How to create a sanctuary in homes

Design elements and finishes are key to making a home feel tranquil
Monday, March 12, 2018
by Donna Riddell

Serene. Simple. Soothing. Subdued. How do we actualize a sanctuary in the home that helps a person unwind from a long day and get recharged, to sink into serenity, to feed the soul? More and more people these days crave a place to feel completely relaxed. Being in the present moment means paying closer attention to individual needs and that individual’s surroundings. It helps to have an environment that feels inviting, peaceful and stable. Homes can connect us to feelings of wellbeing, and minimalist surroundings can help us stay balanced, stress-free and vibrant.

Adding unique earthy components can appeal to the senses. Bringing nature into the context completes the setting for quiet relaxation.

Garden Gate 10(1)

This feature wall of jumbo-sized tile flows continuously into the shower. Clear shower doors open up the space, as the eye sees beyond the glass to feel larger.


It has been proven that cluttered environments are stressful. Keep clutter down and contained in drawers, built-in storage units and off the countertop, thereby reducing visual noise.

But how can a tranquil, neutral colour scheme in a room still generate excitement? Pure whites, soft whites and grays still dominate and it takes hits of interest to make things come alive. Combine elements of shape and texture, establish a focal point or introduce an accent wall of soft colour. Create a design that leads the eye in, up, down and around the space, making it feel interesting and appearing much larger. The challenge is to keep the space uncluttered.

An instant focal point, demanding the eye’s attention, can be an elegant freestanding jetted spa tub with Chromatherapy lights, a perfect opportunity for luxurious relaxation. Chrome faucets, which still reign in popularity, add sparkle and are simple to clean and maintain.

Floating a vanity, forcing the eye to go beyond, visually expands a room, makes cleaning easier and allows for varying the height to suit the individual. It is the perfect place to conceal lighting, which also highlights the flooring.

Trends always come and go. This season’s popular colour violet can be accented with towels or a glass vase in a neutral bathroom to give it some pizzazz, as a neutral backdrop can outlive the test of time and trends.

Shades of white can conjure a sense of peace, pureness and cleanliness and enhances the power of a restful mind. Soothing tones, soft lighting and a clutter-free setting tends to quiet the mind.


Custom French doors replaced an existing countertop and sink, drawing the eye beyond to the beauty and peacefulness of nature.


The use of lighter colours makes a room feel more open and airy and a monochromatic neutral-toned space often obtains its inspiration from nature. Colour experienced in nature always works together beautifully, making it easy to create an inviting feeling in any room for relaxing, entertaining family and friends, working or more.

Being conscious of the design and finishes to address individual personalities will promote a sense of calmness and tranquility, a formula that certainly can feed the soul.

Donna Riddell is principal of Artistry Design Group Ltd. in Victoria, B.C.
Photos courtesy of Artistry Design Group Ltd.

3 thoughts on “How to create a sanctuary in homes

  1. Hi Donna
    I hope you weathered our COVID year and it feels great to be getting back to normal. Do you remember what that lovely colour green you chose for the island at Garden Gate house? I still remember remember how soothing it was to live with! I’d appreciate your looking in past files. Cheers, Leslie

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