How to make your home feel like a sanctuary – we cover every room

Our experts give you the low down on how to make your home feel like a sanctuary

make your home feel like a sanctuary, white and wood scheme with multiple seating, back to back couches, low slung stools, coffee tables, large windows with view outside, beams
(Image credit: Jenni Kayne)

We all need comfort and to feel safe, so learning to make your home feel like a sanctuary is key. We often talk about creating this feeling in our bathrooms or bedroom, but what about the house as a whole? It's important with today's stresses that we look at every room.

'Everything should be pleasing to the eye and reflect your idea of beauty,' says Joshua Smith, principal and founder, Joshua Smith Inc. 'What do you find beautiful?  Surround yourself with it. Hang art or images that bring you joy. Utilize colors that bring you joy and brighten up the space.

With the hectic lives we all lead, it is important to come home and be comforted and cozy. Your home is the foundation for living your best life. It can be a source of great joy and inspiration. Make your times at home have meaning. Make them an experience!'

We look at each room to see how we can turn them into a place of sanctuary as well as happier rooms to live in, from beautiful fabrics, to favorite keepsakes and comforting scents, we've got you covered. 

Coastal bedroom

(Image credit: McGee & Co.)

Why should your home be a sanctuary? 

'Our surroundings impact our daily lives more than we know. I’ve always believed in the ethos that your home should be a sanctuary that really cultivates a sense of serenity and ease while also supporting your way of everyday life. Your interiors should reflect the way you aim to live, and whether you’re a big entertainer or a total homebody, when you create your version of home—whatever that looks to like to you—you’re making your own type of sanctuary,' explains designer Jenni Kayne.

'For me, designing a home is about creating an atmosphere that evokes these feelings whilst simultaneously reflecting the personality and world of the people who live in it,' adds Stéphanie Coutas.

Modern farmhouse kitchen wall decorated with a vintage-style painting

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

How to make your home feel like a sanctuary 

Comfort is key, so invest in cozy furniture as well as the best mattress you can afford for your bed. Soothing colors and calming, tactile fabrics. And don't forget nature – it's a known fact that it's a vital part of us feeling calm. 

1. Awaken your senses

make your home feel like a sanctuary, classic entryway with symmetry, tiled floor, cream walls, mahogany console, matching chairs each side, mirror, wall lights

(Image credit: Joshua Smith Inc / Tim Lenz)

Start with the entryway, as it's the first space you enter when you come home. A calming palette and a touch of symmetry will be comforting to the eye.

'When your home is your sanctuary, there’s a big exhale when you walk through that front door. It nourishes your spirit, inspires your mind, and enhances your connection to yourself, your loved ones, and the divine, however, you might define that. This is the very foundation to our healing.  Being a certified life coach and meditation teacher has shaped my unique perspective on the transformative effects of interior design,' Joshua Smith, principal and founder, Joshua Smith Inc.

'I often tell clients that it’s more than how you want your home to look, it’s how you want your home to feel. A beautiful interior is not just something we see; it is something we experience. It should engage the senses and nourish the soul. Considering all five of the senses will help turn your home into a sanctuary.'

Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith

With projects on both coasts, Joshua Smith Inc, offers full-service residential interior design – and life-changing spaces. Joshua draws on decades of experience transforming functional spaces into inspiring environments that engage the senses and nourish the soul. By cultivating the connections between mind, body, spirit, and space, he helps his clients elevate their experience each day.

2. Personal style is your comfort

make your home feel like a sanctuary, cottage style living room with plates on wall, rattan armchair with blue cushion, green velvet footstool, ladder, log store

(Image credit: Cathy Nordström)

So how do you create a sanctuary feel in your home? You start with what you love the most, as designer Cathy Nordström explains: 

'A homey home is my favorite kind of home, and this is achieved by mixing color, pattern, and objects from different eras – this ensures your home really becomes inviting and a reflection of you. Mixing patterns and textiles from different eras is the best way to infuse your home with a sense of timelessness and eclectic charm.'

expert headshot Cathy Nordstöm
Cathy Nordström

Cathy Nordström is the founder of eponymous Stockholm-based textile brand. Everything but the typical Scandinavian when it comes to pattern and colour, Cathy loves a good pattern mix and a layered, personal home. The brand places an emphasis on ethical, sustainable production, with fabric and wallpaper patterns hand-sketched by Cathy before being produced in small batches in Sweden, along with a range of cushions and lampshades.

