I feel this could well be addressed the to all-time stretched souls who find by the end of the day the inside of a coat cupboard would be the happiest place to be – particularly if it was soundproofed, and came with a lock and wine fridge!
Life is full, sometimes too full, we run from meeting to meeting or parent-teacher interview to swimming lessons, battling traffic, incessant emails and the continual chime of reminders to exercise, eat, don’t eat, alerts to remember doctors appointments and flashing text messages as our fondest form of communication. It is no wonder we want a happy place, but how do we create it, and how can it encompass different levels or stages of life, family and work.
When styling a home I will often ask the clients to outline their needs, likes and dislikes and what gives them comfort. As human beings we are responsive we react to colour, light, texture and space – all of these sensory items can either help or hinder how we feel about what makes us happy.
The human brain will reject information that is understimulating as much as it will reject the chaotic. The visual task with creating a space that evokes happiness is to present a scheme that has a logical structure and is pleasing and intriguing to the beholder. Firstly, determine what is the space you need or where do you feel most comfortable. Do you require a corner to curl up in and read while you soak up the watery rays of a grey winters day? Or are you more in need of a station – a desk or office area that allows you to feel in control and organised, decorated with great space saving filing systems, colour coordinated and flooded with good light? Or is it the kitchen where you can contemplate an array of well worn and much-loved cookbooks at a favourite table reserved for morning coffee, conversation and contemplation before the hum of the day begins.
All of these areas be it window seat, bedroom, kitchen or study requires thought as to why they make us happy and in turn how can we keep them as our happy places.
Generally, when we feel happy or content there is a direct collaboration to calm and peace and also a fond sense of the familiar – happy is different from cosy, it is a thought-provoking feeling that is captured because we know what is around us.
There are however a few elements to consider that can enhance your environment and turn one that is ho-hum into a place of solace and invitation where your shoulders just naturally want to drop.
Colouring your happy space:
When reviewing colour, choose a palette that is not a “trend” colour but has substantive references to nature these colours provide harmonious palettes no matter how garish they appear there is always an inherent balance.
In visual experience, harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye, it engages the viewer and creates an inner sense of order. That balance comes from warm and cool and light and dark and is referenced in our lives on a daily basis, providing a sense of comfort that is visually appealing and all importantly soothing. Mix the depth of your colours if lighter walls are your thing add depth and structure to your space by a stronger floor or addition of a darker rug or throw. Accent your environment and keep the background neutral.
Blue symbolizes serenity, sky blues immediately warrant calmness and wide open spaces.
Yellow is a colour that floats – like sunshine it is a compelling colour but one to watch as if used incorrectly it can appear sickening.
Green is the natural neutral, it incorporates both the cooling agents of blue and the heat of yellow and offers a freshness that the other colours can’t give.
Soft greys, duck eggs, silvers, sea froth, slate, parchments, hay, tussock, fern, stone, linen and warm whites are our colours that soothe and calm, offering support to all other layers required in a setting. These are colours and palettes that operate not solely on trend, they are enduring and familiar they are colours that we know because we see them around us every day. These are the perfect compliment to your happy place.
These colours are subtle, never dominating and allow to you to apply levels of complementary colour with ease. Use them as your background then layer with your accent colour that you find appeals to you – this way when your mood changes so can the “change out”, it becomes an inexpensive way to update and fill your needs seasonally or for a lifetime and can literally be dependant on a whim.
Furnishing your happy place:
Don’t underestimate your tactical side. This doesn’t mean layer your space in shag pile rugs, if this is not your thing – what it does mean is soften your space, life is full of hard edges and a place that offers comfort and solace should have kinder textures, mix your fabrics on a sofa or add a sheepskin rug to your office chair, alternatively the table you enjoy reading at may require rounded or padded chairs. Don’t forgo the knotted wood top for a stone makeover, wood feels warm and inviting, soften up the edges and review your lighting, perhaps look at table lights or a free standing floor lamp that can offer difussed or softer light sources rather than complete down lighitng.
Fabrics can offer so much to space, pick a palette and then work to it, combine a solid back colour and then bring that through into the fabric
Don’t forget to include the pieces you love. Surround yourself with items that mean something to you, a collection of silver photos frames, a soft and threadbare throw a piece of art that brings back memories or achievement or the much-admired sculpture by the five-year-old.
All of the above provide happiness, remain true to that and follow a few simple guidelines and you really will create a happy place, outside of the coat cupboard.