July 27th, 2010 2 Comments
Sometimes the only thing we need to re-energize is a change of scenery. Remaking a room offers you the opportunity to maximize the benefit of that change in scenery. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, and the rewards far outweigh the expenditures.
The very first thing you should consider is which room to remake. Why? If you remake a guest bedroom, odds are you will seldom reap the benefits. After all, how often are you actually in the guest bedroom? So how do you choose? Ask yourself what your goal is. Are you desperate for some peace and restoration? Do you crave some extra energy and inspiration? Depending on your answer, the room you should choose should start becoming evident. For example, bedrooms are our sanctuaries, places where we derive our peace and restoration. Living rooms, offices and dining rooms are some of the most energetic sites in our homes, where we find inspiration and a sense of connection with what is important to us. Of course, the room you dread to enter just might be exactly the room you most need to remake.
Once you’ve decided on your room, you need to decide what the goal is. Are you hoping to get more inspiration? Your goal will help determine the course of your remake.
Ok, so you’ve got the room; you’ve got the goal…let’s make a change!
The two cheapest ways to change a room involve accessories and organization. The first thing you’ll need to do is to figure out what in the room is not part of the purpose of the room. Take a look at my earlier post on clearing out the clutter.
Once you’ve determined that you are clutter free, take a look at your goal…are you looking for encouragement and energy or rest and relaxation? The areas that you need to consider are:
- How does the placement of the room furniture allow me to accomplish my goal? If you have everyone sitting in corners, it is pretty hard to get a conversation going. Have a home office, but half the office equipment is on different sides of the room? Not very efficient is it?
- What is the lighting like? Do you have bright lights in rooms where you are trying to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility? Nothing can ruin relaxation more than a blaring light in your face. Trying to carry a conversation, but having trouble reading the other person’s facial expressions? That’s a problem.
- What effect does the room color have on the overall mood of the room? How does that compare with your goal?
- Do the accessories in the room help or hinder accomplishing your goal? If you have the painting of an owl in hot pursuit of its prey, odds are you won’t feel compelled to relax. Too many comfy pillow may lead your guests to wish they could sleep on your couch rather than talk to their host.
Make a note of what you discover…then make changes.
One way to make a lasting change to a room is to create a focal point. What is a focal point? According to HGTV.com, a focal point is an element in the room around which the furniture will revolve. The focal point has its biggest “wow” impact when it is the first thing your eyes see when entering a room. The focal point grounds the room, gives it purpose and maximizes the impact of that purpose. Sometimes a focal point is built around a fireplace, picture or landscape and provides a mutual experience for the rooms occupants which in turn promotes bonding and conversation. Another example of the use of a focal point is by placing a desk facing the door in a home office. The placement of the desk sets the stage for power. The user of the desk has the comfort of knowing his focus is in front of him rather than all around and any guest is psychologically inclined to defer to the person behind the desk. Focal points set the stage.
Adjust the placement of your furniture to maximize your focal point and maximize your goal. For rooms where you want to stimulate conversation try to place furniture seating either across from each other or in triangular or U-shaped patterns. Remember to include placement of smaller furniture that allows for placement those items like refreshments that encourage your guests to continue their conversation without having to leave the room. In rooms where relaxation and restoration are the theme, less is better. The least amount of items surrounding an individual, the less the stimulation. Again, placement of supporting furniture which allows for placement of magazines or refreshments helps minimize disruption. (Manage what magazines and refreshments are available to these areas, however, to minimize stimulation.)
Have you adjusted your lighting to meet the goals of your room and your new furniture placement? Do you have softer lighting for relaxation and brighter lighting for rooms where you hope to energize the occupants? Have you placed lighting that is conveniently located so that those needing more or less lighting can change it without the inconvenience? If you are providing lighting for magazine or book readers, ensure the lighting maximizes the print and not blind the reader. Are you guests having trouble concentrating on your conversation because your lamp’s rays permeate their face rather than highlight their expression? Sit down and experience your lighting placement first hand to ensure what you think your lighting is doing is actually accomplishing the goal.
So what signals are your room color sending? If you want energy and your room is painted grey, you can forget about getting anything out it. So what color palettes fit your mantra? Part of it is personal and part of it is science (click to read more about color choices, their effects and the proper use of color). For example, blue colors are indicated in lowered blood pressure and decreased appetite while orange palettes have been shown to energize and stimulate.
Got the wrong color in your room? Don’t despair. You have lots of options. Accessories like throw pillows, lamp shades, nick knacks, wall hangings, curtains and rugs can add that bit of color while changing the look of a room, providing a bridge between new and old styles and creating that “wow” factor.
Another option is the use of color on the walls or furniture. Nothing feels greater than repurposing furniture or salvaging an ugly, but beloved piece. It doesn’t have to be difficult to make a major impact.
For example, when I redid my kitchen instead of replacing all of the cabinetry, I painted it – black. Black??? Yes, black. I’ve received numerous compliments and truly believe it was the best decisions I ever made in that room. The black paint I chose has a shiny finish and transformed 40 year old cabinets into brand new, stylish centerpieces. The added feature of choosing black included being able to change my accent color at any time. Perhaps the biggest reason for choosing black was that black tends to make the surface area seem smaller to the eye. With a galley style kitchen, I need to feel like I have more room…and now I do. The fact that I saved $1000’s on cabinets didn’t hurt either.
Over the years, I have painted beat up bookcases, tables and accent chairs even lamps with paint. A boring brass chandelier transforms into a beloved centerpiece with a touch of paint. The options for paint are practically limitless with paints coming in so many colors and textures from the usual color palette to metals, flats to hammered finishes and paints made for a variety of surfaces including those cheap, laminate bookcases like the one I repainted eight years ago that still looks brand new today.
Not interested in changing the color of your accessories? Consider that paint is one the least expensive but highest impact changes you can make to a room. Changing the paint color on even one wall can change everything. You can even change the depth of the room by painting the ceiling. A rule of thumb: brighter colors create an airy feeling while giving the illusion of space; darker colors make spaces feel smaller and weightier.
Accessories that use or accent your new color palette are helpful in bridging old styles with new. Colors pop in the room and create a sense of newness and, when carefully selected, cohesiveness. The style of your accessories can pull together opposing styles of furniture and architecture. Consider adding french country accessory pillows to rooms where the architecture is somewhat plain or Old World but the furniture is modern. The key is in the details. For instance, change the hardware on your furniture can totally change the style of the piece and ultimately whether or not it fits in with the room’s style.
Remember whatever is in the room or absent from it affects the total impact you have on the occupants. If it doesn’t help, it hinders.
Have a helpful hint on a room remake? Let us know!