3. Look for cocooning elements

Dining room painted in Biscuit by Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Your version of a sanctuary will feel different to someone else. Unless you are a minimalist, most people will love some color and pattern. 

'I think when it comes to creating a space that evokes a feeling of safety and calmness, I always look to include color and pattern; they’re what really draw you into a space and make it feel personal, whether it’s a subtle striped rug or a hint of warm yellow in a geometric print,' says Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director, OKA.

Ask yourself how you want each room to make you feel and consider what colors make you feel happy. Sue adds, 'If it's cozy and cocooned, I’d suggest looking to velvets and mixed patterns. If you’re looking for more of a spa-like feel, go for light-colored linens, curved furniture, and plenty of natural light where possible.'

4. Consider organic shapes

make your home feel like a sanctuary, white living space with alcoves, artisanal objects, seated area with cushions, wooden stool

(Image credit: Urbanology)

'Neuroesthetics tells us that our environment profoundly affects our brain and, consequently, our mood and well-being. We can lean into this knowledge to create the ultimate sanctuary,' says Ginger Curtis, CEO and founder, Urbanology Designs.

A good way to use this is to really think about what gives you a feeling of well-being. Organic textures can really soothe the mind, the tactile aspect whether it's smooth or textured, and the curves. Not forgetting the fact that they have a handcrafted quality which can be very pleasing.

'Use this knowledge to create a sensory harmony and peace in your home. Select textures, colors, and materials that not only please the eye but also positively stimulate the brain,' says Ginger. 

Interior designer Ginger Curtis
Ginger Curtis

Ginger Curtis, is a design visionary renowned for her transformative approach to creating spaces that elevate modern living. In 2015, she founded Urbanology Designs, an award-winning design firm, following an inspiring triumph over an 18-month battle with cancer. This life-altering journey revealed to her the incredible influence of neuroaesthetics on our well-being. Rooted in simplicity and elevated by extraordinary beauty, interiors by Dallas-based Urbanology Designs bring organic luxury to life. 

5. It's all about the details

make your home feel like a sanctuary, white and wood scheme with multiple seating, back to back couches, low slung stools, coffee tables, large windows with view outside, beams

(Image credit: Jenni Kayne / Angi Welsch)

When we think of sanctuaries we tend to conjure up thoughts of neutral color schemes and natural materials as they do have a soothing appeal. 

'When it comes to creating a sanctuary, I think it really is about the details. I’m drawn to neutral color palettes and organic textures that immediately infuse my space with a sense of calm, and I love lighting candles, adding cozy accents to every corner, and focusing on touches that welcome nature inside. I want my friends and family to feel comfortable from the moment they enter my space,' explains Jenni Kayne,

In a living room you could consider fabrics like boucle, velvet and slubby linen for your couches and armchairs teamed with artisan coffee tables and stools for warmth.

headshot of Jenni Kayne
Jenni Kayne

Jenni Kayne is the founder of her eponymous California-based lifestyle brand that aims to embody the sensibilities of modern-day living. Through intentional design and an all-encompassing lifestyle that's inspiring and authentic, Jenni Kayne has created a new form of luxury that’s elevated, inviting, and uniquely Californian. Rooted in California minimalism, the brand is best known for its timeless curation of home décor, furniture, and wardrobe staples. 

6. Mirrors and curves

make your home feel like a sanctuary, wood and marble kitchen with mirrored wall, dining area in reflection, artwork, shelving unit

(Image credit: Stéphanie Coutas / Francis Amiand)

Shapes are an important consideration too, harsh angles are not conducive to a sanctuary-style space. Curves are a great option as is mixing it up with some more natural materials.

'I tend to favor neutral color palettes and natural materials in my designs to translate the beauty of nature and create that ‘sanctuary’ feel. However, you might envisage a sanctuary as bright and colorful, or even playful. Therefore, integrating mixed materials and textures is key,' says Stéphanie Coutas.

'For example, furs, leathers and marbles, as well as textures that are matte, shiny, soft or embroidered. And when possible, mirrors and chandeliers can accentuate the flow of a space and even create an illusion of a larger room. These can all bring that serene atmosphere one wishes to create in, what they call, their own sanctuary.'

7. Achieve serenity in your dining room

dining room with table and chairs

(Image credit: Future)

The dining room is one place you might not consider as being a sanctuary, but it's actually a key space where families congregate and converse daily. The safe haven to talk the day through with each other. 

