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Getting your Home Ambiance Right

From contemporary kitchens to cozy lounges, your enjoyment of the space hinges on your ability to create the right ambiance. From pendant lights to cozy furnishings at the dining table, adding the softer touches to your interior design can help to create a room with character, atmosphere and a mood.


Totally textured

Incorporating texture into your room doesn’t have to mean using just one type. In fact, if you’re looking to achieve an informal, cozy setting, then steer clear of a regimented list of restricted textures and you’ll find textures that marry well irrespective of their feel or material. Mirrors and glass objects are a good accent to any texture. To create a broody feel, consider rich, dark veneers. For a softer touch, incorporate silk upholstery, velvet floor-length curtains and hints of aged brass and copper.

A splash of colour

Feelings have long been associated with colours, and as such, they can influence our mood. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right colour for space.

First, consider the size of your room. If your kitchen is small, you’ll want the space to be bright and airy so you might opt for predominately lighter shades for the walls or cabinetry. That way, cooking need not be a dark and isolating experience. A restricted pale palette also makes for a sleek aesthetic that can be personalized with splashes of colour and will have you staying on-trend for 2018. Ideal Home has aptly named this the ‘Unicorn-inspired’ trend featuring pale blues and pinks, personalized with glinting bronze and metal.

Because of their larger size, bigger, open-plan kitchens work well with darker colours that don’t impact on how large they feel. Dark blue cabinets, as House Beautiful has predicted, are set to be the most popular colour choice this year for modern kitchens. The second thing you’ll need to consider is the lighting in each room, so, consider where and how natural light may shine. The personal palette will vary from client to client and it is important for kitchen designers and interior designers alike to use their expertise to help their clients make informed choices about colour schemes. The option of hand-painted cabinetry allows you to experiment with changing trends but also gives you an authentic texture on the wood that you simply can’t achieve with a spray-paint finish.

Before you start slapping paint samples on the wall, take inspiration from magazines or use sites like Pinterest to make a digital mood board. When pulling together ideas, keep a few questions in mind, such as: How do I want to use this space? What impact will lighting have on these colours? Or What is the psychology of this colour? The kitchen or living room (usually whichever is the biggest room in the home) is the best place to start, as these are likely to be your most centrally located rooms and all other palettes branch off from here. Paint this larger room in a bold colour, and work around the home, either complementing the first shade, contrasting it or matching it with a soft, neutral hue.

The feelings associated with particular colours are as follows:

  • Pink: connotations of love and peace — suited to a restful space in the home, such as the bedroom.
  • Red: connotations of passion and danger — suited to a warm, sociable environment, such as the dining room.
  • Orange: connotations of stability — suited to a lively space in the home, such as the living or dining room.
  • Yellow: a warm and positive colour — suited to a bright and lively space, such as the kitchen or dining room.
  • Green: a calming colour resembling nature — suited to a restful space, such as the bedroom or living room.
  • Blue: a calm, soothing colour — suited to a cool and relaxing space, such as the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.
  • White: a bright colour opening up space — suited to a light and airy environments, such as the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.

Light it up

Lighting can have a significant impact on your space and the vibes it gives off. Different rooms around the home require different styles of lighting due to the nature of tasks and activities that go on in each space. Even within a room; it is vital that you use more than one type of lighting if you are to achieve any sort of ambiance.

Look at the living room, for example. An area will be dedicated to watching TV and will need ceiling lights, possibly on a dimmer, so that the right light can be achieved throughout the day and when the curtains are drawn. One corner may serve as a dedicated reading spot; if so, then a floor lamp that provides a softer light overhead will make a world of difference.

Naturally, as a place where a multitude of activities takes place, you’ll want to ensure the lighting is right. To create the right ambiance in the kitchen, invest in pendant lights — perhaps in varying heights — with a warm temperature to the bulb. Plinth lighting is also a clever way to add warmth, as well as a focal point to the design. This has a particularly striking effect on an island, giving the illusion of ‘floating cabinets’.

Of course, ambiance is subjective, so use the above as a guide only. Other ways to improve the ambiance in your home include transforming a space with scent and layering different aromas. Changing colours, textures, smells and lighting are all simple, inexpensive ways of tweaking how a room feels.


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