Happy MediumWith happy-go-lucky hues like honeysuckle pink, it's never been easier to organize with mood in mind
Get happy - that's the collective message home- and interior-products makers are telling folks this year.
The world has been a pretty tough place for the past decade, racked by war and recession.
For 2011, expect to see some "happy" colors in everything from dishes to furniture to throw pillows, says Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute who also writes the morealivewithcolor.com blog. The Pantone Institute, which tracks color trends, declared honeysuckle pink its 2011 Color of the Year because "it's an instant pick-me-up," Eiseman shares.
But color is just one way to add a dose of cheer.
Of course, just as each of us defines happy in our own terms, mood boosters are a matter of individual taste.
Still, experts can point to several themes that make a home a happy refuge:
Clear and Comforting
Sure, a bright throw tossed over a sofa can lift your mood - but only if the view isn't obscured by piles of unread mail or other anxiety-inducing clutter.
"What do we want to see, and what do we hide?" asks Seattle architect Milan Heger. Developing an "aesthetic discipline" to get in the habit of clearing away clutter is the primary step towards a happy home, he says. "First we create a good way to store objects," Heger says. Book shelves, cabinets or even neat piles keep the distractions in their place, he adds.
Organization clears your space, which in turn clears your mind.
Our own reluctance to organize is the only obstacle in the way to clear-headedness. Combine another mood lifter - namely color - to spur yourself into action.
Kate S. Brown, a certified professional organizer in Sarasota, Fla., shares that colorful organizing tools and files prompt people who hate to put objects in their place or file get started. "For instance, I've seen people who have purchased photo files in a color that coordinates with their room get really excited about using the files - and then after they're through they're even more satisfied," Brown shares.
Emotion-enhancing hues vary according to the individual and with the space involved, underscores Anitra Mecadon, host of the DIY Network series "Mega Dens."
"For example, red is a passionate color that stimulates the senses - it's great for adding life to an active room," says Mecadon. On the other hand, Mecadon adds, you can achieve happiness with "some great soothing earth tones, or pale shades of green-blue, which are peaceful and calming."
Eiseman adds, "Our favorite colors in surroundings always make us feel better. Each color has a different effect, but all bright colors can give us a lift."
Take time to smell the roses. And put them in a vase. And set them out where you'll view them often.
Scientific studies, like one recently conducted by Rutgers University, find that flowers prompt immediate positive responses, and are even related to better social behaviors and memory skills. Moreover, the researchers find the boost is likely to last even after the bloom fades a bit. The Rutgers study finds women who received flowers reported more positive moods three days later.
Just as you may need a break from your routine to rev up your spirits, adding a dose of difference to a couple of rooms every season can rev up the senses.
"Utilize new candles, colors and scents," suggests Kristin Andress, who runs the Web site imaginebeing.com. "Add different throw pillows to the couch or a lively rug to your foyer. The energy of your rooms will improve with simple changes here and there."
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