How to "hush the home" with paint – the decorating trick designers use for more relaxing, minimalist spaces

Hushing the home is all about creating a calming, pared-back space where the colors, shapes, and materials in our home can sing

lime washed sitting room in terracotta with pink sofa, and natural colored artworks
(Image credit: John Merkl. Design: de la Cruz Interior Design)

Ever wondered how designers manage to make spaces look effortlessly calming? Do you want the kind of home that feels like a warm hug every time you step foot across the threshold? 'Hushing the home' is the trick you want to know about, and choosing the right paint color for your walls is the first step to achieving this comforting vibe.

Originating in the realm of organization, hushing the home involves stripping back clutter in order to let the colors, shapes, and materials in our homes sing, particularly those that bring us comfort. It's all about embracing a less-is-more mentality when it comes to our decor while maintaining warmth and coziness through color and texture. 

'Using the "hushing the home" method offers the perfect opportunity to start afresh and declutter your home to help improve your well-being,' says Helen Shaw, color expert and Director of Marketing at Benjamin Moore. 'Not only does this give you an empty room to paint, making the job a whole lot easier, but means you can choose a color to support the notion of total relaxation.' Ready to apply this calming philosophy to your paint ideas? Here's how.

What is 'hushing the home'?

Inspired by the decluttering method of the same name, hushing the home is all about minimizing the 'loudness' of visual clutter that accumulates over time by paring things back to basics. It's about developing a more intentional approach to your decor, helping you cultivate a healthy relationship with the stuff you own. 

As the foundation of our rooms, the colors on our walls play a huge role in this idea. 'Hushing your home can be described as decluttering and creating a peaceful and serene environment that doesn’t feel overwhelming or stressful,' explains Tash Bradley, color expert at Lick. 'When it comes to decorating, it’s about focusing on using one color per room, which includes both walls and woodwork. This ‘hushes’ your interiors rather than creating a busy environment that distracts the eye from the key focal points of the room.' 

Tips for hushing the home with paint

1. Color drench your space

A living room painted pink with a small cream loveseat

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Whatever color you choose, that color doesn't have to stop at the walls alone. For ultimate relaxation, consider painting your ceiling and walls the same color for a cocooning feel, and include any woodwork and door trim, too. 

'When hushing your home, it’s a great idea to paint your walls and woodwork in one color to create a less distracting space for the eye,' says Tash. 'This painting technique is known as color drenching. It allows you to create the perfect backdrop to build out the rest of your interiors by naturally drawing the eye to the artwork, sofa, and any other key pieces in the room.' 

2. Opt for calming shades

A living room painted green with two bamboo chairs

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Of course, if you're looking to create a calm, 'quietened' space, be sure to choose shades that are conducive to that. Neutral color schemes are great for creating a relaxed atmosphere, but color needn't be out of the question either. Pastel shades or earthy colors with grey undertones are all wonderfully calming, especially when used with a color-drenching technique.

'Opting for light pastels such as soft pinks, sky blues or sage green creates a strong sense of calm and serenity due to their association with the peaceful natural environment,' explains Helen from Benjamin Moore. 'Use these shades in a floor-to-ceiling color drenching style to fully immerse yourself in the color, and don’t be afraid to paint the ceiling. For a more subtle approach, combine with crisp whites and natural textures to create a smart Scandi-style interior scheme.' 

3. Avoid saturated shades

A pastel toned floor

(Image credit: Purple Backyard)

On the flip side, avoid over-saturated tones and invigorating colors that have a bolder, bright feel about them. While pops of color can still make a great addition to a hushed room, colors that make you feel happy and energetic should be used sparingly if you really want to play into this calming design idea.

As Tash explains: 'Avoid any colors with a high saturation, such as bright reds, yellows and blues, as the high saturation will overwhelm the space. Clashing colors and maximalist design is the opposite of hushing your home, which we want to avoid. Instead, focus on calm and earthy tones to create that serene space.'

4. Give furnishings room to breathe

A white and grey bedroom with yellow accent chair

(Image credit: Adrian Gaut. Design by Studio Zung)

Last but not least, don't forget the origins of 'hushing the home' as a concept. Keep your space organized and clutter-free - a minimalism in interior design will give your furnishings room to breathe and your chosen color a chance to sing. 

'Hushing your home means adopting a more minimalist approach to living,' says Tash. 'Although ‘minimal’ may trigger associations of restrictive living or dull decor, hushing your home in practice offers the complete opposite – it gives furnishings room to breathe and shine. Hushing is working out what you love most about the items in your home and working out which ones you want to keep and which ones to rehome. This creates a minimalist but curated space that reflects you and your personality.'

'Anecdotally, at least, it’s true that a cluttered home creates a cluttered mind,' she adds. 'A hushed home, by contrast, helps to hush a busy mind and help you switch off.' 

Our favorite shades for hushing the home

Lilith Hudson
News Editor

Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.