Over the last several decades, high stress levels have become something of an epidemic in our country. And it’s no wonder—from demanding work schedules to juggling kids’ activities, social events, and simply cooking ourselves wholesome meals, getting everything done without feeling totally frazzled is a rarity. And that was before COVID. Add a global pandemic to the mix and a lot of people are regularly existing at higher and higher levels of stress, which is impacting their mental and physical health.

For our own well-being, it has become increasingly important to find new ways to unwind and recharge. Tackling the day-to-day stressors and activities becomes a lot more doable when you’re coming from a place of peace rather than frenzy.

But the reality is, it can be difficult to carve out time to relax in a time when our homes have become these multifunctional spaces that are the hub of our entire lives. However, with a few clever design tweaks, you can carve out a physical space to relax and unwind. And when you have that physical space at-the-ready, you’re so much more likely to actually use it.

But where can you create these wellness spaces in your home? You don’t have to have a totally separate room. (Though, if you have an unused spare room, go for it—create a wellness room!) But for most of us, that’s not practical. In these cases, we love the idea of transforming bedrooms into wellness retreats.

Why Bedrooms?

In a survey we conducted last summer, we discovered that a majority of people were spending their relaxing and unwinding time in the living room. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, we love the idea of using our bedrooms as these intentional relaxation spaces. After all, while the living room is a communal space for the whole family, a bedroom is personal and a space all your own. (Or, at most, you and your partner.) This space is away from our kids and the shared spaces that are more active. Dining and living spaces can feel overwhelming if you need a moment of relaxation. Offices remind us of work. Even bathrooms can be a hub of activity if you have a busy family! Your bedroom, on the other hand, is already a space that’s just your own, where you can shut the door, find a little peace, and hit the reset button.

You already use your bedroom to sleep (a relaxing activity in and of itself) so adding a few more intentional touches will be easier than in other spaces. Creating a relaxing—even pampering—bedroom can really help you relieve stress and be more equipped to take on what life throws at you.

How to Create a Bedroom Wellness Retreat

Today, we’re sharing 10 tips to create a bedroom wellness retreat. Some are small, simple ideas—others are a bit more significant. But you don’t need to follow every single tip to transform your space. Simply take the ones that work for you and your relaxation needs and leave the rest.

But first, start by tackling these things:

  • Declutter: You can’t have a relaxing space if it’s full of clutter. Spend a weekend afternoon going through your clothes and getting things put away. Remove things from your bedroom that will get in the way of a relaxing environment.
  • Get organized: For the things that will stay in your bedroom, create a sense of organization. That might mean some underbed baskets, new hangers so you can fit more in your closet, or designated shoe storage. Make sure everything has its place.

All decluttered and organized? Great! Now you’re ready to transform your bedroom into a relaxing wellness room.

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1. Decorate with Soothing Colors

There’s a lot of research around color psychology and how specific colors impact your mood. Without getting too deep into the science, suffice it to say that certain colors can boost energy levels or aid in tranquility. When creating a wellness room, opt for a color palette that is calming and serene so you feel at peace in your bedroom and not overly stimulated.

Color palettes that are particularly soothing for most people are warm neutrals, blues, and greens. You can bring in color through paint colors, or in furniture and decor. How you incorporate colors into your bedroom all depends on your preference and style!

Some of Our Designers’ Favorite Paint Colors for a Soothing Space Are:

  • Chill by Clare Paints
  • Drop Cloth by Farrow & Ball
  • Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore
  • Naval By Sherwin-Williams
  • Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore

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2. Add Organic Texture

What does texture have to do with relaxation? More than you might think. Adding organic texture can make you feel more grounded and closer to nature—which in turn can help with stress and wellness.

Adding natural materials and organic textures is very simple; it can be anything from jute rugs and poufs to cotton bedding and wood furniture. This is an easy, surefire way to make your space more grounded and serene.

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3. Enhance the Natural Light in Your Space

Quality natural light is a definite mood-booster. Just like getting outside to soak up some sunshine can change your outlook, basking in a patch of sunlight in a quiet corner of your home can have a similar effect.

If you have windows, keep the curtains and shades open during the day to let light in. If you have a space with limited lighting, add sources of light like candles, pendants, and lamps to create some layered lighting—just make sure the lighting isn’t harsh. If you want to further enhance the natural light your bedroom gets, you can hang a mirror across from your windows to reflect and cast more natural light around your bedroom!

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4. Incorporate Plants into Your Bedroom

Being in nature is a great way to naturally relieve stress. So, when creating a wellness space, bring nature to you! Add plants, large and small, into your bedroom to help you feel more grounded in the space. Plants also help improve air quality, and some scientific studies also show that they boost creativity and reduce stress levels—all of which will create a more serene bedroom.

The types of plants you add is up to you. And it doesn’t have to be much. You can keep it simple by adding a potted plant or vase of fresh flowers to your nightstand, or go big and bring in a full house tree in a planter! If you’re not experienced with plants, start with varieties that are easy to care for. If you need help picking out the right plants, check out our guide to choosing and caring for your indoor plants. For a wellness space, live plants are best—but faux plants also work! They’ll still offer some of the psychological benefits of a plant-filled space.

