How to Create a Sensory Room for Stress Relief and Calm

Published on June 28, 2024
A bright room that relieves stress and instills calmness.

Have you ever considered how our physical surroundings shape our feelings about ourselves
and others? How a lack of natural light can (negatively) impact our well-being? You’ve
probably considered all of this but haven’t taken steps to change your environment. To
inspire you to create a sanctuary of your own at home, today we’ll show you how to design a
sensory room for stress relief and calm. Stay tuned to learn how to transform your space into
a serene retreat that promotes relaxation and peace. With a few thoughtful changes, you can
make your home a place of tranquility.

What is a sensory room?

According to Edutopia, a sensory room is a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that
enhances a person's senses through, among other things, special lighting, soothing music, and
engaging objects. This environment helps children relax and concentrate, making them better
prepared for learning and social interactions. Sensory rooms are versatile and can be used for
prevention, crisis de-escalation, and various therapeutic activities. Their main purpose is to
promote self-care, compassion, resilience, and recovery and offer a serene retreat where
individuals can relax and rejuvenate.

Often used in (but not limited to) therapy for children with communication issues, spectrum
disorders, sensory processing issues, or conditions like OCD, these rooms serve a broader
purpose. They create a safe, calming environment that helps with self-organization and
positive change.

In addition, sensory rooms offer both kids and adults with OCD or other abovementioned
conditions a structured, calming environment that reduces anxiety through soothing sensory
experiences and structured activities. Of course, while highly beneficial, a sensory room
shouldn’t be the only tool to rely on, especially in more dire cases. It’s very important to
recognize symptoms of OCD on time and treat them with the help of a professional for the
best results.

Dominoes on a black background.
Sensory rooms provide valuable structure and relief for individuals struggling with OCD.

How to create a sensory room for stress relief and calm

A sensory room can be valuable for emotional and mental well-being with the right design.
That’s where we come in: we'll show you how to design your space carefully and
thoughtfully. We'll also explore how to subtly give your entire home the calming feel of a
sensory room without making it obvious, and you’ll learn how to transform your home into a
serene and soothing environment subtly.

Opt for natural lighting

Natural lighting in a sensory room can relieve stress and promote calm. Our suggestion: pair
natural light with neutral-colored curtains. That way, you can create an atmosphere that
fosters a sense of tranquility. Many homes suffer from a lack of natural light, have rooms
with zero windows, etc. To counter this, ensure that natural light reaches every corner of your
home, not just the designated relaxation space. Windows are your best ally, so always find
ways to let in as much natural light as possible. This simple yet effective approach can
transform your home into a more peaceful and inviting sanctuary.

If bringing natural light into every corner of your home isn't possible, ensure that your
sensory room – in other words, the main relaxation space – receives ample natural light.

Color green to the rescue! (nature’s tranquilizer)

Adding plants can significantly boost the relaxation appeal of any room. The color green –
nature’s tranquilizer – soothes both body and soul. There's a reason for the saying, "Green
rests the eyes." Just think about how we react to lush outdoor locations and associate this
color with peaceful moments in nature. Incorporating greenery into your space enhances its
aesthetic appeal and creates a calming environment. Plants help purify the air, reduce stress,
and promote well-being. So, bring the tranquility of the outdoors inside and transform your
home into a serene retreat.

Just don’t forget to water your plants now and then, depending on their individual needs.

Leaves of a plant.
Adding some plants to your chill-out zone will make a big difference.

How about some music?

Transform your sensory room into an audiophile's retreat with top-notch musical equipment
and relaxing ambient tunes. Music and sound play a crucial role in enhancing the calming
atmosphere of a sensory room. In truth, according to a study by the American Music Therapy
, music has been shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels, making
it an ideal addition to any relaxation space. So, whether you prefer soothing ambient music
(our suggestion: Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon), 90s soul, or jazzy hip-hop, the right
soundtrack can significantly aid in relaxation. Also, consider incorporating white noise to
help unwind further.

Soundproofing the room (using solid curtains, thick rugs, or egg cartons) can help reduce
outside noise and further enhance the peaceful environment, making your sensory room a true
sanctuary for the senses.

Additional ideas to enhance your relaxation space

In addition to the basic tips mentioned above, we'd like to introduce some additional ideas for
creating a sensory room for stress relief and calm.

Add some bean bag chairs to your chill-out space

Bean bag chairs provide a cozy and secure seating option many love for comfort. With
various sizes and materials, finding one that suits your chill-out space the most is easy.

A person sitting in a bean bag.
Bean bags are everyone’s favorite seating option.

Talking about furniture…

Besides bean bag chairs, which we've already mentioned, consider choosing soft, plush chairs
and sofas for relaxation, and include floor cushions for interactive sensory play. Ensure all
furniture has rounded edges for safety, and select sturdy tables and desks at appropriate
heights, with adjustable options if needed. Add shelves or cabinets for storing sensory toys
and equipment, keeping everything organized and easily accessible. This approach ensures
your chill-out space is cozy, safe, and functional for everyone.

Bubble wall panels

You can empower your chill-out zone by adding bubble wall panels. These panels are known
for their soothing qualities, which many people nowadays appreciate. These panels create a
calming ambiance with gentle bubbles and soft lighting, making them a popular choice for relaxation spaces. Incorporating bubble wall panels adds a serene visual element and contributes to a peaceful atmosphere where you can unwind and destress effortlessly.


To summarize, you can do much to create and enhance your sensory room for stress relief
and calm. Whether you make the most of natural lighting, incorporate greenery in various
plants, or add stylish furniture like bubble wall panels, the key is designating a place to let go
of your troubles and dark thoughts and completely relax.

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