different hues & shades throughout the house, your colour choices can still be expressive & varied.

6. It's Easy Being Green

peaceful home office with potted plants

You can’t go past bringing some of Mother Nature indoors for making any space instantly feel more relaxed.

Not only do plants help filter the air, they provide a visually calming element.

Different rooms & areas of the house will vary as to how much natural light is available.

Your local nursery will help you find the perfect plants to suit any space.

But please, stay away from those plastic plants!

7. Setting The Mood With Lighting

mood lighting with Buddha statue

Harsh light isn’t conducive to a relaxed mindset.

Sometimes it’s practical to have a good level of illumination to be able to see.

So if possible, installing dimmer switches is a fantastic way to instantly control the light levels.

Otherwise, having lamps with lower wattage & softer globes will allow you to create mood lighting.

If you need a brighter light to work by, use task lights like desk lamps.

This will allow you to see what you’re doing without illuminating the whole space.

Alternatively, if you're just chilling, why not use candles?

You’ll also save on your power bill!

You can use scented candles too, this means you’re incorporating aromatherapy at the same time.

During the day, allowing as much natural light into your house is another way to create calm & a nice open energy.

It’s quite depressing when houses are dark during the day.

So if you need to, replace heavy curtains & blinds with lighter alternatives.

More natural light streaming in is very uplifting, especially through the darker winter months.

If you’re in a warmer climate, consider having the windows tinted so you’re able to allow more natural light without the heat.

8. The Lowdown On Furniture

couches in room interior

Keeping the height of your furniture to a minimum helps create a visual flow.

It also opens up the space.

Tall cabinets & wardrobes can make a room feel closed in.

Especially if you don’t have high ceilings, keeping furniture height to a minimum makes the proportions of the appear taller.

It’s tempting when creating a Zen space, to feel you need to keep the furniture very simple.

Perhaps plain white or other tones & pieces that have clean lines.

Although this is true in the main part, it can also leave a room feeling a bit cold & unwelcoming.

So don’t be shy of injecting some of your personality into a space by introducing a unique piece.

This could be a funky sofa or a shabby chic or upcycled set of drawers.

Whatever your style is, just use restraint.

This will create a focal point.

What you’re avoiding is making the room too busy.

9. Staying Grounded

When it comes to flooring, just keep it simple.

Carpet can require more maintenance to keep clean, but it's comfortable to walk on.

Providing it’s plain & a light neutral colour, then other minimalist décor elements will work just fine.

A shaggy rug would work on a timber, parquet or even polished concrete floor for adding an element of texture.

But choosing a deep pile carpet for an entire room will detract from the simplicity of Zen.

10. Wall Art

If you’re looking to achieve the Zen look, some interior designers will advise against having art on the walls.

But well chosen artworks that are well placed will add interest, personality & some life into the space.

Canvas Cultures have a great range of Zen & spiritual inspired art, plus they support their artists & I like that!

Also, minimalist art pieces of the appropriate subject matter, will reflect & accentuate the Zen vibe.

Creating gallery walls & placing too much art is just going to create busy walls & a visually noisy space.

But as mentioned in the chapter about furniture, you can use a single artwork as a focal point or to bring a splash of colour to a room.