How we perceive our environment and how it affects us has been studied for centuries. From the ancient art of Feng Shui, to the study of architectural phenomenology from the early 1950s, trying to understand how we physically and emotionally connect with a space is no new concept.
From light and shadows, to object placement, materials, colors and accessories, even the tiniest aspect of a room’s design can affect how we feel. That means to achieve a particular impression and atmosphere, space details should fall into certain categories depending on the desired outcome. To demonstrate, we’ve used the pCon.planner to show how the same piece of furniture can fit into two entirely different settings, one airy and light and the other cozy and calming, all by simply changing aspects like color and materials. To achieve this, we focused on the following aspects: Lighting, Materials and Colors, and Accessories.
The use of lighting within a space, both artificial and natural, can have an enormous impact on the feel of a room. To the left, natural lighting dominates the room. Physically, this makes the room brighter, lighter and much more open. Psychologically, the natural light will keep cortisol levels up and the stress level down.
To the right, artificial light is dominating the room. Spot lights create sharper, longer shadows, casting a more dramatic look on the room. By utilizing less light than the left image, the space is warm and cozy.
Up a step from manual light placement is the use of HDR images as a light source to set a particular mood.
Materials and Colors
Color schemes and materials are probably the most prominent way to change the feel of a room. Study after study shows that certain colors are calming and relaxing, some are best for production and others can be downright stressful. In the example above, the use of cool colors versus warm colors completely transformed the space. White or pastels aren’t the only colors that can brighten and enlarge a space, sea-inspired colors can also do the trick. In terms of materials, keep them light-weight, such as sheer curtains or wicker furniture.
On the contrast, for a warmer look, materials can be heavier, like thick blinds for example. The colors to the right of the image are also much warmer. Keep in mind that colors don’t necessarily have to be dark, but more muted or toned down. Yellow, for example, can be an extremely calming and warm color if you stick to a buttery or creamier tone.
Of course, the finer details can also make a big difference in the feel of a room. When adding your accessories, think what you are trying to accomplish with the room. Looking to add to your cozy, warm living room? A few large pillows or a thick blanket draped over the sofa may do the trick. Physical warmth is also necessary. For cold wood flooring, a plush rug can warm the room right up.
For accessories that keep a room brighter and cooler, less is more. Some pictures on the wall and a few plants can work to make the space interesting but not overwhelming.
The combination of these elements work together to set the mood for any space you’re working with. If something in a room just doesn’t feel right, a simple change in lighting or color could be the answer.
Try it for yourself to see if you can create the perfect atmosphere for your space!