when being "moody" is a good thing

Before COVID-19 ushered in the work-from-home era (for most of us, that is) our homes represented the milestones in our lives. Instead of also having to serve as a workspace and conference room, our humble abodes were where we lived our private lives; where we laughed and loved; where we sipped our coffees; watched TNT's umpteenth airing of "The Shawshank Redemption" from the couch in our mismatched PJs; where we listened to podcasts while cooking dinner with friends. If our casas are going to serve virtually every purpose for the unforeseeable future, why not do it all in a home that's stylish? After all, birds use shiny objects to festoon their nests. Eons ago, cavewomen decorated their walls with paintings of epic beast hunts. Why not be like them? (Okay, okay. It's all an excuse. Look, I happen to like wallpaper and good art, okay? I admit it.)

But as cool as wallpaper and good art are, they should both be in aid of establishing mood and character. Mood and character can be established primarily by both lighting and color scheme.

Our homes can represent the many different aspects of our personalities -- the happy, the social, the reclusive, and the introspective.


Feast your eyes (pun intended) on these dream kitchens. When I see these photos, I'm reminded of just how important light is in accentuating mood and character. Even if you selected traditionally bright colors, like white or yellow, shadows can dilute that energy. Even if you paint with the blackest of blacks, a hearty dose of natural sunlight can save your space from looking as somber as a funeral.

Personally, I love four kitchens. But, in the end, only one thing matters: "how do I want to use the kitchen?"

Are you a dance-the-mamba-while-sautee'ing-some-spicy-shrimp type? Or are you a sip-wine-slowly-while-waiting-for-the-bolognese-to-reach-peak-perfection person? Moreover, what is the intimacy you want to achieve? If you plan on using the kitchen as an informal gathering room, then the "light and bright" approach might be the best way forward. However, if you want your kitchen to evoke intimate candle-lit meals with significant others, then go for the intimate look.

For a kitchen, I've cast my vote for "Bright and Airy". Bright and Airy: 1. Dark and Moody: 0.


What a difference light makes. The bedroom pictured on the left makes me want to fold laundry; the other wants me to snuggle and disconnect. Both use textiles and plants to add warmth and vibrancy, but function differently. However, I would never paint a bright sunlit room a dark, moody color and waste all that beautiful, natural light. Furthermore, I would shy away from painting an intimate, dark room a sunny shade... and lose its natural coziness.

I tend to gravitate toward a cozy bedroom, but here it looks like I'm tied: Bright and Airy: 1. Dark and Moody: 1.

living room

Plainly put: The living room is the new battleground for interior design. If you're blessed with an extra TV room, the living room just becomes, well, just another room. For me, however, it's the public gathering space for new friends and visiting guests.

The question then becomes "what mood do I want to invoke in this space?" Do I want my guests to feel like I'm about to serve them a glass of warm brandy or break out a game of Parcheesi? (Hint: room #1 is the brandy room). Both spaces feature plenty of light, a similar layout, use textiles and plants to create warmth, and -- let's face it -- look pretty doggone cool. Both feature velvet jewel-toned couches, shaggy Moroccan rugs, tall bookcases and sumptuous leather chairs.

In the end, it all comes down to your core personality. The living room, more than any other quarter, is meant to reflect how you (reader and designer) feels about the world. Whether that could be described as "jovial", "light", "intimate", or "warm", none is necessarily better than the other. Ultimately, you know in your heart which one represents you.

Final verdict? Bright and airy: 1. Dark and moody: 2.

"Dark and moody" wins! I guess I'm one moody lady. But I'm also light and happy. The point is I'm not always one thing all the time. Is anybody?

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