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.
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.
I will write a more in depth post about colour theory and psychology, but here is a helpful graphic to explain the basics:
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.
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.
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,