How your home design impacts your emotions and psychological health
The spaces we dwell in impact our perceptions, emotions and mental health. Four decades of research and the evolution of FMRI machines show more and more evidence of the interdependence between people and their environment. Science has slowly crept into the architecture field, and here are some exciting ideas that might help you design your home.
Keep it compact
One of the mistakes I see people make is to think that interior design is the arraying of their favourite furniture around them. 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 colours and open shelves can give the impression of “clutter”. 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 your mental resources and reduce the ability to focus. According to some studies, it can even make you eat more (not a surprising coping stress mechanism). The remedy against that is keeping the furniture compact and as uniform as possible. Also, reduce the open shelves so that the clutter inside does not influence you all the time. Also, this will reduce your home dusting time exponentially.
Use a colour palette that will help you become more of who you want to be
Researchers cannot agree on definite meanings to each colour because colours mean different things to different people. But they do agree that colours have a meaning for people. This idea is essential because you will choose the colours that have the correct meaning for you as long as you understand yourself. The consensus is that warm colours have a vibrant and exciting effect on us, while cooler tones 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, sluggish kind of person, you might opt for a warmer palette to make you feel more energized. If you feel drained from your day and want to retreat in your oasis of calm, colder colours are for you. Use science to help you become the best version of yourself.
Patterns have a profound impact on the human emotional experience. They use the underlying law of “ordered complexity” to influence what we consider beautiful. 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.