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By definition, a house is a building which is used for human habitation. Transforming a house into a home is something that requires time and patience but it does not require the expensive services of an interior designer. Instead, successfully reflecting the collective personality of the inhabitants – positive attitude, lifestyle preferences, or a sense of fun, perhaps – can turn a relatively ordinary place of residence into a warm and welcoming home environment.
Color me comfy
Whether living solo or in a family group, the colors in a home, coupled with the lighting, serve to create the underlying atmosphere. One of the basic rules about the use of color on walls, floors, and ceilings which holds true in most circumstances is that darker colors can look great in larger spaces, but will make a small room look even smaller. Should being confined to magnolia and pale shades in a smaller home be undesirable, choose a feature wall – perhaps surrounding a fireplace – to paint in a striking, contrasting color. Paint suppliers offer portable paint palettes with color ranges, small tester cans for experimenting before you make your final choice, and online facilities where a photo of a real room can be uploaded and virtually colored using the available paint colors. This part of turning a house into a home can be fun as well as rewarding.
Some rooms will benefit from bright shades and stimulating hues, such as playrooms and dens, as these are spaces which encourage energy and alertness. Bedrooms are better suited to muted, calming colors that are restful, and the clever use of adjustable lighting in dining and living areas can help turn bright, lively daytime spaces into relaxed, even romantic, evening retreats.
Floors and floor coverings are important when it comes to integrating different spaces within the home; the architectural principle of form following function indicates that surfaces should suit uses – very few people would opt for deep pile carpet in the kitchen, for example. In bedrooms, soft wall-to-wall carpeting is inviting, as are hardwood floors in soft tones with contrasting shag rugs.
Expressions hardwood floors are great for almost any space and, along with looking beautiful, they are particularly useful for heavy-duty areas such as main living spaces and entrance halls; they are also suitable for families where dust mite allergies might be an issue, as they are easier to keep clean than rugs or carpets.
Bits and pieces
What furniture and accessories to include in a room will generally be a matter of personal taste, and in most cases there will be a need to combine pieces which have been gathered over time with new pieces – whether contemporary or traditional in design. A simple rule of thumb is not to buy furniture that is too big for a room, or out of keeping with its shape and style. Some people opt for a themed approach to their rooms and this is fine as long as the result does not create a lifeless, sterile environment or make the room look like a throwback to the 1950s – unless, of course, that is the look you are going for.
Finally, the use of carefully chosen or cherished paintings, sculpture, wall art, feature plants and other greenery will provide the artistic touches and soften the delineations of the rest of the décor in a well cared for home.