My colour block is black. But many love it and I sometimes wear it. Between these soul dichotomies, colours always promote responses which are translated into behaviours. Healing is about that – changing personal behaviours, moods and setting the tone for a relaxing evening.
by LUÍS DE OLIVEIRA
10 February 2023
Home is a difficult word to define. William James in “The Principles of Psychology” (1890), Chapter “The Consciousness of the Self”, claims that The Self can be defined as the sum total of all that he CAN call his, not only his body and his psychic powers but his clothes, his house and so on. In fact, our home became much more than an appendix of The Self, especially after the pandemic. Our houses are now our temples. It is a place for rest, exercise, social interactions and connection with nature. Our homes became the engine for physical vitality, creativity and positive mental health.
A powerful tool to transform the place we go back to at the end of the day into our healing sanctuary is Colour. “It communicates feeling, creates a mood, affects our energy, our appetites, our sleep and has a profound effect on our emotional wellbeing and on behaviours of everyone we live with” – as explained by Karen Haller in her book “The Little Book of Colour”. Therefore, we must build a place that promotes positive emotional support instead of living in a house which does not positively impact our well-being in the hope that others find our home fantastic. So, the first tip is – build a home instead of a museum. It is for you to heal, not for others to appreciate it.
With the task of writing about colour – a dear subject of mine – and interior design (a challenge for me), I was curious to know if what we see in fashion shows is being translated into colours used in interior design. To my surprise, it is! The light soothing colours like pink, sage green, dusty blue, rust and icy pales as lemon & lilac are seen as trends from Paris Fashion Week SS23 jump from the catwalk to the Palette Painting of walls or accessories to set a tone.
Despite “interior design trends” being an oxymoronic term – as Elise Taylor described in Vogue Living – we face a revolution in interior design and life itself. These days, people are more interested to surround themselves with all things organic and having a greater balance between mind – body – spirit. As a result, houses must express a lovely equilibrium between materials and colours obtained from the earth or resemblance it.
So, after such key topics about Healing by Design, how should we plan the interior design of our home? Let’s see specifically some insights or ideas:
Give me soothing vibes. To promote calm and relaxation, we can use dusty blue on the walls. This can reduce mental stress and relieve tension. But keep in mind: please avoid it in the kitchen or dining areas as blue can aid in suppressing the appetite. Also, avoid it in spaces that already feel cold. When it comes to sage green, this a colour that helps to reconnect with nature, while being restorative, and restful. This colour is ideal for the living room. Another colour that I am enjoying seeing on walls or furniture is soft pink or warm tones of it. Pink is about nurturing, compassion and maternal love. It is ideal for the nursery as it eases tension. We can apply it also in the bedroom to help with grief or loneliness. Lilac encourages deep contemplation and promotes quiet moments. Best avoided in the kitchen and dining room as it might suppress appetite.
Create the behaviour
Each tint, tone and shade of colour has an emotional response. Therefore, when you know the behaviour you want to see or the mood you want to set, you will have a palette of colours that can support it. But, keep in mind: I am simplifying here.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR?
Although the colour is the most perceptive element with more impact, we must not forget the context and other features from general design and interior design, which harmonically reproduce the perfect orchestration. It is the case of grain texture for walls and wood on the floor. But, in the latter case, research says that when natural wood surfaces and walls exceed 45% of the room surface, their stress-relive effects diminish.
Give me Natural Light. Yup! That is a big mood booster. Incorporate big windows – the perfect views are natural scenery – or skylights.
Bring me life. We can use plants and fish tanks to allow our brains to pause through time-to-time.
Reward. Display your meaningful moments and objects. Memories are embedded in clothes, chairs, portraits, places and scents. We must bring good memories to our day.
We can be inspired and helped by many tools. Hiring a professional can be a good help. However, knowing ourselves & having a clear idea about the type of behaviour we want to see in our homes is the best start for the project. Also, an online tool for inspiration and planning is always positive. Pinterest is one of my favourites to use as image sharing service or as social networking service. With it, we can build a mood board.
When it comes to being inspired, we can look at specific little things to amuse our walls or build personalised accessories or furniture. Through Freepik we can look at vectors, illustrations, photos, fonts, text effects and backgrounds.
After looking or while looking for ideas, we must start to create our mood board. It is the moment when it all starts to feel real. I personally believe that Canvas for starters & people that will hire a professional interior designer would be a good fit. On the other hand, if we want to plan & try by ourselves or before handling ideas to a professional, we can try to work with Foyr Neo. With it, we can convert our ideas from 2D plans to 3D designs to photorealistic renders within minutes. The problem? It is paid. We only have a period of 14 days to try it.
Now that we have a clear vision of our ideal home and to style our space or renovate it, it is the moment to do one of the most relevant steps. I mean, estimating affordability! Personally, it is challenging for me. And so, I went looking for online tools to help us navigate through this subject without a mental breakdown. I found one website where we can find the best way to estimate a loan or a payment estimator or even printable amortisation schedules.
Investing in a house is not just about creating a home. It is about building extensions of The Self while recognizing that we are humans and as humans, we still respond to the basics of the external world – colours, light, darkness, textures and scents. In a world full of digital stimuli, it is nice to go back home & just be in our natural and visual organic world.
❤ Luís de Oliveira
d’Oliveira fashion doctor
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