Top Tips for a Happier Home.
American businesswoman Iris Apfel viewed personal style as a way to create intrigue, once stating “great personal style is an extreme curiosity about yourself.”
Style goes beyond the clothes we wear and the hairstyles we choose. Personal style also is reflected in the way in which we choose to decorate our homes, whether we live in 2,500 square-foot house or a one-bedroom high-rise apartment.
The last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about the downsizing process in regards to planning for the move, including tips for self-movers and those who planned to hired professionals to assist. This week, we’re going to explore the idea of decorating your space to reflect your style and your passion. We’ll include ideas from choosing your colors to the placement of furniture and other accessories.
Color Me This, Color Me That
Choosing colors that reflect your mood is a very important part of the decorating process. If you’re going for a total makeover of your living space, then the first step is to create a color palette.
Want your home to feel calm and relaxed? Choose colors such as dark gray-blue, soft gray, soft neutral green or even lavender to achieve this look and feel. If you decide to go with a darker gray-blue color, be sure to help draw light into the room by including white elements. Painting the ceiling and any trim a bright white, and dressing the room up with white drapes, can accomplish this goal. Failing to bring a little bit of light into a room this dark can have the opposite effect, making guests feel depressed instead of calm and relaxed.
Have an outgoing personality and want your main living space to reflect it? As a general rule, the brighter the color the better. Bright yellows, light limes, and even a pumpkin spice/burnt orange all fit the bill. Other colors that exude an outgoing personality are teal, terra cotta, forest green, citrus, and rose. Not sure you want to make your main living space quite that jazzy? Consider an eggplant or seafoam green color instead.
If your space is smaller, and you want to help open it up, the right colors are your best tool. As a general rule, the smaller the space, the brighter the tones should be to help create the illusion of a bigger area. Yellows and eggshell shades are perfect for achieving this goal.
For those who may be moving to an apartment complex or senior living community that may not allow residents to change wall colors, neutral colors such as white can be dressed up by including accessories in the room that amplify them. Using matte colors in bedding, curtains and other accessories can help absorb some of the light reflected by neutral wall colors, making the room more interesting.
Front and Center
Investment pieces, such as large pieces of furniture or expensive antiques, should always be placed front and center in any room.
For example, in the living room, it is important to arrange the largest pieces of furniture first, followed by tables and accessories. Wall art and other wall accessories should be saved for last. If you have an antique lamp, make sure it is displayed in an area of the room where it will not only be seen but also frequently used.
Interested in faking a room’s dimensions? To make a room appear to have a higher ceiling than it does, use strong paint colors and arrange furniture in a way that will emphasize the vertical aspects of the room. For instance, creating an accent wall – one wall in a room, generally a horizontal wall, that is a different color than the rest of the walls in the room – can help achieve the illusion of length. Pairing an accent wall with lower-backed furniture can also help to create the illusion of higher ceilings.
Look to the Ceiling
Whether creating a warm and inviting feel – or a calming and relaxing mood – don’t forget to look up before you finish off your room.
According to Psychology Today, light has a tangible effect on one’s mood. When most people are asked to think of a happy, calm place, that place rarely ends up being a dark, dank basement devoid of light. Conversely, a room that is overly bright – especially when the light comes from a harsh source such as fluorescent overhead lighting – it can be equally distressing and unpleasant.
Before finishing off any room, make sure the style you are hoping to convey is supported by your choice of lighting. Warm lights, such as those produced by candles and wall sconces, are ideal for social, relaxed atmospheres. Some rooms, such as the kitchen, would benefit from brighter, overhead lighting or even track lighting. And while natural light – especially in rooms with large windows – is great for mood, it can backfire when creating a welcoming feel if it reflects off surfaces in the room and creates too much of a glare.
The Nose Knows
Finally, whether decorating a large home or a studio apartment, think about the things that help you to feel welcome in someone else’s home. One of the first things guests notice when walking into a space is how it smells, followed by how it looks. Our olfactory senses are powerful and can draw our attention away from even the nicest looking room.
In addition to keeping your home clean and organized (which can go a long way in reducing unwanted odors), scented candles and essential oil diffusers are among the best ways to help create a pleasant smell in your space. Studies have shown that human moods are affected by scents. Lavender is associated with calming and often is used to help people fall asleep. Lemon and orange – or other citrus scents – can be invigorating.
If you choose to use airborne scents to help set the mood in your home, just be careful not to overdo it. Many people suffer from nasal allergies and can be triggered by strong smells. As a general rule, even the most pleasant scent can be overwhelming if too much of it is spread in a confined space.
Have some tips you’d like to share with us about creating your ideal space? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.