How the Simplest of Interior Choices Affect Your Mood.
Top Image Credit. Alta Floor.
Your home, your haven, what is it about your home that makes it so for you?
This is not about high end design, nor about certain trends, but about the little things that make your heart sing, as you walk into a room, or through your front door. It’s about expressing your emotions through your decor and the things you collect, adding personality and individuality to your home, that make it yours. Make you feel home.
Perhaps, like me, you are a collector of things, vintage items you scour charity shops or vintage fairs for, the love of finding just the right item for your home, and then taking it back and adding it to you burgeoning collection. Perhaps, it is the creation of a little vignette of items that only you own, because while it contains shop bought items, it also contains little memories, things you treasure, be it family heirlooms or vintage finds. Perhaps, it is collections of collections, your history expressed in your home.
Perhaps, it is that item of furniture you bought for a fiver and lovingly restored back to its original glory. Perhaps, it’s a bit of DIY you are particularly proud of, even if it is not perfect. Perhaps, you have been bolder with colour, and despite what friends think, you are proud of your efforts, because you know it fits you perfectly.
Perhaps, it is the simple things like an open fire, a vase of beautiful flowers on a table or your plant collection, you lovingly care for. Perhaps, it is a mismatched set of crockery, because you love to cook and set out a beautiful table. Perhaps, it is as simple as decluttering your cupboards, or a tidy room.
I’d argue it is the simple things we love and surround ourselves with, the creativity we bring to our homes, that can balance us, that can bring us happiness in our homes, that can create a relaxing environment or whatever other type of feeling you want to create in your home. It doesn’t have to be expensive to bring joy to our homes, the smallest addition, if it means something to you, is enough.
I’d argue in all of the above, each of us finds our creative outlet, our passion for our home and our interiors, and for some of us, this creativity is much needed. Perhaps, to help us when something is happening in our lives, that makes us sad or stressed, or even just a way of switching off after a hard day with the kids, or at work.
So, let’s look at some of the ways you could add happiness (and evoke other emotions) and creativity to your home.
This isn’t intended to be all encompassing, as each of us is individual and our needs and emotions are different. What works for one person will not work for another. It is intended to give some thoughts and guidance so that you can work out what works for you.
Colour is very personal to each and everyone of us. The way our brain perceives colour is different from one person to the next and one person’s favourite colour will possible send another person running for cover. Just think about the light and dark debate. Those of us who love dark, moody colours with a passion, cannot imagine having white walls, our colours are cosy to us, they allow us to relax. For those who like white walls, the darkside can be oppressive and restrictive. BUT, what matters, is only what you and your family think, what creates the right environment for you.
Can you remember when you saw a rainbow as a kid and it brought you great joy?
That’s because the colours stir something inside of us.
There is a whole movement of colour psychology looking at how colour affects us as humans, creates emotions in us, that you might find surprising. I will touch on different colours and decorating with them in your home, in another series of blog posts, but let’s just look at the overall ways in which bringing colour into your home, can affect your mood and bring happiness or tranquility, passion or alertness, for example.
The happiest and most cheerful colour is YELLOW (and orange). It is associated with joy, energy, produces a warming effect, stimulates mental attention and grabs attention (think New York Taxi cabs). If you wanted a happy home, then decorating it entirely yellow, should create that for you. But would it? Perhaps, you don’t like yellow, perhaps the thought of yellow walls brings horror to you.
See what I mean about it being personal?
For me, adding touches of yellow to my home, be it a throw on the bed, or my sofa, lifts my rooms, but that is sufficient for me, sufficient to bring a little bit of uplifting colour to my environment. You will see a small cushion in the image below, has lifted the green room, above a striking yellow carpet lifts the otherwise blue room.
GREEN, the colour of nature can be tranquil, calming. It symbolises growth, fertility, freshness. It can also be associated with greed, jealousy and in interiors, if used incorrectly it can be bland.
I love green, be it a touch of velvet in my otherwise neutral living room, to my “all out” dark green panelled bedroom. I suppose, subconsciously, green creates that haven at home for me, the relaxing environment I require after a long day travelling or long hours at work. My happiness.
Green can also protrude confidence and intelligence, see an assessment here, and perhaps that is why I’ve chosen it as a dominant colour in my study?
BLUE. Light blue is the color most linked to creativity. Sky blue is the most calming shade of blue that helps a person relax and is also a color that inspires safety and serenity. Dark blue is the shade that is associated with intelligence and lack of emotion. WHITE symbolises a freshness, a purity, sometimes a new beginning.
I could go on……..I will eventually, but the point of this section of the post is to show you how bringing colour into your home, can enhance your mood, can be uplifting or relaxing or stimulating and giving some thought to how you want a room to feel for you, will allow you to get decorating right, for you.
A History to your Home and its Objects
Not everyone likes vintage items, granted. However, many of us love the history that a collection of vintage items brings to our home. The patina of aged wood, against a dark wall, midcentury furniture and lighting in a beautiful white room, the love of scouring a vintage fair and finding just the right item to add to our home, or perhaps just finding something we love and then finding a home for it, even if we have to re-arrange what we currently have to make it fit. The uniqueness we create by having something that no-one else can pop out to buy, something solid, that has stood the test of time. The mixing of old and new to create something different. The talking point it creates when someone pops in to visit and ask where on earth did you find it, the stimulation of a conversation.
