We spend most of our time indoors (especially these days), and we interact with the space that surrounds us. Everything from lighting and colors to scale and proportions addresses our senses and generates a spectrum of emotions. When approached in accordance with environmental psychology, interior design can induce warmth and safety, create a productive environment, improve sleep, and positively impact our overall mood.
To use the principles of environmental psychology in your home and create a feel-good living space, you’ll first want to learn how and why it works. We’re here to help you with that, so read on.
The Psychological Effects of Clutter
Consumerism and emotional attachment to things have led our homes to be overcrowded with both large and small items that could “mess with our minds.” The psychological effects of clutter are many, and they include:
- increased cortisol levels (more stress)
- feelings of low self-worth
- inability to focus
- troubles with regulating emotions – this is specifically problematic for kids who may experience behavioral changes
All of this should be taken seriously when designing your dream home. You need to be careful not to overwhelm the space with too many furniture pieces or decorative items.
The Relationship between Colors and Emotions
You’ve probably heard of color psychology. There are many clever things you can learn from this approach to colors.
Different colors evoke different emotions. For example, vibrant, saturated colors are linked to energy and motivation. However, there are many layers to this. Red is a vibrant color, but it is most commonly associated with anger and stress. Soft, gentle shades are believed to encourage relaxation and serenity. That’s why they are used most often in bedrooms.
You’ll certainly want to do your research before you decide on the color palette of your home, as the wrong choice can cost you your sleep or focus. And we all know that these problems don’t stop there, because loss of sleep leads to poor memory, and problems with concentration usually result in problems at work.
Human Beings Are Creatures of Nature
Humans are inseparable from nature. We aspire to be connected to it, even if some of us don’t think of ourselves as outdoorsy people. The presence of natural elements indoors has a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing. Here are some noteworthy elements we can borrow from Mother Nature to elevate our interiors, and, consequently, our mental wellbeing:
- Sunlight: Various studies have explored the effects of natural light on mental health. We can find proof from them that natural light improves mood, boosts productivity, and improves sleep. These are all good reasons to allow more sunlight into your home by expanding your windows or installing skylights.
- Wood: Wooden elements (floors, kitchen cabinets, furniture) bring warmth and peacefulness to interiors. Use them in abundance.
- Greenery: Indoor plants carry the same benefits as sunlight and wooden elements. In terms of aesthetics, they can help make an interior incredibly impressive.
- Other things you can borrow from nature to create an interior that improves or preserves mental health are water features, stone, and clay items.
The Power of Texture
Sharp angular textures evoke professionalism, focus, and accuracy. That’s why it’s no surprise that many large companies, hospitals, and other facilities mostly use these textural elements. On the other hand, soft and busy textures are often associated with the coziness of a home.
However, there’s no need to take this as a rule. The textures should be adapted to the specifics of each room. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, try out different things and see how you feel in that space with a particular texture.
Without personalization, a house or apartment is nothing more than a property. Family photographs, travel souvenirs, favorite books, artwork, and other things that are close to your heart, turn the space between the walls into a true home. Don’t shy away from spreading these items throughout your interior, but be careful not to create clutter.
Mental health is precious and fragile. It is affected by various factors, including our environment. Environmental psychology teaches us how we can adapt our home to create an atmosphere that is beneficial for our minds. Our tips will help you do that, so keep them in mind whether you’re decorating a brand new home or freshening up an old one.
About The Author: Holly Schaeffer is a long-time writer focusing on health, lifestyle, and home improvement. Originally from New Jersey, she moved to California to pursue a degree in creative writing. She now spends her days split between writing and raising her two young sons.
Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash
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