Thursday, July 14, 2011

Decorating Zen

Zen.. means meditation. And it's more than just a word.. It’s a practice where people seek harmony, calmness and balance..

And the home is the best place to create an area of peace and quiet, allowing none of the world's chaos to enter. 

The golden principle when decorating in Zen = 3 words: Less is More.

Zen is a way of arranging your home and creating an atmosphere that offsets the stresses and hassles of our daily routines. 

SPACE. Make sure that each room has a lot of open spaces. Furniture in clean lines with no ornamentation or busy patterns. This may mean pairing down on the amount of furniture, accents and decors you normally have in a room.

CLUTTER. Examine each item and determine if it’s a necessity. The goal is to remove all clutter.

PALETTE. Neutral, non-dramatic earth tones and muted colors that can be seen in nature are preferred for Zen color schemes.

MINIMALISM is one of the most important principles of Zen decorating.

DECORATE with the five elements of nature: water, earth, fire, wood and metal.

Buy an indoor fountain or a nice, framed poster of a waterfall.

Decorate your room with a plant or two (Remember, less is more).

Create a cozy fireplace, or if your room doesn't have one, get yourself an interesting collection of candles.

Use Japanese styled lamps for lighting.

And add some Zen-inspired wall art.

Shoji screens will add to the Zen ambiance.

Pebbles and flat, round, oval-shaped stones can be used to accent floor and candles.

Finally, light up some candles or oil diffusers, put on some zen inspired music and relax... :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Psychological Effects of Colors

While perceptions of color are somewhat subjective, there are some color effects that have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as warm colors and include red, orange and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool colors and include blue, purple and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference.

The color psychology of Black.

Black absorbs all light in the color spectrum. It is often used as a symbol of menace or evil, but it is also popular as an indicator of power. 

Black is associated with death and mourning in many cultures. It is also associated with unhappiness, sexuality, formality, and sophistication. In ancient Egypt, black represented life and rebirth. It is often used in fashion because of its slimming quality. Black is often associated with elegance. Used in home interiors, it can give a classy look to a wall. Black furniture or accent pieces in a predominantly white room can create a stark, dramatic contrast. For small-roomed houses or apartments however, painting the walls black is not recommended as this will make rooms more smaller and makes them restricting and depressing.

The color psychology of White.

 White represents purity or innocence. It is bright and can create a sense of space or add highlights.

White is also described as cold, bland and sterile. Rooms painted completely white can look spacious but empty and unfriendly.  Wearing white means a fresh outlook and new beginnings. White helps reduce any nagging feelings of disappointment or drudge. A predominantly white home interior gives a feeling of space and cleanliness. A few splashes of colors from accents or decors will not make it look bland and too sterile. 

The color psychology of Red.

Red is a warm, bright color that evokes strong emotions. It is associated with love, warmth and comfort.

Red is also considered an intense or even angry color that creates feelings of excitement. Wearing red exudes charm, confidence and sexiness.. Red is typically associated with energy, danger, power and love. This color has been known to increase blood pressure and raise appetites. Since the color is so strong, it can be unnerving and is best used as an accent.

The color psychology of Blue.

Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure and orderly. It can also create feelings of sadness or aloofness.

Blue is often used to decorate offices because research has shown that people are more productive in blue. It can also lower the pulse rate and body temperature. Blue has a soothing quality about it that makes people feel relaxed and comfortable. 

The color psychology of Green.

Green is a cool color that symbolizes nature and the natural world. It also represents tranquility, good luck, health and jealousy.

Green is thought to relieve stress and helps heal. Those who have a green work environment experiences fewer stomach aches. Green represents the Spring season and new growth. Choose this color to wear whenever you are embarking on something new or wish to turn over a new leaf. Green also has the same calming qualities as blue. Neutral shades of green such as olive or sage are more accepted in room colors and decor than shades of aqua or yellow-green.

The color psychology of Yellow.

Yellow is a bright color that is often described as cheery and warm. It is also the most fatiguing to the eye due to the high amount of light that is reflected on and by it. 

Yellow can also create feelings of frustration and anger. While it is considered a cheerful color, people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms. Since yellow is the most visible color, it is also the most attention-getting. It can also increase metabolism. While this color is known to make people feel happy and energetic, it is also known to cause people to become angry quicker. Used on home interiors, pale shades of yellow are best when painting walls.

The color psychology of Purple.

Purple is the symbol of royalty and wealth. It also represents wisdom and spirituality.

Purple does not often occur in nature, it can sometimes appear exotic or artificial. The color purple, especially shades of violet, will definitely make a statement. Wearing purple shows others that you want to be noticed. Light purple is seen as a feminine color, it might be a good paint color for a young girl’s room. Darker purples or mauves are more mature looking for other portions of a house, known to evoke feelings of wisdom and royalty.

