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Boost Your Mood with Smart Updates to Your Home

 

Boost Your Mood with Smart Updates to Your Home

Despite today's challenging economy - and perhaps because of it - improving the ambiance of our homes and offices is a simple way to fight the doldrums and boost morale.

According to internationally renowned architect and designer Lauren Rottet, the interiors we live in have a powerful impact on our mood and well-being, particularly in winter when we spend more time indoors. Rottet says simple design elements such as natural light and architectural style can contribute to a home's positive atmosphere, improving one's state of mind and overall lifestyle. Although she designs prestigious buildings and interiors around the globe, her easy tips can make any work or living space a personal sanctuary - without breaking the bank. Some of Rottet's ideas include:

Embrace Architectural Style

A space's intrinsic architectural features serve as an interior design roadmap, reflecting regional style, climate, culture and way of life. Rottet encourages letting the building's structure and design details dominate, creating authentic ambiance. For Georgian Colonial architecture, for example, accentuate the formal ambiance of prominent fireplace mantles and decorative columns. With Mediterranean architecture, let courtyards and arched doorways and windows brings indoors and outdoors together.

"Style is the inherent personality and natural context for individual decorating expression," Rottet says. "Highlight the features of your space and embrace its architecture." Enhance Natural Light and View. Sunlight and outdoor views are vital for successful interiors - and practically free. Whether windows are large or small, with southern or northern exposure, light and views can be dramatically altered through shading, drapes and other window treatments.

"Natural light makes any personal space feel warm and comfortable," Rottet says. "And by making outdoor views part of the interior composition, we instantly add dimension to a room."

Feature Art and Self-Expression

Interiors are an opportunity to express personal style, Rottet says. This can be as simple as deliberate placement of personally selected objects - paintings, lamps or memorabilia - transforming the space into something unmistakably one's own.

"This is the most important design message," Rottet says. "When a space feels personal, it generates positive feelings for those within - which means a lot in these trying times."

Rottet's recommendations come at a great time for homeowners who favor a green remodel to enhance lifestyle and boost mood. According to the National Association of Home Builders, expanded tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements in the new economic stimulus package puts more money in consumers' pockets by providing financial incentive for homeowners to go green on their renovation projects in 2009 and 2010. While more efficient homes save on water and energy bills, these tax credits will make such home upgrades even more affordable.

Go Green in Remodeling

The new tax credit also aligns with industry research indicating that even the most aggressive efficiency goals for new homes won't make a dent in overall energy consumption.

"Instead, remodeling and retrofitting the nation's older homes is by far the more efficient solution," says NAHB Remodelers Chairman Greg Miedema, a remodeler from Tucson, Ariz. "These new tax credits are another way that the home building industry can combat the potential effects of global climate change by encouraging homeowners to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes."

A 2008 California study revealed that 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions related to single-family home energy consumption could be attributed to homes built before 1983. The bottom line: Retrofitting existing homes with energy-efficient features is four to eight times more carbon- and cost-efficient than adding further energy-efficiency requirements to new housing, the study showed.

And, as Rottet notes, improvements made to the interiors we live in have a powerful impact on our mood and well-being.

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