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5. Indulge in Some Aromatherapy with Scented Candles

Candles can create some very cozy ambiance in the early morning or evening. But they can also fill a room with pleasing scents. After looking at screens or working under bright lights all day, coming back to a bedroom with just candle light can be a great way to let your eyes rest—and a soothing scent can put your mind at ease.

To give yourself the full aromatherapy experience, intentionally choose scents that you find appealing and relaxing. When styling your candles around your bedroom, place them in pretty bowls, with cloches, in hurricane holders, or on trays to fit them into the decor of your space. Then, put the candles on surfaces like shelves, dressers, or nightstands. (Just make sure the placement of them doesn’t put them at risk of lighting any near objects on fire or being knocked over by a pet or child!) If you prefer to skip open flames but still want the sensory experience of fragrance, try reed diffusers or an aromatherapy diffuser with essential oils instead!

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6. Create a Meditation Corner

Having a place to mediate, read, do yoga, or just zen out is important in a wellness-focused bedroom. It can help add to the sense of this space being a sanctuary. Plus, meditating or just practicing being still is a great way to start and end your day. If you need help with developing a meditation practice, we love the Calm app for guided meditation sessions.

A meditation corner can simply be a literal corner or your bedroom where you have a place to sit (a chair or a meditation cushion on the floor), enjoy some tranquility tea, and look at a few of your favorite things—pictures of loved ones, treasures from travels, really whatever brings you comfort. Or, if you’re easily distracted, you could also create a super minimalist corner to minimize distractions and enhance your concentration. Regardless of what’s included, we love the idea of carving out a place to sit and meditate in the corner of your bedroom with the most natural light!

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…or a Workout Zone

If you find movement and exertion more relaxing than stillness, try a home gym workout corner rather than a meditation corner. Working out is an instant endorphins booster and can help start your day with a positive mindset—or help you end your workday and transition into a relaxing evening.

Having workout equipment right in your bedroom can be a great motivator to stay active—and it really doesn’t take much to create a workout corner. Depending on your preferred exercise, carve out a space for your equipment—whether that’s a Peloton or elliptical, a yoga mat, or hand weights. You could even just designate an open space for aerobic activities. And keep some workout or yoga towels nearby to soak up any sweat! If you have a nook or a bay window, this can be a great space to create a workout area. Who wouldn’t be more motivated to exercise with sunlight and a view!

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7. Install an In-Room Soaking Tub

A soaking tub is a perfect place to unwind, rest, and relax after a long day. But they don’t have to be relegated to your bathroom! A big trend in the wellness-focused bedroom world? The bedroom bathtub trend. It’s surprisingly luxurious to have a tub in your bedroom and can instantly make your bedroom feel like a high-end hotel suite or spa.

Of course, this isn’t a project you can simply tackle in a day. You will need the help of a contractor and plumber to assure the tub is in a space that can support it. And you’ll also want to be wary of moisture impacting the flooring beneath the tub. (Your contractor can help with this—but you’ll want flooring that is approved for wet spaces!) Ideally, you’ll want to position the tub so it’s in a pleasant space that feels cozy and serene. And don’t forget the bathtub accouterments to take your soak to the next level—like some aromatherapy bath salts, a bathtub tray, and some beautiful and fluffy luxury bath towels!

Need help figuring out where to put a soaking tub in your bedroom. Work with a Modsy Renovation designer!

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8. Invest in Comfortable, Cozy Bedding

Comfortable bedding can make or break a bed. Because, if your bed doesn’t feel comfortable and inviting, you’re not setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, soft and plush bedding can instantly put you at ease and make crawling into bed to go to sleep a simple act of self-care. Cozy bedding can also bring comfort on a cold or draining day.

To create a comfortable and cozy bed, layer your bed with a mix of comforters, duvet covers, and throws. With a variety of layers and a lot of fluffiness, even just looking at your bed might make you feel more relaxed! But don’t forget about the sheets and the pillows, too. Opt for fabric that is natural and soft, like cotton, linen, or silk. Investing in a higher thread count will also make your bed feel more luxurious and be a treat to sleep in.

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9. Hang Some Blackout Curtains

Darkening your room is another way to make sleeping easier—especially if the street outside is bright or if you live in a busy city. Because of their thickness, they can also help dampen sound.

Contrary to popular belief, blackout curtains don’t have to look totally utilitarian. Rather, they can be part of the overall design of your room. Believe it or not, you can actually buy white blackout curtains! And white is a common drapery color that looks good with almost any color scheme. You can also layer blackout curtains over more decorative shades for a layered and more custom look.

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10. Eliminate Distractions with a Noise Machine

The main purpose of a bedroom is to give you a restful place to sleep. But fitful sleep is a big contributor to stress and exhaustion! If you get distracted by every little noise when trying to doze off, try a noise machine. They can help promote healthy, quality sleep. And white noise machines also are great if you’re a parent and have babies sleeping in your room, too.

Noise machines can be quite small, so they can fit on almost any shelf, dresser, or nightstand. And with sleek designs, adding one to your existing decor isn’t a challenge. Some noise machines even come with built-in nightlights and speakers for extra functionality!

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