How to Incorporate Healing Decor in Your Home

The medical community has long known that a well-designed space helps to promote healing. Comfortable furniture, light, artwork and other decor all can induce positive and calm feelings. And that’s true for your personal interior design, too. Here’s how you can incorporate healing decor in your home.

1. Let in the light

Light is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. “Light impacts human health and performance by enabling performance of visual tasks, controlling the body’s circadian system, affecting mood and perception, and by enabling critical chemical reactions in the body,” according to the Center for Health Design. This is why people with seasonal depression often turn to light therapy to give their bodies a boost, and offices maximize natural light to increase productivity.

So when designing your home, let in as much natural light as possible. Make sure window treatments don’t block any of the precious sunshine your rooms get during the day. (At night, of course, you’ll want to block as much light as possible for better sleep.) And embrace light paint colors in soothing tones. “Earthy browns, watery blues and soft greens are some of the most comforting shades, but there’s no one-size-fits-all rule here,” according to HGTV. Choose what you like, but try to stick to a light color palette.

2. Incorporate wood

wood dresser with books and a plant

Another natural element that can promote a healing environment is wood. “For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, people prefer natural-colored wood with a grain rather than nongrain surfaces,” such as glass, according to the American Psychological Association. But there’s a catch: The association says once wood covers more than 45 percent of a room’s surfaces, it loses its calming effect. So wood paneling with a wood floor and furniture might be a bit much — unless that’s the stye that makes you happy.

3. Employ positive distractions

A healthy distraction is something that diverts your attention from a negative thought or action. It could be something as simple as counting to 10 when you’re feeling angry instead of acting on that anger. “When a negative emotion surfaces, our tendency is to go over the problem repeatedly and ruminate on our worries and fears,” according to Psychology Today. “Rather than improving the situation, this doubles the suffering. … Distraction breaks this cycle.”

In the medical setting, positive distractions include soothing artwork (which often depicts nature), fish tanks and even interesting floor tiles. “A glance into the tank, or at other inviting sights like art of pastoral landscapes, can provide a respite from talking about weighty issues,” the American Psychological Association says.

This easily can be accomplished in your home, too. Choose artwork and other decorations that make you feel relaxed or promote a positive mood, and avoid anything that’s too “confusing, chaotic or complex.” Surround yourself with objects that make you happy, such as family photos and keepsakes. And put away anything that reminds you of your hectic life, such as work-related items, bills and even your to-do list.

4. Grow indoor plants

Various houseplants beside a window

Houseplants can do wonders for your home. They improve your health by filtering toxins from the air and acting as natural humidifiers. Plus, research has shown being around plants can help people concentrate and improve memory. One study even found “that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress.”

To really up the healing ante, choose some of the plants that have therapeutic qualities. For instance, keep a lavender plant, whose scent is notoriously calming. Place an aloe plant in your kitchen to treat cuts and burns. Or grow peppermint to use for upset stomachs. Just be careful about toxic houseplants, especially around kids and pets.

5. Detox your space

Speaking of toxins, a truly healing home is one where you can breathe clean air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indoor air often has more pollution than what’s outside — but luckily there’s a lot you can do to remedy that.

If you’re already incorporating houseplants into your design, choose varieties that are especially good at cleaning the air, such as a spider plant or palm. And to further scrub the air, invest in an air purifier. Likewise, one of the best things you can do is open windows to let the buildup of indoor pollution vent outside.

Finally, limit the toxins you bring inside. When decorating your home, avoid items — especially new furniture — that give off VOCs (or let them off-gas outside your home). Make sure your home doesn’t have any leaks contributing to mold growth. And remove your shoes at the door, so you don’t track in germs and allergens. Then, your home can simply be an oasis to heal your body, mind and soul.

Main image credit: 2Mmedia/Thinkstock


Val P
Val P14 days ago


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson1 months ago

Thank you.

Val P
Val P1 months ago

i need more plants!

Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D1 months ago

Love this article. Have already done some of these and will consider the rest of them.

Daniel N
Daniel N1 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Amanda M
Amanda M1 months ago

Wood surfaces and light walls are things I have already. We also have a fish tank in the living room, and plants in the dining room (it faces south). However, I have two kids and a husband who don't bother to pick up after themselves (they're apparently under the delusion that the definition of "stay-at-home mom" is "unpaid maid") so the place doesn't stay clean for more than 30 seconds. And the kids' toys as well as having three cats means that shoes indoors are practically mandatory! Ever step on Legos or cat puke with bare feet? Neither is recommended!

Mike R
Mike R2 months ago


hELEN h2 months ago


Edith B
Edith B2 months ago

Spam flagged. Thanks for the info. I have the wood surfaces and the plants, just need more light.

Jenny G
Jenny G2 months ago

Thanks for the article!