The spaces we occupy are not just for sleeping or shelter– How you design a space is how it affects you.
They shape how you feel, inducing a sense of warmth and safety and impacting how you act. They tell a story about who you are.
Most of us recognise this intrinsically when it comes to other people’s spaces – you might walk into a friend’s house and suddenly feel trapped and claustrophobic, or perhaps you avoid a particular café because every time you go there, the lighting makes you feel lethargic and depressed. You can sense that space is affecting you.
But because we’re there every day, we can become immune to our own spaces’ or the spaces we create for others’ effect on us, so it can be a lot harder to identify how a space affects your mood and if it’s harming you.
To discuss this further, I thought I would pose some commonly asked questions and give my opinion.
‘How can I tell if my home has a positive or negative effect on me?’
My first thought with this question is, how do you feel when you walk into one of the spaces in your home?
If you feel any adverse reactions, this is an instant indication of your ability to sense the energy and feel of a room.
Reading energy in a space is one of my all-time favourite things. I can immediately sense whether the room has a good energy vibe. Some of you may struggle with this, which is also absolutely fine. You can be thankful that you have other unique talents.
‘I’d like to invite more positive energy into my home. What’s a simple way to do this?’
If you find you cannot gauge whether a room has a positive or negative feeling, then there are a couple of quick checks you could look at:
Look at how much light the room is getting. If the lighting is dull and has a stagnant feel, then you need to make this your No.1 starting point. Overhead lighting is a sure way to kill the ambience in a room. Introduce some table lamps for low-level light. Make sure heavy drapes do not cover up the windows.
Look at the layout of your furniture. Have you pushed your sofas against the walls, preventing you from getting that light and airy feel?
Heavy-looking furniture can give that oppressive, heavy feeling. If you have larger pieces of furniture, look at the colour of the upholstery as a way to introduce a lighter look and feel.
Adding a fresh bunch of flowers will bring an instant surge of positive energy into your room. This is my all-time favourite quick fix.
‘It’s unrealistic for me to move or do any drastic renovations. How can I minimize the toxic effects of my home?’
I would first establish your budget.
Then I would have a look through the following checklist to ascertain which of the following, if not all, you can do:
- Paint out the interior walls in a light neutral colour
- If you have wooden skirtings, architraves, windows, and doors, I will look to paint these.
- Take down dated or dirty-looking window coverings and visit your local retail furnishings store to find some ready-made wooden Venetian blinds or neutral drapes to give your home that instant wow feel.
- If you are stuck with dated tiles in your bathrooms and kitchen, look to paint these white. Some great products do not cost a fortune and will make your home look much brighter.
Flooring can be a hard one.
If you have old carpets or tiles, you can do either of the following:
- Remove the old carpets and replace them with an inexpensive cheaper option in a colour that works.
- Alternatively, I would take a trip to a flooring company and look at their laminate wooden floorboards. These are inexpensive and easy to fit over existing flooring.
- Lastly, lighting can be updated relatively inexpensively by ensuring you have the correct light bulbs. I would stay clear of fluorescent bulbs as they cast a harsh light. Invest in bulbs that look attractive and cast a warm glow. If your fittings were ugly and your budget permits, I would replace them with inexpensive, simple ones with a more updated look and feel. Always stay with something that is simple and elegant where possible.