How do you go about making your bedroom feel like a sanctuary? This is a question I often get asked as a designer, and it’s one with an answer that I think can have many interpretations. Like anything else, it depends on what you think a sanctuary is, so I have broken this concept down into two main types. The first is like a retreat from where you look out onto the world—this one I call a “cloud tower.” The second is more introspective and enclosing, so I call it “womblike.”
For a “cloud tower” kind of sanctuary, light and airy is the mantra. I’d start with very little covering the windows, and would go with a light, gauzy sheer that moves with every breath of wind, which lets you filter the view outside as an ephemeral landscape. The color scheme in this room should very, very light. I tend to think of all white, very natural fabrics, maybe even linen bedding. A few pops of color would will bring the room to life, but think soft pastels, pale blues, and greens, with some taupe and milk chocolate to stop the room from being too feminine. Some live plants will add to the light, airy feel too, and with all the natural light they should do pretty well. Lots of natural materials, light-colored woods, a wood floor, and perhaps a soft wool rug as well.
For the bed, you want a soft, cloud-like feel. Try a feather bed with a very light comforter—this will definitely help with the sanctuary feel.Scent should not be ignored, so in this type of sanctuary I would use a light floral scent like a jasmine or plumeria. Then you can lie on your bed and watch the world go by like you would the clouds.
For a “womblike” sanctuary, imagine it as a place to retreat from the world, so think deeper, richer colors, less light, more warmth and a sense of enclosure. So start with the windows, as a strong ability to filter the light is important. A heavier drape like a velvet would be good, and that will help to build up the play of strong color and texture.
For the color palette, think rich, jewel tones like ruby, sapphire, topaz, etc. Do not be afraid of touches of metal—brass, for example, would be a good feature. For the bed, it should feel more encapsulating. A heavier weighted blanket, instead of a comforter, maybe even flannel sheets work well. And a sanctuary like this should have a lot of texture, so think a shag rug, or perhaps even a fur throw.
The wood colors should be fairly deep, maybe a mahogany or deep walnut. The scent in this space can be much richer—think more spice or even heady like a sandalwood. Then prepare to withdraw into the warm, safe space that is your room.