'The dining room, often the gathering place for meals and meaningful conversations, should also be considered a sanctuary within your home,' says Amanda Huber, interior designer and owner, The Dining Chair Co.

'It's not just a space for nourishing the body, but also an opportunity to nourish connections with loved ones. Start by choosing a color scheme that encourages a warm and inviting atmosphere. Earthy tones, muted pastels, and even richer, darker shades can create a cozy yet elegant feeling. Invest in a dining table and chairs that prioritise both style and comfort, encouraging long and leisurely meals full of conversation.'

8. Consider soothing pinks and greens

Dusty pink bedroom by Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

The colors you chose to make your home feel like a sanctuary are important too. Naturally, you will be drawn to certain shades that make you feel relaxed and calm. But there are two colors that invoke a sanctuary-style feel.

Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball shares his expert knowledge:

'Starting with green, the ‘ultimate’ color group that color psychologists always suggest imbues calm, look to mid-greens and something a little more nuanced, almost drab, will feel incredibly restful so a wonderful choice for a bedroom, such as our classic French Gray. For something bolder, Yeabridge Green offers those life-affirming qualities of new life and the promise of spring with its zesty richness, especially when allied with an empathetic calming white on walls such as School House White.  

'Pinks. Not the current zeitgeist of Barbie pink but much more delicate, ethereal notes of earthy pinks – these colors have been doing the rounds for a few years now and for good reason – consider them as a neutral and they will layer with almost any color (we’re talking Pink Ground and Setting Plaster here) in any room in your home, from the most flattering wall color of your bathroom, to an elegant living room or a warm-blushed hallway, these colors are your best friends.' 

Patrick O’Donnell
Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O’Donnell has been bringing his impeccable eye for colour to Farrow & Ball since 2012. Over that time, he has been a Showroom Manager, Global Colour Consultancy Manager and now Brand Ambassador. However, he is best known as the much-loved face of Farrow & Ball on social media 

9. Create a spa bathroom

make your home feel like a sanctuary, spa style bathroom with twin mirrors and twin basins, wall mounted, shelf underneath, plant

(Image credit: Clearwater)

Creating a sanctuary in your bathroom requires you to connect through your senses, and to use all the elements that represent calm and peace to you. 

Andy Oakman, head of interiors and lead design consultant at Clearwater agrees, 'For me, creating a sanctuary in your bathroom encompasses a complete, indulgent, sensory experience that invigorates and awakens the senses. Allowing you to decompress at the end of a day and relax with your own thoughts in a tranquil environment. 

Start by surrounding yourself with visual purity through simple, paired back aesthetics and smooth, clean textures to relax mind and body without sensory distraction. Evoke a sense of escapism through calm sounds like the cascading of water into your bath. Consider adding scent through small, subtle touches such as a drop of essential oils or an enchanting, scented candle to transport you into an atmosphere that recharges and reenergizes.'

Team all these elements together and you'll have the most beautiful sanctuary spa-like bathroom to relax in. 

headshot of Andy Oakman
Andy Oakman

With over 16 years’ experience in the luxury interiors sector, Andy is at the forefront of launching Clearwater Interiors, the new go to brand for eco-luxe aesthetics and experiences created for the luxury interior designer and architect market. Offering a bespoke, exclusive design service to clients, our aim is to immerse clients into our world and creative direction to collaborate on new exciting projects in the UK & worldwide.

10. Extend it to your porch

make your home feel like a sanctuary, outdoor living area with four armchairs around a circular coffee table, tv mounted on wall, faux fire, tiled flooring

(Image credit: Bianca Ecklund Design / Lauren Taylor)

Don't neglect your porch area or backyard, if you're embracing a sanctuary feel for your whole home it's a key piece to transform too. It could be as simple as moving your favorite chair outside, or painting your shiplap in a new color. 

'Fill it with colors and textures that make you happy and feel comfortable. Better yet, make it feel like a vacation from the hustle of life!! Some tips: Use soothing colors, and layer textures, natural stone is a must for me. Also indoor/outdoor living spaces bring me so much joy! Cozy up with a comfy outdoor sofa, pair it with a fire and some blankets for ultimate luxurious comfort,' advises Bianca Ecklund, designer and creative director, Bianca Ecklund Design

It's definitely possible to create a zen-like feel throughout your home. Use a color scheme that makes you feel calm and surround yourself by pieces that you love. Introduce beautiful fabrics and natural materials into each room for a tactile element. 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.