Colour is the obvious thing we think about when we talk about
mood in interior design. However, light is equally important in the way
we feel from day to day, particularly if we live in a cool climate with short summers and
the long grey days of winter to endure. Do try and maximise the amount of natural light
that comes into a room. As the sun moves around the house it will change the atmosphere in
each room. A bright sunny room in the morning will look completely different in the early
evening. Think about how light affects you and use it to your advantage. It may well be
that you feel at your most comfortable in a sitting room on a winter evening with lots of
subdued artificial light and a fire blazing in the hearth!
You should consider how to use artificial light as well as
natural light and, where possible, should try to have it coming from more than one source
or direction. Consider centre lights i.e. chandeliers and pendants, low voltage
halogen down lighters, table lamps and up lighters. Dimmers are also very useful, as most
lighting is more effective when dimmed slightly. Artificial lighting
in rooms in which you cook or wash should be somewhat stronger. Kitchens, for example,
often benefit from down lighters focused on the vertical surfaces.
TIP: Keep the
lighting softer in rooms you live in most, with 'task lighting' for added direct
light when required (see examples above).
Modern lighting works equally well in traditional settings,
as long as the fittings are concealed as much as possible. Traditional fittings, lanterns,
wall sconces and table tamps can then be used for atmosphere.
Bathrooms need to be bright and light and not too fussy.
Aim to keep them clean and simple for maximum effect. I personally prefer to see an all
white bathroom suite, with colour being introduced in bright towels and accessories and
finished off with a fairly minimalist window treatment.
TIP: For artificial
lighting, low voltage halogen spots will make already shiny tiles positively glisten at
any time of the day.
Making the best of what you have
Trying too hard to change the mood of a room is not always
successful. If it is dark, dont exhaust yourself by trying to make it too light or
vice versa. Homes should have rooms with different feels, that is part of their appeal.
Sometimes it is best to try and live with what you have and work at enhancing it rather
than changing it!
When considering mood, if you think about the five
senses you will not go far wrong!
Sight - colour, pattern, light etc.
Touch - texture and the feel of hard and soft surfaces
- sounds from music, a ticking clock, running water etc.
Taste - a bowl of interesting nibbles, the smell of brewing coffee or a box
of your favourite chocolates!
Smell - a vase of fragrant flowers, a scented candle or a discreet pot
pourri, or the smell of a burning log fire