LIFE ON MEMORY LANE
For a house to become a home it must reflect your personality, says Marjorie A. Inman, P.h.D., associate professor of interior design at Purdue University. Not your interior decorator’s personality, or the going-out -of-business department store’s or the Joneses’ who live next door. So, where do you find the design that stamped “you”? Start by going down Memory Lane.
“Photographs are very important to have around, even if you don’t look at them very often,” says Dr. Inman. “They are a good link to the past, and even just stored in the closet, they can be very comforting.” Your whole house doesn’t have to be based on the past, she says, but it should contain some articles that give you comfort. A beat-up easy chair, your favorite childhood stuffed animal or just something you like to hold or look at can help in extending that homey feeling.
A personal connection to the past is specially important when moving from one place to another or planning to redecorate from top to bottom. According to Dr. Inman, unfamiliar surroundings, such as a new house or all new furniture, is one of the leading causes of modern-day stress.
THE COLOR OF HOMEY
Psychologists know that certain colors have a certain effect on behavior. Warm colors like orange, read and yellow can stimulate the appetite; light earth tones can calm and comfort anxious people; and kids have been found to learn better in brightly colored rooms. So it only makes sense that the colors you use in your home will have some sort of effect on its occupants.
“The colors you choose for a room will definitely affect what gets done there,” says Maria Simonson, Ph.D., Sc. D., a behaviorist who works in color therapy at John Hopkins Medical Institutions-Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore.
If you want a room, such as a living room, to have a soothing effects, use off-white, antique white , soft greens, blues or silvers or earth tones. Stark white can make a room look sterile and depressing.
Gray can be cold but is relaxing in combination with other, warmer colors. Bright-colored accents will make you feel perky.
Here are some color guides you might want to consider when planning your decor.
In the family room, use warm earth tones or pale, golden yellow. They can be accented with bright, warm or cool colors.
For the dining room, use off-white, pale gold, tan or beige in cool climates and cool blues and green in warmer climates. They relax.
In the bedroom, pale blue, pale green and beige make for optimal sleeping conditions in hot climates. Pale pink, lavender and mauve are good for cooler climates.
If you’re planning a bar for your home, says Dr. Simonson, staw away from the bold, dark colors you often find in lounges and hotel barrooms. They encourage you to drink more. If you’re using wallpaper, make sure it’s not too overpowering.