Pulling together a vignette of mixed items to create something unique is incredibly satisfying and a huge creative outlet for so many of us, and those of us who do this regularly, know the joy we get from creating something visual from mismatched items. From changing thing up, sometimes again and again, until we get it right.
I’d also argue that for many, up-cycling has a similar effect, the satisfaction in buying something solid, something a bit unloved and creating a whole new piece of furniture from scratch brings happiness into your home. This is how I got started in interiors, as an impoverished student, bidding on unloved items of furniture, often for a few quid, winning and then taking them home and spending hours, sanding and painting and waxing them back to life. Whenever I look back at those items, (because I still have so many of them in my home) I feel happiness, it holds memories for me. I also learned a new skill.
As humans, light is incredibly important to our well-being and happiness, as direct light can affect our circadian rhythms; the way we wake up and go to sleep, even jet lag.
Yet, most of us give very little thought to light, unless it affects us directly, such as experiencing SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in winter or if we suffer from sleep problems.
But, do you smile on a sunny day?
Do you feel more stimulated, perhaps a bit wired, after a day under bright office lights or in a shopping centre?
Yes, that will be the affect of light on your mood.
And, if we are considering how to create a mood in our homes, how our emotions come into play, then lighting our homes has to play a big part.
There is much evidence for natural light playing a role in our happiness, and that it can aid illness and depression. Getting as much daylight into our home is going to be the best way of increasing happiness in our rooms, granted not always easy on dark winter days. But, I’d encourage you to think about how you can get more light into your homes. Perhaps, if renovating, consider the number of windows you can have, can you added glazed doors?, or if not, how many window dressings cover your windows and by how much? Can you open your curtains more? Simple changes make all the difference.
Did you know light can affect your appetite? How quickly you eat and how much you consume?
Dark candlelight means you eat slower and consume less, and so having a darker dining room, filled with candles is going to aid your waistline. Conversely, a bright white room filled with light, means you may consume more.
Dark and moody lighting aids relaxation. In the above example, probably meaning we are less likely to wolf down our food, but on an evening relaxing in front of the fire, overhead lights just aren’t going to create the ambience you are looking for if you want to relax. Here, you need to look at task lighting, perhaps a reading light, candles or a number of table lamps scattered around the room.
In our house, our light switches are constantly being pressed, on and off. Why? My husband and the kids enter a room, and the bright overhead lights immediately go on, even if they are simply reading on the sofa. When I enter a room, the immediately go off. I can’t stand the harsh light when I’m trying to relax. I need ambience and a certain cosiness, that overhead lights just will not bring this to a room.
And, when I’m working I need to be stimulated. A desk under a window of natural light plus overhead lights on. As I’m reaching the end of the day, I use wall lights near my desk to bring down the lighting, to help me gear up for switching off and not being totally wired at the end of the day.
Remember the rule about no TVs and devices in your bedroom? How many of us still stimulate ourselves just before sleep with light? Perhaps not a problem for many of us, too exhausted from working and juggling kids, but for those with sleep problems, lighting before bed, is hugely important.
The Details. The Little Things that Bring Joy into Your Home.
Plants have a huge effect on our home environment from cleaning the air; they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, to bringing the outside in, bringing nature into our homes. They can add texture and colour to a room and are a simple way to update a room scheme. For some, a huge plant collection, creating cuttings and growing more, is deeply rewarding. Looking after nature, such as gardening, I’d argue indoor gardening too, is known to have a positive effect on illness, even depression.
Image Credit: The Fresh Flower Company and The Joy of Plants.
I won’t dwell too much on having plants in our home, you can read all about the best air cleaning plants here, but needless to say they are a much loved addition to the modern home.
Flowers. who doesn’t love a fresh bunch of flowers? A cheerful colour pop to your dining room table and mantlepiece? I utilise flowers often, in styling, but I also keep a lot of faux flowers in my home (because I travel so much I like the practicality of them). Faux flowers are now very realistic too.
If you can’t afford to buy flowers but love them, pop out with a pair of secateurs and see what you can find in your own garden. I’ve been known to grow my favourite indoor flowers, outside; hydrangeas and eucalyptus, for those occasions when I just fancy brightening a room.
For some of us, a cheerful cushion, some mismatched tableware, a cosy woollen throw, a pile of coffee table books and magazines to flick through, pictures of our family, art we have collected which adorns our walls, simple little additions to out homes, are what makes us happy.
So, I can’t possibly hope to cover everything that makes each of us happy in our homes, but I hope I have given you some “food for thought”, a different way of thinking about our homes, imperfect as they are, on what might make you happy, might stir your emotions, might give you renewed vigour in your home. Might get you thinking about what makes home yours.
I’d love to hear about what it is that makes you happy in your home, what stirs your creativity in the comments below
The Girl with The Green Sofa