Whether you’re decorating a large or small space, to create coziness and appeal the primary design principle to focus on is balance. A room must exude the right energy to feel balanced. By its nature, a large room exudes “yang” or expansive energy. A small space room transmits “yin” or constrictive energy. It follows that yang energy needs to be balanced with yin energy and yin energy with yang. The correct furniture, colors, and accessories are the key to creating balance. If you don’t feel comfort and relaxation in a space it’s because the yin/yang energy is out of balance. When good Feng Shui is coupled with good design, an environment is naturally cozy, relaxing, and beautiful.
- Use the same wall color throughout the space. A light color is best because it creates an open feeling. Yellow, warm beige, or white works well. Yellow is also the best color for illuminating dark areas.
- Paint the ceilings white or the same color as the walls.
- Use European furniture which is smaller in proportion than “regular funiture-store” furniture. (Look at IKEA’s selection for an example).
- Add mirrors to create the illusion of space. A mirror reflects light from outside if placed opposite a window. A whole wall of mirrors can open up the space in a dramatic way.
- Don’t block natural light.
- Hang drapes a few inches higher than the top of your windows to create a feeling of height.
- Avoid clutter, use decorative containers to stay organized and don’t display a lot of chotchkies (aka knickknacks). A few well-placed items evidencing your style and flair are plenty.
- Choose pieces of art that relate to each other. Use similar frames for each piece (or no frames). The over-all feeling should be cohesive and light. Art containing fire colors (red, orange, purple-pink) or wavy lines transmits an energetic quality which counteracts feeling constricted in the space. Landscape scenes and photographs open the space up.
- Use monotone, natural fiber, or non-fussy area rugs to add a finished quality to the room and to create separate areas.
- Break the room up into several areas to fill up the space and create visual interest. When you’re in a large empty space you’ll feel exposed making relaxation difficult. Create several areas within the room that serve different functions. For example in a living room the first area can be a conversation area with a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and two or three small side tables with table lamps. The second area can be a reading corner next to a window with an overstuffed chair, an ottoman, a table and good reading lamp. And a third vignette can be a game area using a round table with chairs on either side and a floor lamp nearby.
- Use thick, earth and fire color (brown, yellow, beige, red, orange) rugs in each area in the room to further delineate each area.
- Use furniture proportionate with to size of the room. Generally, wood is best.
- Hang artwork at eye level or a few inches above, especially if ceilings are high (above about 12 feet). The art will pull your eye towards it and minimize the length of the wall.
- Paint the ceilings the same color as the walls or in a slightly darker shade.
- Hang drapes even with the windows.
- If you have built-in bookshelves, arrange them to create visual interest. Don’t simply line books up in a row. Add framed photos, ceramics, and accessories. You’ll create energy and soul.
Have fun and remember that if something intutively feels wrong, it can be corrected by applying principals of balance. If you don’t know exactly how to remedy the problem experiment and see how changing things affects the way you feel.