May 2016
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The Color of Zen

When the day is going wrong, when work goes on too long, there’s nothing we want more than to be in our home. This is the mantra of millions of us who want to leave the stress outside when we step in through our front door.

In my work as a designer and color consultant, my client’s goals have changed from simply wanting a more beautiful space, to wanting a sanctuary. We don’t want showplaces, we want escape and comfort. Home sellers also seek that zen atmosphere because they know that buyers respond to it. It’s not about decorating a home, it’s about balancing it. It’s that feeling that you, or even a home buyer, will walk in and say “this feels right.. this feels like home.” That’s zen.

I can design a space with perfect balance — I can suggest furniture and accessories that speak to that calming retreat you want. But, it’s color that truly creates the sanctuary we crave. Color sets the mood in your home. If you’re seeking a relaxing place to unwind, your paint color choices are crucial. Starting with a balanced color palette, you can add accessories, linens, and artwork, to help you achieve that relaxed atmosphere.

There is a common misconception about zen in color and design. It doesn’t mean that you decorate in a Japanese style. Zen is a frame of mind, a feeling, and a sense that everything is balanced and “right” in your home. Many offices, restaurants, and retail spaces have embraced that philosophy. The most beautiful hotels and resorts have known this secret for years. A zen color palette is harmonious; It’s that long exhale, that everything-is-right-with-the world feeling when you walk in the door and kick off your shoes.

Try on these zen color palettes for your own personal moment of “ahhh”, at home:


Dreamy White Breathless Simplify Beige Java
MPC Color Combination Lotus

Gentle Flame

Hush Weimeraner Tamarind Rustique
MPC Color Combination Gentle Flame


White Sand Harbor Haze Nantucket Gray Tate Olive
MPC Color Combination Seascape

Perfect Morning

Flawless Grasshopper Flora Barrista
MPC Color Combination Perfect Morning

2 comments to The Color of Zen

  • Love this idea. I love the lotus color pallet.

  • These are some great suggestions for bringing that zen into your home. What I find as a designer is that people don’t look at the house color scheme as a whole. They seem to get fixated on one or two colors for a particular room. What is important to note is that we don’t just sit in one room, we experience the house and all the colors in them. To create zen, color palette is very important.

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