• Dominique Michelle Vidal

How Interior Design Impacts Your Mental Health

INTERIOR DESIGN CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON MOOD


After a long day at work, we all return home exhausted. Perhaps you've encountered an issue at work. Maybe you had an argument with a family member. It's possible that you lost a crucial game for your sport. Or perhaps you even lost a loved one. When we are stressed, we instinctually seek out security and familiarity.


The personal spaces in our homes set the tone for many of our life's events. And because these areas are the setting for so many important and stressful periods in life, it’s crucial that your personal spaces comfort, support, and provide positive emotional energy.




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While most of our lives are beyond our control, our house is one location where we have complete authority. The way you furnish your home, paint your walls, and organize your items will all have a huge impact on your sense of security and well-being, whether you choose a minimalist approach or believe in the “more is more” school of home design.


This is particularly evident in children. Kids build nests in their rooms for no apparent reason. They decorate their rooms and beds with the things they enjoy. They want their space to feel individualized, but also secure and free of parental or sibling influence. A “keep out of my room” sign is more of an attempt to create a private haven than it is defiance.



CAN INTERIOR DESIGN IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH?


Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health issues, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Many interior design ideas and approaches, on the other hand, have been found to alleviate stress and despair. While the idea of a link between home design and emotional stability isn't new, recent research has backed up these claims. The connections are well-documented in the healthcare industry. Creating places to be together and apart can help people's mental health.


The psychological consequences of interior design are also taken into account in the corporate sphere. Color, lighting, layouts, textures, and artwork are used by corporate designers to create inspiring, uplifting spaces that promote efficiency, creativity, happiness, trust, and even intimidation. Business designers think about mindset just as much as they think about aesthetics.


According to Chloe Taylor of the magazine Psychology Tomorrow,

“Although the bond between interior design and our emotions has gained much attention in the last decade, this form of environmental psychology exists for thousands of years now – the Indian Vastu Shastra, the Chinese Feng Shui, etc. Because of the rise of neuroscience, scientists are doing plenty of research on this topic and finding the most incredible results. They have shown the ability of interior design elements to evoke a positive or negative emotional response in people. These findings open the door to design spaces that consciously manipulate decorative elements with the goal of encouraging creativity, peace, and happiness.”

While many aspects of interior design have been linked to better mental health, there are a handful that appear to be emphasized again. Sunlight, space, plants and flowers, natural elements, color, and artwork have all been examined extensively. Each of these design components, when implemented effectively, can help to create an environment that is conducive to lowering stress, anxiety, and depression.




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DESIGNING ROOMS WITH SUNLIGHT IMPROVES YOUR MOOD


A brightly lit environment is pleasing to the eye, but did you know that sunlight also helps to alleviate depression? Sunlight is a mood enhancer, whether it comes from the outdoors or through a window. In fact, allowing more sunlight into rooms can make people happier. A lack of sunlight might make you melancholy or make you anxious. Humans appear to be energized and motivated by sunlight at home and at work. According to a 2002 study, daylight was one of the most important elements in raising retail sales volume.


While several studies have shown the psychological and physiological benefits of natural light, one study found that employees who had access to natural light outperformed those who did not have sunlight in their workspaces. Furthermore, when persons were forced to work under artificial light, they displayed a qualitative lack of vitality as well as indicators of bad sleep.



EXPANDING THE SPACIOUSNESS OF YOUR HOME CAN EXPAND YOUR SPIRIt


One of the fundamental components of happier settings appears to be a sense of spaciousness. Most people prefer spacious rooms over smaller rooms, but not everyone realizes that a feeling of spaciousness can also improve your mood. According to one study, people are more creative and their mood improves when they are in rooms with higher ceilings. The benefits of spaciousness can, nevertheless, be attained in rooms with lower ceilings.


The first step toward creating spacious rooms and residences is to declutter. Room layouts, furniture placement, storage solutions, and color palettes all play a role in creating an open and breezy atmosphere. According to one study, room organization is a key component of a serene, relaxing house. Anxiety was minimized in spaces that were easy to navigate and also had furniture layouts that encouraged social interaction. The use of furniture arrangement and the function of furniture pieces assisted in the creation of psychologically healthy places in all room sizes.




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PLANTS AND FLOWERs IMPROVE MOOD


Bringing nature into the home improves moods, and using house plants and flowers is one of the most efficient methods to do it. According to Texas A&M University research, the presence of plants increased concentration, memory retention, and stress reduction.


Houseplants act as natural air filters, lowering allergens and improving air quality. They also improve air quality by increasing oxygen levels, regulating humidity, and looking beautiful. It's no surprise that they make people feel more at ease and in control.

Flowers can also help to improve one's mood. Flowers, in fact, can help to alleviate depression and enhance pleasant sensations in the house. Flowers have a calming, relaxing influence on humans in addition to their aesthetic beauty. Flowers are not only a lovely complement to any space, but they also make people feel better.



