How your home design impacts your emotions and psychological health
We have known for decades now, through the work of architecture and environmental psychology that the space we dwell in impacts our perceptions, emotions and mental health. Science has slowly creeped into the architecture field, and I am here to share with you some ideas that might just make your home a little more pleasing.
Keep it compact
One of the mistakes we see our clients do is to think that just arraying their favorite furniture around them is enough. And there is nothing wrong with being surrounded by “art”. The problem lies when your eye is distracted by too many things in the room. Furniture pieces of different sizes and colors, as well as open shelves, can give the impression of “clutter”. And even if you are not aware of it, your brain is working overtime. Recent studies have shown that such visual distractions increase cognitive overload, drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus. It raises your stress level and according to some studies, it can even make you eat more (not a surprising coping stress mechanism). So, what you want to do is to keep the furniture compact and as little different pieces as possible. Also, try to reduce the open shelves to the best of your ability, so that the clutter inside does not influence you all the time. Also, this will reduce your home dusting time exponentially.
Use a color palette that will help you become more of who you want to be
Although researchers cannot agree on definite meanings of each color because it seems that colors mean different things for different groups of people, they do agree that colors have a meaning in our perception. This is important because as long as you understand yourself, you will be able to choose the colors that have the right meaning for you. The general consensus is though, that warm colors have a vibrant and exciting effect on us while cooler colors like blue and green have a more calming effect. Knowing this you might want to design your space with who you want to be in mind, not who you are. If you are a slow, lethargic kind of person…you might opt for a warmer palette to make you feel more energized. If you feel drained from your day and just want to retreat in your oasis of calm, that colder colors are for you. Use science to help you become the best version of you.
Patterns have a deep impact on human emotional experience especially because they use the underlying law of what we consider beautiful “ordered complexity”. As long as we can see the underlying pattern in a complex structure, we have a positive experience. As this research in “psychotextiles” tells us, the participants experienced more pleasure from repeating patterns and felt more excited by intense patterns. Patterns that mimic nature ( like plants or water movement) have the same effects on the brain as nature does: calm, content and a positive emotional state.
Understanding the latest research on human wellbeing and psychology is key to promoting human health flourishing. Design your environment wisely.