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Mood Swings

After all the dark days of winter, spring is a time of year when many people consider giving their homes a design lift. Ensuring your interiors work their positive mojo magic on your psyche is as important a consideration as choosing fashionable colours or on-trend furniture – a room isn’t just about ergonomics and function, it’s also about getting your mood swinging in the right direction.

Unlike the early days of home improvement in the 1960s when visiting the local hardware store for a couple of paint charts was about as exciting as it got, in 2020 we are inundated with options and ideas inspiring us to change our interiors. You can lose many hours of your life on Pinterest or flicking through Instagram in search of inspiration with a good chance you’ll be drawn down a different path and end-up watching an American talk show on IGTV instead. So perhaps the easy answer is to buy quality items for your home that in themselves are mood makers? A unique decorative piece here, a beautiful cabinet or mesmerising picture there can change the atmosphere of a room in an instant. Keeping that in mind, I looked through the House of Artusa’s website and picked four of my favourite mood makers …. and where better to begin than with lighting.—gloria—grey-2120-p.asp

If anything can change the mood of a room it’s the lighting. There are three categories of lighting to consider: Accent, Ambient and Task. Accent lighting showcases an object or highlights a wall, Ambient is the overall lighting and Task as you would imagine, is all to do with the right lighting for a task from cooking to reading in bed. Ambient lighting often ends-up being about covering a single light bulb rather than using this centre stage position to make a style statement, so choosing a shade like the divinely decadent Gloria from Coldharbour Lights will be certain to make everyone’s mood swing the right way. This shade demands attention, encourages frivolity and every time you stand beneath it you will feel its Art Deco-inspired luxury smiling down at you. But Gloria doesn’t take herself too seriously as her feathers and chains hint at a bohemian background and her overall appearance is as contemporary as tomorrow. There is also a little of the exotic about her which leads me nicely onto my second product choice, the Setola Chest of Drawers from Patience & Gough

Looking at this piece of furniture you might see a unique, creatively reinvented chest of drawers that has a distinctly retro vibe or tribal influences in the clever surface design, even the landscape of the Serengeti or a dash of abstract art. But what this wonderful item actually does is to draw you in and challenge you to extract the real story from behind the façade and to understand its unique character and provenance. Would I consider it to be a mood maker for the good? I have absolutely no doubt on that score.

As someone who along with interior design is fascinated by the history of the home (if you haven’t visited the Museum of the Home ( in Shoreditch next door to Hoxton station, then do just that when it reopens in the summer after two years of rebuilding), I enjoy introducing different interior design styles or objects from various historic periods to avoid single design era overkill.  The Distressed Stone Effect Resting Head ornament is a perfect example of a decorative piece that takes its influences from the classical world and reinterprets them in a uniquely modern way. It has something rather mysterious about it too,  graceful yet intriguing, making it a perfect decorative piece you will never tire of.—large-273-p.asp

And of course, the largest surface in a room – the walls – needs to be the most flexible mood maker of them all so when I discovered Kiki Slaughter’s Gold Safari wallpaper, I knew I had struck interior decor gold. The design is exciting and unexpected; one minute its mood references Ancient Greece, the next its all about the faded grandeur of a Baroque drawing room. In fact this amazing wallpaper design lends itself beautifully to a great many interior design styles from the classical to the theatrical to the unconventional, the difficulty comes in choosing just one.

And after all this talk about design style mood swings and evoking the kind of atmosphere that makes you want to linger, I’m ending this post on a self-indulgent note. The montage below includes all of the above mood makers plus an image that reflects my lifelong fascination with Japanese art and design. Taken from the Victoria & Albert website (, it forms part of the current V & A exhibition ‘Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk’, an event that is high on my list of visits because it’s a show that will most definitely swing my mood in the right direction.

Chris Billinghurst | March 2020


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