INTRODUCE THE ELEMENTS: WATER, WIND, FIRE, METAL, AND THE EARTH


People in their houses feel more comfortable and less stressed when they have access to natural light, space, plants, and flowers. It's no surprise that all of these ingredients are natural. Mankind has attempted to bring the beauty and calming influence of nature into the house throughout history. People have been bringing nature indoors for thousands of years, whether it's through animal furs, woven grass mats, or Christmas trees.


Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art that honors the natural elements of earth, water, wood, metal, and fire through designs and textures. These features can be incorporated in a variety of ways in today's home. Water is celebrated in fountains and pools, but mirrors and reflective surfaces provide some of the same benefits. Wind is brought in via fans and open windows, but fast-moving textiles and mobiles also provide some of the psychological benefits of wind. We can introduce fire into the room with the help of a fireplace and candles. Iron, brass, silver, wood, and stone all contain metal and earth.


A healthy, happy home should make it easier to soothe using the elements, in addition to literal architectural interpretations. Deep baths and rain showers, for example, allow us to use water in therapeutic ways. Stone can be used as a decorative element as well. Sunrooms and screen porches enable us to create comfortable internal areas that connect the inside and outside.



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TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH, USE COLOR IN YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN


Color is one of the most well-known mood-altering design aspects. Color is an important part of many people's world experiences. Our present understanding of psychology extends back to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's publication of Theory of Colors in the 1800s. Researchers and interior designers have continued to reevaluate and change their perspectives on color's impact. Colors' saturation and brightness are important components in their emotional impact, in addition to the psychological features and benefits attributed to them. Saturation refers to the color's purity. Less vivid hues, for example, contain more grey or black. Steel blue is less saturated than true blue.


The amount of white in a color, or how light it appears, determines its brightness. Colors that are bright are less saturated. These lighter, paler tones can help you relax. True red, for example, is connected with worry, whereas a soft, blush pink, which is both less saturated and brighter, is calming. Colors like emerald green, which are highly saturated and less brilliant, might feel strong or invigorating.




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Reds, yellows, and oranges are referred to as "warm colors," whereas greens, blues, and purples are referred to as "cool colors." These classifications aren't coincidental. We feel physiologically warmer when we are in rooms with warm colors. Colors that are cool help us feel cooler. That's why reds are so popular in the winter, whilst turquoise and teal are more popular in the summer.


And of course, each color has associated psychological effects. Decades of research confirm that some colors consistently evoke certain emotional responses.

  • Red is the color of anger, passion, and power. It also makes you hungry (which is why it is such a popular color in restaurants.) Because red is a warm hue, red accents can quickly warm up a room. Red, on the other hand, is connected with wrath and control. If you're attempting to achieve a calming effect, don't use too much red in your home. It can make people feel uncomfortable or restless.


  • Orange is associated with energy, sports, competition, and innovation are all connected with the color orange. It's another warm tone that may instantly make a room feel cozier. However, because orange is such a vibrant color, it is rarely utilized as a primary color in interior design. It's more common in places like offices and sports facilities. Orange isn't the hue to choose if you're trying to create a peaceful environment, but when used correctly in interior design, it can be a mood booster.


  • Yellow is the only warm color linked with relaxation. It is linked to feelings of joy, creativity, and innocence. Yellow is frequently used in kitchens, children's rooms, and private spaces of the home since it is also connected with nurturing. Yellows that are less intense blend well with neutrals to create a soothing appearance. Yellow can also be used in sunny areas to enhance the impact of the sun.


  • Green is a relaxing and pleasant color. It is connected with nature, balance, and harmony. It's also the hue of rebirth and progress. Green is frequently utilized in professional settings to help people relax. That is why performers who are scheduled to appear on television are kept in a "green room." Green can provide a soothing and calming effect in the home. A little green, on the other hand, goes a long way. Saturated greens may rapidly overpower a space, making it appear damp or dismal. Bright greens, such as apple greens, make a room appear joyful, but if used frequently, these colors can become overwhelming. Greyish greens, sage tones, and khakis, on the other hand, generally read as neutral colors and help to create a calm environment.


  • Blue is a color that conveys freshness, calmness, and tranquillity. It's a professional-looking color that's conservative and organized. It's often used in hospitals and financial institutions. Saturated blues, on the other hand, conjure oceans and water and go beautifully with brilliant whites. Blue is also connected with melancholy (feeling blue), thus it might not be the best hue to use to combat depression. Finally, studies suggest that blue is one of the least appealing colors, which may explain why it isn't utilized as often in kitchens and restaurants.


  • Purple is a rich color that conveys feelings of opulence, privilege, and exclusivity. It is a sacred color associated with divinity in many religions. It's also a color that conjures up images of uniqueness, innovation, and even eccentricity. Purple is a unique color to employ in a home, making it a bold statement. Lavender, or pale purples, is seen to be feminine, delicate, and pleasant. Purples with a lot of saturation, like eggplant, are quite powerful. People may become depressed if they are exposed to too much dark purple. Using too much purple, regardless of the hue, makes certain people irritated and haughty, according to studies.


