How to create a mood in a room

When you first walk into a room we have an instant reaction to it, whether we realise it or not.

You react to the atmosphere that is created in the room, whether you feel calm, at ease, stimulated or on edge.

This should be your first consideration when you are decorating your home.  How do you want each room to feel when you are in it?

Knowing what mood you want to create will help guide decisions when you purchase colours, finishes and furniture.

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Tips to help you decide the mood for your rooms.

Think about the function of each room. 


What is it used for?  For example, you watch TV, read and have quiet conversations in your lounge room.  You want the room to feel relaxed, calm and cosy.

If your lounge room is where your family gathers for playing games and have lively conversations, a stimulating and energetic atmosphere would be more appropriate.

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The colours you use in a room create mood.

Not only the hue but the whether you use light or dark tones.  Light and pale colours have a soothing effect, where dark and very saturated colours are more stimulating.

What colours are lively and uplifting to you?  

If you want a calm and relaxing room, what colours make you feel this way? 

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If your room is used for entertaining with music and dancing, you would likely want a colour scheme with an energetic vibe.  Which colours encourage this type of mood for you?  

Decorating a room in soft, pale neutrals and the furniture facing the tv is unlikely to encourage social interaction and stimulation.

Get ideas on what style to decorate your home here

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Consider the size of your room. 

Small rooms can be made to feel cocooning and cosy with rich colours and layers of texture.

To make small rooms feel more spacious, paint them in a light colour.  Place a large mirror in the room to reflect as much light as possible.  Keep clutter to a minimum.  Don’t over-decorate the room with lots of furniture.  Visual clutter makes a room feel smaller. 

Make a large open plan space feel more intimate by creating zones. You can use colours, textures, lighting and furniture layout to zone each area and give each one a different feeling, whilst still visually creating flow.

Use open storage units or a screen to separate the kitchen from the living room and define each space without closing rooms in.

Use furniture to delineate areas. You can separate the lounge room from the dining room by placing a buffet or sofa between the two spaces

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Think about the layout of your room. 

Where you place your furniture can make a difference in how your space feels.  

By placing furniture facing each other and closer together, you encourage conversation and interaction.

For social situations, like a party, make sure you have plenty of space for people to move around and mingle.

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Textures add to the atmosphere.

If you want a room to give you comfort, what textures soothe you?  Does laying on satin sheets make you feel soothed? Maybe some chunky woollen rugs provide a warm and snug environment. 

Do hard glossy surfaces like marble help to encourage stimulation? Does leather make you feel comfortable? Think about what effect different textures have on you.

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Lighting is an essential factor in creating mood.

Whether you use warm or cool lighting will dramatically change the feeling of a room.

Warm light creates a cosy ambience, and cooler lighting is better used to perform tasks such as cooking or studying.

What type of lighting do you need? Task lighting for reading, playing or cooking?  Ambient lighting for creating a more intimate atmosphere for watching TV or after-dinner conversation?

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Where you can find inspiration.

The places you like to visit, like cafes, restaurants and where you go to unwind, are great places to find inspiration.

Do you like to go to the beach or spending time in your garden?  Maybe a dark, moody corner in a cafe makes you feel at peace.

These places can help you to choose colours, textures and patterns to use in your space.

You can also get ideas for furniture layout by observing how your favourite cafe sets out its zones.

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Need more help deciding on a mood?

If you are having trouble figuring out the atmosphere you want for a room then try this exercise.

Close your eyes and picture yourself in a room doing what you would typically be doing in there.   If it is a kitchen, you could be cooking or having a conversation with someone.  Maybe you are studying or working on the bench?

Let your imagination run wild.  Picture a room that you would love to have, not necessarily the one you already have.

You might feel full of energy and motivated, or deep in thought and need to clear your mind and focus on the task at hand.  Perhaps you are having a quiet, intimate conversation with a friend or you are playing a game with a child.

By really focusing on the room and the tasks you are doing, you should feel some emotions coming up.

Write them down.  Can you describe what is in the room?  Any colours, furniture styles, are there large windows or is it dark and cosy?

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And lastly......

How you want any room to feel will be unique to you.  You may love a bright and light-filled bedroom where someone else may like the bedroom to be dark and moody to get into the mood to sleep.  Another person may like bright, bold colours and lots of patterns.

There is no one size fits all. It depends on your preferences, room size, lighting and how you want your space to feel.

Take your time and consider the atmosphere you want to create. It will allow you to create a home that makes you feel comfortable, and it will be a place you will always want to return to and spend your time.

Until next time,

Happy decorating,


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