How Interior Design Affects Mental Health

The subtleties of interior design can have huge impacts on our mental health, in ways we often don’t fully understand. Now more than ever, people are relying on their home environments to boost their moods and overall sense of well-being. In this post I will explore the elements of design, from colour to the presence of nature, that helpt to reduce anxiety and make us feel at home.

Space and balance

The impact of ceiling height on individual’s sense of freedom or confinement plays a huge role in affecting our mental wellbeing. A study by InformeDesign found that the height of the ceiling impacts subject’s subconscious perception of space and environment. It further proved that people are more creative and focused in rooms with higher ceilings, and their mood is significantly improved.

Feng Shui also states that the furniture should be arranged in a way that does not create “dead space” (furniture arranged against the wall), since it creates negative energy. A seamless flow of the elements in the room allows the energy to flow around the space. Balance should always be more important than symmetry in order to create a space that encourages positive mental wellbeing.

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My design on Roomstyler.com

Colour psychology and mental health

The basic principles of colour psychology are long-wavelength colours, like reds, oranges and yellows, are stimulating, and short wavelength colours, greens, blues and purples, are soothing. White is bright and can create a sense of space or add highlights. Designers often use the colour white to make rooms seem larger and more spacious. Yellow and orange create a sense of energy, warmth and happiness in a home. Red is the usual “bad guy” of interior design, because although it can raise energy when used in smaller amounts, it can appear hostile and increase anxiety when used as the main color of the room. Blue hues are often used in bedrooms because they are associated with serenity and calmness. Green is a symbol of growth of nature which gives off a calming and peaceful feeling. Whereas purple is the symbol of royalty and wealth and pink shades signify romance and kindness.

It is often a good idea to use colours in a room that will enhance the room’s purpose. For example, use green to promote concentration in your home office. You can find out more about colour psychology here.

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(Image Credit: Pexels)



Nature and mental wellbeing

In the 1980s, the biologist E. O. Wilson coined the term biophilia to refer to the ways that humans need and seek out connections with nature, and studies have found that elements of the natural world or even reminders of them have a positive effect on mental and physical health. Biophilia refers to the incorporation of daylight, free-flowing air, organic materials, plants, even wildlife–into houses and workspaces.

Simple things such as using organic materials like wooden flooring and furniture help to create a feeling of being grounded in your environment and surrounded by nature. Feng Shui also links wooden elements are to health and personal growth, so it’s a win-win.

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My design on Roomstyler.com

Organisation and mental health

A cluttered or disorganised home negatively impacts both your mental and physical health. One of the biggest reasons why homes are disorganised is because the owner simply has too much stuff. All the unfinished projects, and piles of “to dos” may be contributing to your stress and anxiety. But getting rid of things you don’t need doesn’t need to be time consuming. Simply take a few minutes each day to sort out an area of your home/ pile of objects.

As you work hard to clear away the piles and never-ending projects, your brain will rest easy and make it easier for you to feel relaxed and happy. An organised interior space has surprising benefits such as improving sleep, reducing stress, improving relationships, reducing depression and anxiety and improving productivity. Most surprisingly, living in an organised space helps you to make better food choices and stick to a workout regime, which will help you lose weight.

Self Care and mental wellbeing

Self-care is a broad term that refers to just about anything you to do be good to yourself. It’s partly about knowing when your resources are running low, and stepping back to replenish them rather than letting them all drain away. There are so many things you can do to your home to promote self care. If you have a spare room in yout home, why not turn it into a craft room, library or yoga studio. Even an empty corner can be easily transformed into a craft station, reading nook or meditation space.

Recently, Bathrooms have become a top spot for relaxation and self care with trends towards spa-inspired decor. For homeowners on a budget, an easy way to carve out a slice of bathroom serenity is with candles, essential oils, fresh flowers, relaxing music and recessed lighting.

Aubrey Bay Coconut Lime soy candle
(Image Credit: My photograph for Aubrey Bay)

While the impact of your interiors on your wellbeing is a personal thing, it is absolutely worth considering how the interior design tips above affect how you feel. Most tips above can be done on a tight budget and can easily make your home a more caring environment. Also, it’s worth noting that these tips will not cure mental health problems, rather create a space to promote positivity and wellbeing. If you are really struggling with your mental health, please go and speak to a medical professional.

Speak to you soon,

Eve x

31 thoughts on “How Interior Design Affects Mental Health

  1. Love this post Eve! Interiors can definitely play a role in my mood. I hate declutter so when things are disorganised and cluttered, my mind tends to be all over the place. Plants definitely make me feel calmer too!

    1. This is such an intriguing concept! I particularly enjoyed the colour psychology section and each colour alongside their meanings. Food for thought as I prepare for stepping onto the property ladder in the coming years.

      1. Thanks Paris. Colour psychology is so interesting. There are so many fab colour psychology websites for further reading as I only touched on it briefly x

    2. Thank you Jenny. I definitely notice this too, I’m much more positive when my flat is tidy and organised. Plants are a fab way to boost your mood, they look great too which is an added bonus x

  2. Such an interesting post, Eve. When we lived in Bath we lived in a first floor Georgian building with super high ceilings and I always felt I was living in a hall. Now we live in a more modern house with normal height ceilings and I have to say I do prefer it. I like being cosy and snug! 🙂

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    1. Thank you Lisa. I completely agree, I feel quite overwhelmed in rooms with high ceilings. It’s crazy how much little things can affect your mood and wellbeing x

    1. Thanks for reading Kelly. Low ceilings can negatively affect mood as they make you feel contained. It’s amazing how much of a difference little things can make x

  3. This is a fascinating concept! I love the idea that how we live, the colors that surround us and how what surrounds is is arranged affects us. I like to have open spaces and happy places to sit; dark nooks and stuffed crannies always make me feel stuffed.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Thank you Jaya. Colour has such a profound affect on our mood – it’s really interesting. I agree with you that dark spaces make me feel very cramped and enclosed.

  4. This was an interesting read. Our living room is in earth tones, browns and greens, and I have always found it to be a very calming room. However, I find that my office energizes me and helps me to tap into the mentality necessary to dominate my business, and it’s black, white and red. It’s funny – I teach the impact of colours in marketing but never stopped to consider the impact it would have in the design of my rooms.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this post. Earthy tones are so on trend right now and feel very natural and calming. That’s really cool, colour psychology can be used for so many purposed.

  5. Such a fascinating post to read – it’s so important that our homes are a place for relaxation and escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life. (You’ll be pleased to hear that I do not have any red in my home!)

    1. Thanks so much. Yes our homes need to be a place to escape the daily grind so it’s important to consider how we can create that. Great! Red is a difficult colour to use as it is so bold and can easily overpower a room x

  6. Normally I would think that this is not a factor, but we recently bought a brand new home that was painted brown completely throughout. We repainted the whole inside and notice a better feeling all around. Thanks for this great post.

    1. Thanks for reading Geri. Colours have such a string psychological impact on us, most of the time we don’t even realise it. I’m glad you enjoyed this post x

  7. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately! I’m an artist and I am
    constantly pinning beautiful interior design that inspires me, yet my house is a mess and not pulled together at all! I’m super busy with work and kids so I choose making art in my in my free time rather than working on our space, but I wish I could just pause my whole life, get my house in order and make it a fun and relaxing intentional space! Since we’re here a lot more these days!!!

  8. The effects our homes have on us are largely defined by how we use and live within them. Many objects and elements inside a house can have a significant impact on one’s mood.

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