Design Expert: Mood Makers
How colour and decor styles can change the feeling in a space
A home’s decor affects your mood. Why do you sit up so straight in some rooms and feel like you can put your feet up in others? Some of that has to do with furniture but mainly, colour and lighting create the mood in your home. Dimmers allow you to control and alter the mood in a space.
STRIKE A BALANCE
People often refer to deep colours being “dark,” however, dark really refers to the amount of light in a room vs. the colour on the walls. When the wall colour is deep and rich, it absorbs more light than colours like white or light pastels. The more light absorbed, the more we feel a sense of sonority and sombreness in the room. We refer to moods as “beaming with happiness,” or feeling “bright, up and happy,” all of which use “light” to describe mood. Conversely, we talk of “dark times” feeling “gloomy” or travelling with a “dark cloud.” The combination of paint colour, the quantity of light and the colour of the light can create feelings from danger to productivity, medical sterility to romance, intimacy and safety.
Have you ever wondered why most homes have white ceilings, warmer coloured walls and darker hardwood floors? This combination is the one that makes people feel most comfortable. It’s the same combination as the sky, the trees and the earth, as you walk through a forest. Once you know that rule, you can start to play with it by having painted ceilings, light-wood floors, etc. These combinations change the mood of the room because it is different than normal. Very deep colours on the walls also create a feeling of intimacy and sonority because the walls feel closer to you. The deep colours absorb most of the light. Without getting into the physics, the room feels more like “night” and we lose our ability to fully determine the dimensions of the room.
In order to play with mood, we adjust the amount of light and the light’s colour temperature. We are all now familiar with the labels on light bulbs that say “warm white, soft white, daylight” etc. These words refer to the colour temperature measured in “degrees Kelvin” All you really need to know is that the lower the number, the “warmer” the colour. 2700-3000 is normal residential light while 5000K is more suited to jewelry stores and museums. The warmer the light the more like a “candle” it is. If the lighting is low, the more intimate the room feels. A kitchen, for example, needs to go from “meal preparation work space” to “romantic dinner date.” This is why most designers insist on dimmers everywhere. The dimmers allow you to alter the mood, by altering the light.
Everyone has a slightly different response to colour and light. It’s important you organize the lighting plan for your home to make sure there is light on every square foot of the floor, and then you can play with the mood to suit the people in the room.
DRAW THE EYE TO ART
The light and wall colour also allow us to feature works of art that adorn the walls. A white wall with white painting is very subtle, while a black painting on a white wall is very dramatic. The lighting plan allows you to feature the art in the room by adding specific “art lights.” Essentially, the lighting plan tells people entering the room where to look first by providing that element with more light. The featured art or sculpture also affects the mood of the room. Think about your mood when you look at art that is bright coloured and “cartoon-like” vs. a battlefield as night falls. Art is an expression of the artist to evoke a feeling or mood.
You can play with colour, art accessories and light level throughout the year and stay in control of the mood your home evokes. If nature is affecting your mood outside, you can control your mood once you come inside!
Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner