Using texture, colour & light to create ambience in your home

Having your own space is important, but how it makes you feel when you’re at home is even more crucial. From pendant lights to cosy furnishings, adding the softer touches to your interior design can help to create a room with character, atmosphere and a mood. I’ve collaborated with Harvey Jones to bring you a few low-cost ideas for adding that all-important ambience to your home when you’re on a budget…

TESTING TEXTURES

Textures can make a big difference to a room, so it’s important that you get them right. In fact, if you’re looking to achieve an informal, cosy setting then steer clear of a sleek, minimalist lines and you’ll find that all other textures that marry well irrespective of their feel or material. To create a broody feel, consider rich, dark veneers. For a softer touch, incorporate silk upholstery, velvet floor length curtains and hints of aged brass and copper. And I’m not just taking about cushions and fabrics here; even mirrors and glass objects are a good accent to any room to create depth and texture.

CHECKING OUT COLOURS

Different colours are associated with different feelings, and of course this can have a trigger effect on how we feel in a space. Remember to think about the size of your room before rolling out any new colours; if your kitchen is small, you’ll want the space to be bright and airy so you might opt for predominately lighter shades for the walls or cabinetry. That way cooking need not be a dark and isolating experience. A restricted pale palette also makes for a sleek aesthetic that can be personalised with splashes of colour and will have you staying on trend for 2018. Ideal Home has aptly named this the ‘Unicorn-inspired’ trend featuring pale blues and pinks, personalised with glinting bronze and metal.

Don’t make any final decisions straight away — put your visions collectively on a mood board. When pulling together ideas, keep a few questions in mind such as How do I want to use this space? What impact will lighting have on these colours? Or What is the psychology of this colour? The kitchen or living room (usually whichever is the biggest room in the home) is the best place to start as these are likely to be your most centrally located rooms and all other palettes branch off from here. Paint this larger room in a bold colour, and work around the home either complimenting the first shade, contrasting it or matching with a soft, neutral hue.

But what does each colour really mean?

  • Pink: connotations of love and peace – suited to a restful space in the home, such as the bedroom.
  • Red: connotations of passion and danger – suited to a warm, sociable environment such as the dining room.
  • Orange: connotations of stability – suited to a lively space in the home such as the living or dining room.
  • Yellow: a warm and positive colour – suited to a bright and lively space such as the kitchen or dining room.
  • Green: a calming colour resembling nature – suited to a restful space such as the bedroom or living room.
  • Blue: a calm, soothing colour – suited to a cool and relaxing space such as the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.
  • White: a bright colour opening up a space – suited to a light and airy environment such as kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.

LIGHTING THE WAY

Lighting can have a huge influence on how you feel so consider where natural light may shine and how you can illuminate the space in the evenings. Different rooms around the home require different styles of lighting due to the nature of tasks and activities that go on in each space. Even within a room, it is vital that you use more than one type of lighting if you are to achieve any sort of ambience. The living room in particular is a great example of this; an area will be dedicated to watching TV and will need ceiling lights, possibly on a dimmer, so that the right light can be achieved throughout the day and when the curtains are closed. One corner may serve as a dedicated reading spot; if so, then a floor lamp that provides a softer light closer overhead will make a world of difference.

My low-cost lamp from Iconic Lights combines texture, a reflective surface and a warm glow. 

Considering lighting when you’re creating a kitchen design is also extremely important. Invest in pendant lights – perhaps in varying heights – and with a warm temperature to the bulb to illuminate the kitchen table or island unit. Plinth lighting is also a clever way to add warmth as well as creating the illusion of ‘floating cabinets’.

SUBTLE CHANGES

Making subtle changes to your the home can make a big difference in how you feel within each room, so you don’t need to spend much to get the result you want. Just a lamp and a cushion could be all you need to create that cosy reading nook! Another low-cost way to improve the ambience in your home is with fragrances; you can layer different aromas using diffusers and scented candles, which will also give off a lovely atmospheric light in the evenings. New colours, textures, smells and lighting are all simple, inexpensive ways of changing how a room feels. Let me know if you have any tips for getting a cosy ambience in your home by leaving me a comment below.

Thanks to Harvey Jones for collaborating with me on this interior design blog post and for giving me ideas for decorating my own home.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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