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Landscape Feng Shui

Creating Value in Homes

Materials Matter
When we think about our Home Value, we always refer to its location and floor area. But what we don’t think about is its Psychic Value, the value of how much we cherish our homes and the value we place on a property when we resell it.

But how do we gauge this ‘premium’ for a home, as no two people will ever cherish the same space the same? It is helpful then to set some ground rules on how to determine this psychic value. Remember, there are plenty of properties in the same location with similar floor areas, but with different price tags. Our aim is to create an environment that enhances both psychic and monetary value of the space.


Materials to Create Value

First, we have to determine what sets your home apart from the rest. When we talk about materials, the choice, size and design of each material would affect the perception of how much we pay for the space. For example, a living room with 1ft and 2ft size ceramic tiles would give a different perception of the space. Larger-sized tiles tend to be associated with a higher perceived value, while 1ft-sized tiles are typically a lower-grade option. While the price difference between the two selections is minimal, the change of tile size creates a higher psychic value for the home.

The next item to consider is the pattern on the ceramic tiles. With today’s technology, ceramic can feature an array of patterns and finish, ranging from terracotta to timber to marble effect tiles. For main living spaces, the use of a marble effect tile creates a sense of a higher quality finish compared to a monotone ceramic tile finish. Similarly, the tiling pattern also affects our perception of the space, e.g. in bathrooms, a staggered tiling layout breaks up the monotony of the space.

Bathrooms Count
Believe it or not, bathrooms tend to form a major decision in the valuation of the home. For most willing buyers, the less work required on the bathroom, the quicker the time it would take to move in. So a minimal investment to enhance the bathrooms could lead to further returns at the end of the day.

Second, the choice of the material texture will also affect the comfort level of the space. For example, when comparing a natural timber floor to a laminate flooring system, visually we may not notice the difference, but the tactile nature of both elements reminds us of the difference of a higher or lower grade material choice.

Similarly with carpets, the difference between wool and nylon and the difference in weight and padding thickness all affects our perception of the comfort level.
It is this vital comfort level that affects how we appreciate a space, which then translates to how much people are willing to pay for such spaces. So when we think about how materials can affect the value of a house, consider how simple material selections can have a huge impact in the overall perception and value of the home.


Clumsy Transitions
In this example above, the contrast of the two material choices is overwhelming as there is no seamless transition between the two areas, which then creates a conflict between the two spaces. So while both materials may be of high quality, the use is counterproductive in this case. In such a scenario, the use of a softer tone element such as carpets or neutral white oak timber flooring would have worked better in creating a flow between the two areas, rather than a conflict as in this case. By creating this invisible barrier, the use of the materials here has instead shrunk the perception of the space as well as its value.

Contrast Creates Harmony
In this example above, the use of ceramic tiles is balanced through the introduction of a central carpet cover. The rug helps to break the monotony of the room and also gives the space a sense of arrangement. While simple in concept, the arrangement and colour selection of the furniture helps to add a higher perceived value in the mind.

Materials to Create Moods
The next design consideration is to look at how materials can affect our mood. First we need to understand that everything surrounding us has an effect on our perception of the space. So when we look at hard materials such as ceramic tiles or natural stone, there is an automatic association to a more “public” space. Similarly, carpets and timber tones tend to create a more “homely” effect, but what is interesting is that too much of one kind of material creates monotony, and thus gives off too much hard, yang energy.

The secret is to balance these materials out by introducing a compatible material, or through the use of furniture and colours. Consider the two examples to the right here and at the bottom of the next page. The first living space (right) exhibits a very monotone effect where the timber flooring has created hardness with no sense of comfort. The second image on the next page illustrates how too many accents of the same material has its own drawbacks; the timber strips and ceiling patterns generate too much confusion as there is too much information for the mind to accept. In both cases, the inner appreciation for the space turns negative, which then translates into an erratic and confused state of mind.


Colour Selection Can Make or Break a Space
In the picture above, the key elements of the design form associations throughout the space without one element or material dominating over another. The carpet in the middle of the room helps to center the orientation of the furniture, but what is fundamental is the colour selection. By introducing a neutral tone, the colour does not create any confrontation with the two dominating colours, which are mainly white and black. The neutral beige tone is further highlighted due to the contrast of the colours.

The furniture selection also brings balance to the room. The white sofa set is complimented by the flooring and drapes, while the black furniture pieces accent the black wall-papered feature wall. Here we can see how giving simple consideration to the colours and how they go together can create such a marked difference to balance and appeal.

So when we look at materials, consider how a mix of different colours can create the most appealing or the most appalling of spaces in the home. The next time you select materials for the home, always give thought to size, material and patterns, and how these would enhance the value and comfort level of the space. Above all, once you have selected the materials, consider how you can enhance your space even further to create the right mood, as a happy home really does create a happy life, better rental income and better asset appreciation.




The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World ( November/December 2011)". To subscribe, please click here.