How light and color can make your house a haven

When I was old enough to have my own room, it was probably one of the most exciting highlights of my life. It opened up a new universe to me where for the first time I could mold my own living space and lend it my personality. I’ve always believed that the space you live in speaks to you and speaks of you. It is a visual and sensational reflection of who you are and the myriad little things that constitute the whole you.

Every room that I’ve had an opportunity to make mine (at home or rented apartments) has been bright, ventilated and colorful. I like lots of natural light, fresh air, and vibrant and contrasting hues in my draperies, linen, furniture and décor. My parents would often frown at my daring colour choices where walls were concerned, but that’s what infused so much life in them.

After years of following my instinct while doing up my living spaces, I seem to have an opinion on everything – from curtains to lamp shades to wall art and more importantly how to enliven and make functional a dull, unused cornering the house.Not an interior décor professional but I can still swear by my two key elements – light and colour and what a difference they can make to a space.

Home is a sanctuary. If you are unable to let your hair down and enjoy the experience of being at home, perhaps it’s got something to do with its ambiance and aura. If so, it’s time to move things around and indulge in some redecoration and redesign.

Since I am no expert to advise, it was time to call in the big guns. Creative Director at Design forth Interiors LLP, Aakanksha Sharma agrees with me on the role light and colour play in a space. “Light and colour schemeshave a huge impact on any given interior space. They really have the power to make or break the design and are mutually interdependent. Though choice of colours, amount of lighting required and the lighting styles in a space are driven by factors like its location with respect to the sun (amount of natural light available indoors), its location in the house/building, usage and function of the room.”

I’d say that at the end of the day, it all comes down to the function that the room plays which then paves the way for design and decoration.“For example in your study,it would be ideal to focus on task lighting, whereas in your living room you would do a combination of accent and ambient lighting. Similarly, from a colour perspective, you might want to choose for your bedroom neutral pastel shades for an earthy, relaxed and grounded feeling but your living/dining room could have more vibrant colours since they are more activity-centric spaces. The trick is to always create a visual balance.”

For those who have smaller spaces, Vidya Saxena, Publishing Director and Part-Time Design Consultant advises the use of muted colours. “Lighter colours make a space look bigger and also brighter, lending an illusion of openness and expanse.”

If you wish to infuse positivity and a feeling of tranquillity in your living space, here’s what Sharma suggests. “Simplicity, and clean and well defined elements bring about a kind of harmony in a space. Ensure good ventilation and adequate light adding artificial sources like lamps if natural light is not available. Adding features like plants makes the space look dynamic and lively, while deodorising through natural candles, incense and fresh flowers keeps it pleasant smelling.The use of natural fabrics and materials also helps.”Saxena adds to this,“Lovely wall décor, green plants and colourful cushions guarantee a bright, happy space.”

And then we come to colour. “Colour is a very powerful and intrinsic tool in design. It affects us on a primal level – our moods, feelings, perceptions, imagination – and plays a huge role in defining our experience in a certain space. For positivity and calmness, I would choose pastel and neutral tints like pale greens, pale blues, pale greys with lots of beiges and whites.”

Since this is the age of abundance (and e-commerce),our living spaces often fall prey to junk and clutter. Believe it or not, this actually does impact our minds. The day I put my cleaning hat on and clear up spaces in my home, I feel at peace with myself and the world around me. Which brings me to the conclusion that empty spaces aren’t bad at all.

“Breaking the space visually with empty surfaces is very important. They bring about the much needed balance and harmony and provide a backdrop to highlight the elements being used. Too many elements and products in a space can make everything lose its impact and hence make the space look busy and unattractive. Subconsciously, very cluttered spaces tend to make you feel anxious and edgy whereas clean and well defined spaces have a calming effect on you,” says Sharma.

“Personally I feel, we live in a world where we are bombarded with visuals throughout the day with us being attached to our phones, computers, tablets and TVs.Hence, leaving some blank surfaces actually provides a much needed relief and rest to our eyes. It’s like a mini vacation for the eyes.”

Saxena agrees.“I don’t think empty spaces are bad. In fact, if you leave some space in a house, it increases its aesthetic appeal and adds an openness to it. Remember, less is more.”

Both experts agree with me that when putting your space together, a combination of free instinct and aesthetics works best. I’m usually super spontaneous and experimentative about my colour and style choices but thanks to a decent aesthetic sense (if I may say so!), I’ve gotten by. To which Sharma adds, “It’s equally important to keep some basic rules about colour combinations, lighting principles, spatial planning and proportions in mind for you to create a stimulating and happy space for yourself.”She believes that getting a professional to help you realise your dream space is a great investment.

When I walk in through my front door, I feel welcome and safe. It is a space that echoes with my laughter and wacky style, and has nooks and cranes that hold special significance, where I can re-energize my weary self. And I owe it all to the positive vibe that breathes within and every tiny little element that makes home, home.

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