On occasion interior design can be put down as a superfluous, expensive process that isn't really worthwhile. Naturally, I disagree. Design can be an incredibly powerful tool, not only in recreating a space but also in a fashion that goes a little deeper. Design is a powerful emotive force. Textures and colours can evoke feelings; lighting can be alter your mood and together the elements that make up a design will impact the way we feel.
We all know too well that living in a cluttered, chaotic space can be incredibly stressful. A home where nothing has its place, where unnecessaries are hoarded and very quickly the entire house sky-rockets our stress levels. On the contrary, when we visit a luxury hotel, with beautiful design features and a space for everything it is usually a very enjoyable experience.
I am really interested in this idea of spaces evoking feelings and I want to break this down over a couple of posts and explore specific emotions and how to create spaces that will instil positive feelings and even better alleviate negative ones.
Within my own home, one of my key objectives is to create a space that can be an escape; one which will help me to switch off from busy work life and facilitate down time. While I don't want to live in a totally zen like spa environment, and I understand that life at home is generally pretty far from zen-like. I do however want the rooms I spend my time in to facilitate feelings of relaxation, to help my brain slow down and have the power to encourage tranquil feelings through their design. Here are a few visual, oratory and tactile cues which demonstrate how all of this can be achieved.
Flowers & greenery
Both the smell and appearance of flowers can help create a soothing, tranquil environment. I particularly love earthy greens like eucalyptus and frilly feminine petaled flowers in very soft shades, generally white. On that note, even the suggestion of flowers or an earthy smell, if its something you enjoy will be a positive, calming influence in your personal space. Never underestimate the power of smell.
Clean White Spaces
In colour psychology, the colour white has been reported to lower a range of physiological responses, such as heart rate, brain activity and retinal focus. Clean white spaces are the perfect blank canvas to highlight the best parts of a room and make your favourite features stand out.
Symbolism like water ripples, waves, lush green fields or puffy white clouds are an obvious but potentially overlooked way of bringing serenity to a room. Less is often more here - a simple suggestion of a serene scene or even a close up detail will go a lot further than elaborate or ornately detailed artwork.
A view of nature
Framing the exterior views around your home is one of the best ways to bring feeling to a space. This may mean investing some time and money in your garden, but it will be so worthwhile. Even when its too cold to use the garden, the space can be appreciated through windows and doors, which will act like frames for a natural artwork that can be admired from within.
For a space to evoke feelings of relaxation, lighting is key. Harsh, white lighting can be really unsettling and hard on the eyes after long periods of time. Dimmers are a great idea for altering light and creating a soothing, dimly lit space.
Natural light is really unbeatable though. Its an aspect of a home we often take for granted when we become used to it, but it is particularly influential in its ability to breath freshness into a space.
Calm spaces by their very nature need an approach of simplicity and a sense of discipline to decide what is most necessary to create a beautiful, uncomplicated space. This doesn't imply somewhere void of detail and beauty but rather using a subtle approach and not incorporating elements that could be over-stimulating.
So for example, using soft, neutral and muted colour palettes, keeping patterns, fabrics and artwork minimal in style but still in some way evocative, whether that be symbolically or abstractly.