Ideas for Creating Calm Living Spaces

By Kate Riley March 3, 2022

In the past week, I found myself in a surreal moment, watching the aggressive attacks in the Ukraine and people fleeing their homes while I was sitting on a beach in Mexico. The contrast did not escape me. I decided to take a week off and just sit with those feelings and experiences.

While in Tulum, I had the pleasure of staying in a small condominium with a good friend. Every morning we relaxed in the minimally decorated spaces filled with natural textures and I read a book in the small enclosed yard that felt like a miniature oasis. In the afternoon I explored the town or sat on a beach.

It was a time where I felt the need to rest and disconnect so I honored what my mind, body, and heart was telling me. Sometimes we all need to rest and disconnect. To check in with ourselves and check out of the constant content on social media, both the exposure to it and creation of it.

our condo in Tulum

It was a relaxing stay in a simple condominum with minimal furnishings and a small yet serene yard. I felt a deep a sense of appreciation for where I was and how relaxed I felt. It lead me to think about how calm spaces have restorative powers. The calmer our spaces are, the more rejuvenated we can become living in them.

Where does the feeling of calm come from? It’s all of our senses responding to our current environment. It’s what we’re seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling, but it’s also energetic. It’s when all the senses in combination result in a more relaxed state of mind.

How do we create calm spaces? By creating an environment that looks and feels that way. It’s achieved by looking to the place where many humans feel the most calm: in nature. When we pull back and look at our planet we see that most of our globe is one of three colors: blue, green, or brown. The skies and waters present in all shades of blue. Green is everywhere in the natural world, and the earth is covered in deep browns and golds found in stone, dirt, sand, and dried grasses.

Mimicking mother nature indoors helps bring us closer to the peace found in the great outdoors. When choosing finishes, consider wood and stone. Look to include grass textures like raffia or rope. Accent with objects that are found in nature such as marble, stone, shells, geodes, and semi precious stones. Layer fabrics that are soft to the touch like cotton, linen, or silk. Bring plants and flowers indoors that will thrive. These images below help to illustrate that each one of us has the ability to create calm living spaces. Nature shows us how.



Decorate with earth tones

the citizenry


divine custom homes

architectural digest


Layer organic textures & textiles

coleman builders

three birds renovations

amber interiors


Hang large scale nature photography

polignano a mare – carley rudd


amber interiors

lindye galloway



Activate senses with natural fragrances

the white company

my bathroom

farmhouse pottery


Choose tile that mimics the colors found in stone, sea, or shells

at home in arkansas

tiles of ezra

sally ryhs jones


Include living trees and plants

tiles of ezra


three birds renovations

anthology creative studio

What have you found creates the most calm in your spaces?


  1. The spaces created by Amber Interiors are elevated and warm while embracing natural materials and textures. Each design is timeless, and always comforting whether a bathroom or a living room.

  2. Lovely article. Loved how you have used earthly tones in all areas of the home to create the calming vibe. But to get such amazing home remodeling results, it is important to hire a professional. If you live in Houston or nearby, contact Marwood Consecution for their unique and creative home design and remodel solutions.

  3. Kate, I’ve been reading your blog for at least 11 years now. Lately you sound increasingly more like my therapist, and she’s one of the most patient, calm, balanced people I know :) the last couple years have sucked (especially with the aggressive restrictions the West Coast governors put on us…I’m in Oregon) and your posts have been refreshing as I’ve worked hard to maintain my own calm headspace in the middle of the crazy. Thanks!

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