The color psychology of Brown.

Brown is a natural color that evokes a sense of strength and reliability.

Brown brings to mind feelings of warmth, comfort and security. Brown is a safe, comforting and neutral color. It gives a feeling of warmth, security and belongingness. Browns can typically be combined with brighter colors like light blues, pinks, yellows and especially oranges. A medium brown color may be good for walls with accents of brighter colors placed throughout the room.

The color psychology of Orange.

Orange is a very energetic color and calls to mind feelings of excitement, enthusiasm and warmth.

Orange is often used to draw attention, such as in traffic signs and advertising. Orange is a warm, inviting color. It’s easier on the eyes than yellow, yet it is not as bold as red. Neon orange is not something you want to see on the walls of your house, but its warmer shades are more appropriate for walls. It is also known to increase appetites and may be a good color for dining rooms and as an accent to other rooms.

The color psychology of Pink.

Pink is essentially a light red and is usually associated with love and romance. It is thought to have a calming effect.

While pink's calming effect has been demonstrated, researchers of color psychology have found that this effect only occurs during the initial exposure to the color. More than feeling feminine, wearing pink conveys compassion and an open heart. When people are wearing pink, whether they are male or female, they appear approachable and capable of loving others.
Lighter shades of pink generally evokes a feeling of calmness. Stronger shades used on a wall will create stronger intensities of excitement.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Trends that changed Interiors

Trends that changed Interiors

With so much information on the internet, home improvement TV shows, decor magazines and celebrity Designers, the focus on design and style for the home got stronger in leaps and bounds over the last 10 years.

Innovations in technology also made it easier to develop, while crafts, other traditional motifs and styles are being reworked and updated to suit a more modern lifestyle.

The re-emergence of wallpaper as interior decoration. With painted walls being the style trend of the late 80s and 90s, this reinvention of wallpaper has been fuelled by the desire for more decoration and is now more affordable through advanced technology.

Wallpaper ranges appear at every level of the market from high-end to mass-market retailers. Uses, styles, materials and colors are so varied that it can easily perk-up or subdue emotions in a room.

Green Living.. Eco-awareness.
A combination of both attitude and material; ethically responsible manufacturing techniques are as important as the sustainable recyclable materials used.

Good for the planet and everyone's future, but also a massive selling point. Nature-based materials are being used and preferred over new plastics and other synthetic products.

Ethnic Inspiration.
The strength of inspiration which derives from global art, cultural motifs and specialised techniques can be applied to all manner of colors, textiles and decoration – from accents, decors, wall treatments, rugs, cushions, throws, towels and bed linens.

The prevalence of ethnic motifs and techniques are being used throughout the interiors industry. A simple wall adornment, few vases, some pillow covers and a color motif do the trick.

A strong craft revival combined with new styles and innovative technologies has meant a revaluation of design parameters – designers are fast becoming the masters of multiple styles.

Crafts doesn't only cover the usual Country or Shabby Chic styles of decorating. Crafts is now revived combining new materials, textures and styles resulting to a modernized version.

Design innovator John Pawson was a key player in the late 90's trend for a minimalist interior. The principle of the movement was to take away all unnecessary ornamentation and be left with only the essentials, revealing the naked object.

 This is a design trend embraced by hotels, restaurants, mass-market retailers and interior designers and is set to be permanent style option.

Old-world charm revival.
A continuing romantic and decorative trend where the mixing of modern lines and materials has been combined with 17th and 18th century charms and details.

Reinterpretation of historical references is pivotal in the development of design. This trend has been the greatest inspiration on the mass market in the last decade and not for exclusive few.

Beaded and sequined home accessories inspired by the fashion of the swinging 60's to the early nineties. Think: Austin Powers.. "Shagadelic, baby".. :)

Embellishment does not only mean sequins, gloss or beads.. New wall decor treatmnets can easily embellish a room to create a more glam ambiance.

High-gloss finish.
High-gloss finishes achieved by lacquered or polished materials continues to be a key patina for furniture and accessories alike.

High-gloss doesn't only refer to painted walls but it could also mean use of mirrors, glass and combination of bright colors in furniture covers and other materials to enhance a room.

Limited editions and Superstar status.
Blurring the boundaries between art and design, limited edition pieces/collections of furniture and accessories designed by artists and architects that are even highlighted in exhibitions and galleries.

Bloom chair is designed by internationally acclaimed Furniture Designer from the Philippines, Kenneth Cobonpue. More of Kenneth Cobonpue's designs at:

The blurring of disciplines allows for a new more diverse aesthetic, while the notion of limited editions also prevails in the lower end of the market as exclusivity will always be a selling point. In the past decade top international designers have enjoyed the status of superstars, successfully marketed through collaborations with big-name brands.  Collaborations are not limited to the high-end but mass retailers are also capitalizing on superstar designers' skills and status.