Put Some Feelings into Ceilings – How Interior Design Lifts Our Mood

Our homes have long been our castles. And in the last two years, they’ve had to be everything else too. Our homes have also had to work overtime as gyms, office spaces, coffee shops and entertainment destinations. Now, as we emerge back into the world, it’s time to restore our homes to their rightful place. To do that, we’re going to need lots of colour, writes Garry Cohn of COHN Design.


Garry Cohn

A leading figure in the creative industry, New Yorker Garry’s 30-year career has spanned many disciplines and continents. His style has been described as the ‘haute couture’ of the interior design world and one that exhibits an intelligent use of style, form and function. His natural talent and discerning eye for detail not only helps to distinguish him as an individual, but also differentiates his clients from the competition. His diverse experience and innate intuition bring an informed and unique creative flair to all projects.

The psychology of interior design

As architects and designers know, interior design is about way more than where you hang a picture. Rather, interior design leans heavily on the principles of psychology. So, when we think of the isolation of the last two years, hopefully now receding, who among us couldn’t have used a hug to lift spirits? The good news is that our homes can provide this hug every time we walk in the front door. But for too long, we have ignored the ‘key hugger’ in our homes.

Our ceilings

Unless we’re in a majestic old building or monumental cathedral, most of us don’t look up to take note of a ceiling. We really take into our vision everything at eye-level – and remain oblivious to the rest. As a result, ceilings can remain an afterthought. But, the moment we move things to eye level, we change the whole look of a room. And, perhaps more importantly, taking into account the new (cautiously optimistic) post-pandemic world we are moving into, we change the feel of a room too.

Look at the whole ensemble

Ceilings are part of a room. Taking into account their area space, they’re actually a really significant part of a room. In fact, ceilings are the forgotten wall. In any space, a ceiling will take up more than 50% of clear, visible space in a room. However, they often get looked at as a separate element (as well as an afterthought).

When we think of how ceilings make up an integral part of a space, we approach them differently. One of my favourite ways to work with ceilings is to drop them down around 300mm on the wall. Once that is done, we have a ceiling that is closer to eye level. And it’s easily done with paint! Immediately, the room feels cosier and more alive. Even bigger spaces that may be sparsely furnished feel cosier. The room now envelops you.

Every colour is worth exploring

We’ve had a lot of white ceilings over the last while. As we explore the pandemic’s effect on design trends in the forthcoming years, I’d also put smart money on the fact that we’re going to see lots of white paint for a bit still. But then the roaring ‘20s will kick off in earnest with an explosion of colour.

If we look at the trends and patterns we saw after the Spanish Flu pandemic; we will see this play out. Our emergence from the pandemic will not be linear. It’ll look more like a tango with two steps forward and a step back at times, but we are coming out of it.

Due to the feelings (again, psychology) that the colour white invokes in people, white paint is an obvious choice in many ways. It speaks of cleanliness, among other things, which reassures people. This makes perfect sense as we overcome a virus. Yet, colour is already beginning to make its presence felt. We’re entering a time of rebirth and rejuvenation, and we want to connect with each other again. In this regard, economists, politicians and designers are all on the same page. We’ll be experiencing the roaring ‘20s before the decade is out.

Forward-thinking homeowners, brands and businesses are already bringing colour into their premises in a big way. Don’t be scared to do this. Firstly, it’s just paint. If a colour doesn’t work, or a client truly doesn’t like it, you can paint again using another colour easily. However, secondly, when you incorporate scale and proportion into your design, bold colours mix and match beautifully.

These photos show how explosive colour has been used for a recent project I worked on called the Style Club. This is a stylish and trendy hair salon in one of Dublin city’s exclusive postcodes. You’ll see I used every colour in the crayon box. This was the maddest approach to design I have taken in a long time, and I loved every minute of it. Better yet, so did the client. But it works because we have all the elements performing together – style, proportion and colour. This can be done in homes too.

You don’t need a commercial space to make a big impact. You’ll see from the photos that even a small part of the ceiling in a home can deliver a ‘hug’ every time you walk into a room. And that sounds like royal treatment to me.

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