We’re all spending a lot more time at home than ever before. And
let’s just say, staring at the same neutral palette all day every day
can get tiring.
“Your environment is directly linked to your mental and emotional well-being; we need our spaces to convey positive feelings to preserve it,” said Isabel Ladd of Isabel Ladd Interiors in Lexington, Kentucky.
Whether infusing bright pops, adding greenery or adjusting the lights, little tweaks can do wonders to boost your home (and your mood). Here, tips from the design pros for a home that’s happy.
“We never encourage clients to play it safe when it comes to color, pattern or art. We have a client who loves pink in all shades and put it everywhere, and she keeps telling us how glad she is that she went for it.
“Frame kids’ artwork or family photos and hang them. They will bring you joy every time you look at them—and if you think your walls are full, looking for an unexpected stretch—in your kitchen, closet or even your bathroom.
“Appreciate all those great books, antique bowls or match strikes you may have bought on a trip and put them on display.
“Paint a piece of furniture that feels boring or stale. A coat of the right color paint can really amp things up. The same applies to walls—if a room is boring, pick the happiest color you can think of or branch out and try a striped wall.”
Tones of pink create an instant lift in a home designed by Julie Massucco Kleiner.
“Wallpaper your entry, or any room you walk through often, in bright, cheerful patterned paper that makes you smile. Consider doing this in transition rooms such as foyers or hallways. Small pillows or throw blanket upgrades may not boost your mood the way your favorite wallpapers, paints or large-scale furniture will.
“Surrounding yourself with greenery adds a boost to your daily routine and fresh oxygen to your home. Pothos ivy or succulents are easy to maintain.
“Consider ambient lighting instead of direct, overhead lighting. I love working next to a lamp instead of under can lights; it creates a more calming mood. Add dimmers to lights and consider lamps with three-way bulbs, so you can control whether you want low, medium or high light.
“Declutter your home so that your surroundings feel light and you don't feel weighed down. Then, organize your things in pretty containers. An organized room, free of clutter, is easier to maintain because you'll want to prolong the feeling it gives you.”
Yellow printed wallpaper immediately creates a sunny impression in a foyer designed by Isabel Ladd.
“Bold coloring can really create drama. For a project at Chelsea Waterfront, we used a joinery piece in the reception area to create drama with the use of blue tones and gold leaf ginkgo leaves. This statement piece pops but also gives considered elegance to a very bright space.
“Lighting is fundamental in any interior. For example, think of disco lights; how do you feel in that setting? Now compare it with the soft glow of a burning candle. Two extremes, but immediately you see the difference in the mood.”
“Think about the light levels in the room, how you are going to use the space and whether you are someone who gets bored easily. In this case, it might not be worth investing heavily in bright colors or recreating something seen on Instagram. Bright colors work really well for stimulating some people's moods, but others can find them distracting.
“If you are nervous about color, try layering items. Although white, gray and beige may be considered boring, you can create an interesting and comforting environment by layering high-quality materials and natural textures.
“It's also good to layer lighting and have different options for light levels. Access to natural light is the starting point, but in the depth of winter there isn't much around. Combine bright overhead task lighting with lamps and pendants to draw attention to specific areas of your home. “
Designed by Sam McNally, a forgotten corner gets a poppy lift with bold, bright artwork.
“Color is a great way to boost the mood as it is so inextricably linked to the senses. For example, yellow is proven to make us feel happy, while blue is thought to stimulate and calm the mind, with green bringing greater harmony and reducing anxiety.
“Pick where you use color carefully. Yellow, for example, is great for a pop to a chair or cushion but you might not necessarily paint a whole room yellow. Dark blues and greens can highlight architectural features such as alcoves and architraves as they immediately draw the eye, showcasing these details, and can also help turn an otherwise awkward space into a statement. Bright colors also work well in areas like stairwells that need a bit of lift. We recently introduced a bright red wall into a kitchen which lifted the entire space and gave it a sense of character and warmth.
“Having a regular clean out is a great way to keep calm and ensure the home continues to work in the most positive way for you.”
playful headboard and bold pillows add sense of playful sophistication to a bedroom designed by Ed O'Donnell.
Asked what he thought of Western civilization, Mahatma Gandhi famously replied, “I think that would be a good idea.”