The way a room is designed can affect a person’s feelings and emotions. For example, feeling calm or energised can be manipulated by simply having different colour schemes in different rooms. You can also create an oasis of peace by placing statement furniture pieces and natural elements in the right spot. Roula Allam turns to Riyadh-based modern home fashion brand Aura, which targets Middle Eastern clientele, for some useful advice and tips.
Natural materials like wood help create positive feelings and offer an authentic, soothing atmosphere, plus they are very durable. Can you give us some examples of organic elements we can incorporate in interior design?
Depending on which room you are decorating, you can choose the organic elements according to the mood you want to set in the room. In the living room you want to create a feeling of calm, for example our beautiful tables made out of reclaimed railway sleepers adds a rustic charm as well as adding an organic element to the room. Adding chests of drawers or bedside tables in warm grains of wood is a great way of keeping it simple, classic and also practical.
What about plants or interior gardens? What’s the best way to place or include them?
Incorporating nature into the house is characteristically Japanese, as they believe bringing nature into the home will create a feeling of wholeness and balance as all the elements are brought together. The best way of achieving nature in the home is by choosing plants and flowers that best suit the size and decoration in the room. For example, if your living room has big bulky furnishings, avoid plants with large leaves and go for simple roses or small carnation boxes to be placed on a coffee table. Using a vase is also a great way of displaying flowers: an elegant black vase with white orchids placed on a dining room table or side table can make a room look chic and sophisticated.
Can you tell us which colours are best suited for living areas and which ones should be avoided in bedrooms for optimal enjoyment and serenity?
We all have individual tastes and styles and it is important that your home reflects this. Many people love bright colours as colour gives a sense of happiness and energy. Some people prefer a calmer atmosphere. Using neutral colours, such as cream, mint or duck egg blue is the best way to achieve a relaxing living space. Using wallpaper is also a great way of adding some texture and colour into your living space, however it is advised not to go crazy and just paper one wall and match it to the colour of the wall so it blends together.
For the bedroom it is always a good idea to keep the wall colour simple by using colours that will create an atmosphere of calm and serenity, such as blue, which is a great colour because it complements most other colours and it has so many shades. We would suggest using a light blue on the walls and choosing bed sheets and furnishings that best suit the colour.
What about lighting? How much can that affect our mood?
Lighting is an important part of home design. Different lighting schemes can affect the mood of a room as light plays such a large role in our day-to-day lives. Bright lights are often found in the kitchen whereas soft, dim lights are found in the dining area. The most useful lighting scheme is spot lighting with a dimmer to change the brightness of the room at will. This way you can choose whether to have a brighter light or a more romantic light depending on what atmosphere suits.
Other than the usual, like candles, which novel accessories can we use to add harmony and give an aesthetic lift to any interior?
There are many ways to accessorise a room to give it a lift. We suggest using large glass jars with lemons; oranges or apples to add some colour and embrace the idea of nature in the home. Another good tip is to use rugs and carpets to spruce up a room, as you can choose different colours or patterns as well as different sizes to create diversity in the room. Cushions are another great way to accessorise as they can be changed to suit your mood or the season.
Can you give us some tips on how to make spaces look bigger and less cluttered, making them more agreeable to live in?
Cluttering is a common mistake people make when decorating a room, which is called over-decorating. Coco Chanel once said, “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance” and this can be said for décor. The way to avoid clutter is to go through all of your household decorations and throw away anything that is either old or not particularly special: being brutal is the only way you will avoid hoarding and making your house look like a magpie nest. A good tip to make a room look bigger is by using well placed mirrors to trick the eye into thinking the room is bigger than it is. Angle the mirror to a focal point in the room e.g. the bed or sofa to give an illusion of depth.
What kinds of trimmings make the difference between a house and a home?
The home is where the heart is and any personal attributes will of course make it more cosy and homey. Picture frames and personal touches, such as antique ornaments that might have belonged to an older member of the family is really what can make a difference.