Lohnes: Connect to your home through colour, shine and texture


Create a holistic design that appeals to your senses.

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Holistic design is about making conscious design choices that affect how we relate to our space. It’s about recognizing that our choice of textures, colors, finishes and other elements determines how we will feel in our home.


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This approach has become more relevant in recent years as we have all been spending more time at home. I know I’ve noticed how elements increase or block my emotional connection to my space, so I’m sharing a few lessons I’ve learned. I know that if I put this hard-earned knowledge to use, I will be rewarded with a home that not only looks good but appeals to all my senses and is so much more personal and enjoyable. This is what makes successful design.


Color plays a big role in influencing how we feel in a room. Orange, purple, and red energize us, while green, blue, and teal, so abundant in nature, are known to have a calming, soothing effect. Balanced with warm neutrals like beige and brown (think bark, wood, stone – again so common in nature) a room can look stylish while the colors help calm the mind.


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To create a sense of serenity in my own living room (see photo above), I limited the palette to three colors: a main neutral color (caramel tones), an accessory color (teal) to add interest, and a color as Contrast with teal (gold). Limiting a palette to three colors keeps the mood calm but still interesting. Do you want to calm down your room? Try this 1-2-3 approach to simplify a decorating scheme.

Decorative cushions with shiny fabrics add shine and a reflective quality to a sofa. Antique Gold and Gray Pillow, $60, www.Homesense.ca


We often go through the home decorating process without giving much thought to the finish of any particular item we are bringing home. Wood floors are the most obvious: very matt waxed wood or high gloss are two choices when we are installing new floors.

A designer trick is to use glossy surfaces in dark or smaller rooms to reflect the light and matte surfaces in bright rooms for an easy on the eyes effect.


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But apart from the flooring, we often don’t think about how other elements such as paintwork or countertops affect our senses. For example, if you’re not a big morning person, you might want to avoid a high-gloss kitchen counter, which tends to reflect even more natural light off the windows.

A tufted or high-pile rug adds texture to the room and a tactile warmth underfoot.  Casablanca hand-tufted polyester shag, $440, www.ecarpetgallery.com
A tufted or high-pile rug adds texture to the room and a tactile warmth underfoot. Casablanca hand-tufted polyester shag, $440, www.ecarpetgallery.com


We consider touch in many stages of decoration: sofa fabrics, bed linen and towels are important when shopping for household products. Texture affects not only our sense of touch, but also the visual impact of a space. The perfect example is flannel sheets, which feel (and look) cozy, while satin cotton sheets feel cool on the skin and shine on the eye.

Do you want to add texture? Waffle-weave shower curtains and extra-thick towels soften hard surfaces common in bathrooms; a mattress pad and fluffy duvet add layers of sinking softness to the bed that you can both see and feel; textured pillows, chunky knit throws, and thick, deep rugs add comfort and coziness to the living room.

This winter I draped a very large faux fur throw over my desk chair to create an inviting place to sit during the time I spent at my desk (all that fur made me feel like Thor). But don’t take all this comfy advice solely for winter decorating—breathable cotton throws, sisal rugs, or slub linen will add tactile texture in the summer months.

Do you have a decorating dilemma or want more decorating tips? At Karl Lohnes you can follow Karl on Instagram.

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