It’s one of those buzzy phrases designers and decorators love to throw around, but it’s got some unexpected benefits.
Research by Munich University suggests that colour of a room can impact mood – and, elsewhere, psychologists have found that elements such as sound texture, light levels, and decorative choices have a positive effect on your mental state.
It’s not just a pretty room.
With this in mind, and with some of the expert advice of my team, I’ve put together the top 3 projects – DIY and otherwise – to boost the ambience and “mood” of your home.
Whether you’re a design freak or a decorative newbie, there’s something below for all of us.
Painting a wall can actually have a huge impact on the sense of light in a room, if not the light itself.
Neutral colours, according to design expert Amy Krane, are key.
She changes up the painting in her home often. Experimenting with mixes between cream, mistral, and light greens, she suggests keeping things simple, but being bold with your decisions.
Other experts have suggested using mirrors in living spaces to expand space and reflect light throughout a room.
Dimmer switches are one way to liven up a room – or cool it down – instantly. Installed by one of our expert electricians, a dimmer switch is a simple mechanism controlling the amount of available power put into a light.
This, in turn, gives you a different lighting vibe. Dimmers control kelvin temperature – in short, light is measured in degrees of “warmth” that affect the visible spectrum on display.
This means that a “hot” light will come through in a blue shade, similar to daylight, whereas cooler kelvin temperatures are closer to the red and yellow end of the spectrum.
While it might sound counter intuitive, reds and yellows are actually the most calming colours for mood lighting.
“Light has an enormous effect on our physical and mental well-being,” claims Stanley Felderman, a designer from Culver City in California. He believes this is backed up by science: and he’s not wrong.
Cooler light – in the lower 2000k zone – has been shown to improve mood, energy, alertness and productivity, in research coordinated by the Department of Environmental Health at the Nara Women’s University in Japan.
Designers and scientists agree: dimmer switches, and controlled lighting, are a great way to manage the feel your home evokes.
While you can’t install a dimmer switch yourself, our electricians are experts in all things lighting, and can not only advise but provide on-time professional service for your installation or maintenance.
A study from the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden by architectural and environmental psychologist R Kuller claims that the
“The use of good colour design might contribute to a more positive mood,” says Kuller of the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden. He’s an environmental psychologist, specialising in lighting.
He backs this up: neuroscientists suggest this is due to the use of lighting that reflects the “regular circadian rhythms” of a 24hr period – morning, daytime, evening – that Wever studied for the Journal of Neural Transmitters in 1986.
What this all comes down to? Make decisions for you.
It might sound really basic to say this.
Decoration and design is entirely built on personal choices. A room and a house should reflect the people who live in it – your interests, hobbies, beliefs.
There’s no point hanging Japanese Edo period tapestries if you prefer French wallpaper. Seriously.
Bohemian chic and Scandinavian minimalism are both making a comeback, but are entirely personal. What I’d suggest is a combination of the two.
Shaynna Blaze from The Block suggests that having a classic base with colours and pieces that capture her attention is a great starting point.
She uses strong whites and blacks, and builds a palette on teal and navy on top – calming colours that can be used to great effect.
What Shaynna has in common with the rest of us is her emphasis on budget: using second-hand and flat-pack pieces that have been reinvented for use in a new, vibrant way.
“Upcycling” is a way to do this.
By bringing waste back into the consumption chain, designers such as William McDonough and Michael Braungart show that something seemingly useless can be recovered and transformed into a new, exciting statement.
Reverse Garbage in Marrickville has been doing this for over 40 years. Established by a group of teachers and community workers, the team run workshops on upcycling, as well as selling a great range of recycled, remade, or vintage products.
It’s a cheaper alternative to stocking up on throw rugs at Pottery Barn, that’s for sure.
It’s a global trend, too – three factories around the world, in Estonia, Bangladesh, and India, are now certified to produce mass-upcycled products.
Upgrading your design in your home should have two main goals: improving your mood, and reflecting your personality. You should never lean on classic design principles except where they specifically benefit you, and your aims for your home.
Don’t wait. Get started on your next project.
Whether it’s purely for beautification or to boost mood and productivity, your design choices are going to really make an impact on your home!