  • Gray accents in home decor can generate neutrality and balance when used correctly. It can be used as a neutral because it is a balance between black and white. Many grays, however, are actually shades of blue, green, yellow, or even purple, thus it's crucial to consider the tonality of any gray. Gray has a negative meaning in color psychology, as it is associated with depression, loss, and boredom. Gray-dominated spaces might feel cold and unwelcoming.


  • Brown is a color that appears frequently in nature. Brown, according to studies, promotes thoughts of strength and dependability in a home. Brown may give a place a sense of trustworthiness, security, and safety. Brown can be found in many areas in the form of wood furniture or cupboards. In rooms with a lot of brown wood, using brown on the walls, floors, or furniture might make the area feel heavy, unimaginative, or dull. Browns, greens, whites, and neutrals work well together to create a peaceful, happy atmosphere.


  • Black is often mistakenly represented as the absence of color; nevertheless, black absorbs all light in the color spectrum, making it a mixture of all colors. When you mix a lot of leftover paint colors together, you usually get black. According to color psychology research, black generates a wide range of emotions. It is frequently associated with death, unhappiness, and enigma. It's the hue of refinement, seriousness, intellectualism, and sexuality, among other things. Because black is a somber color, it's frequently utilized as an accent. Black materials, when utilized sparingly, can help to generate a sense of tranquility and equilibrium in a space. Using a lot of black in a room might make it look more strong, dramatic, or essential.


  • White is a popular neutral hue in most homes. White is the most common ceiling color, and white is also the most popular wall color. White reflects light, making spaces appear brighter, larger, and more expansive. It also inspires ideas of purity, innocence, and cleanliness. Too much white, on the other hand, can feel sterile or tasteless. Interestingly, just a small percentage of people say white is their favorite color. It is, nevertheless, a simple hue to deal with in home design. White can be used with any color, whether it's dark, light, brilliant, or saturated. Because white provides a practical backdrop for statement pieces such as artwork or sculptures, many museums feature white walls. Importantly, on white, flaws are easily seen.


While there is a lot of research that reveals how most individuals react to different colors, personal experience with a color takes precedence over social standards. Our emotional responses to colors are influenced by our personal histories. While white is the color of choice for American brides, it is also the color of death in several cultures. Red may brighten you up and help you feel content as an adult if you had a carefree, joyful childhood in a bright red room. Purple may signify compassionate indulgence and boost your appetite if your adored grandmother's kitchen was brilliant purple. So, whether your color associations are consistent with studies or you've established a unique personal association, make sure the colors you chose for your house create a soothing and relaxing environment. If you find yourself avoiding certain areas in your house, changing the color scheme is one of the simplest ways to make them feel more friendly.



MOOD IS AFFECTED BY ART IN THE HOME


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Many studies have shown that looking at art can improve your mood and mental health. Some art, on the other hand, evokes gloomy or negative feelings. The psychology of art, like that of color, is founded on societal standards. People's reactions to art are heavily influenced by their personal likes and experiences. However, we know that including beauty and personal expressions is one of the most effective methods to create welcome and soothing settings. An original masterwork or a low-cost print might be displayed in the home. Art includes pottery, ceramics, silver, sculptures, decorative objects, glassware, and even dish-ware.


Anxiety and tension can be reduced through creative expressions that align with your worldview. Viewing art is a clinically proven stress reliever. As a result, many types of mental health therapy include watching and making art. Viewing art has been shown to reduce stress levels, regardless of its pedigree or price tag. In fact, one way professionals lessen anxiety and depression symptoms is to view and create art.

Our brains are hardwired to recognize and respond to patterns, as well as to associate emotions with art and ornamental features. We create associations with various colors, shapes, pictures, and aesthetic expressions even as infants. Humans are drawn to artistic beauty, which manifests itself in various ways throughout cultures and time eras. The Islamic religion, for example, prohibits the depiction of humans and animals in art. Islamic art, on the other hand, continues to thrive in the shape of beautiful rugs, fretwork, and pottery. Eastern European art can be heavily and elaborately ornamented, whereas Japanese art prefers a minimalist style.




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Most people can appreciate the beauty in a wide array of art genres, regardless of their cultural heritage. According to a study from the United Kingdom, looking at art elicits some of the same emotions as falling in love.


Samantha Smithstein, Psy.D, reports in Psychology Today,

“Researcher Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London, discovered that viewing art gives the same pleasure as falling in love. Previous research into the effect of viewing art supports this effect. When patients in a hospital viewed art, it was found that their suffering was reduced, and it led to a speedier recovery. This type of research suggests that art could be used, in multiple contexts, to increase the welfare, mental health, and life satisfaction of the general public, young and old. Of course, artists and art lovers could have told us that… but perhaps this research will help everyone else see the value in art too.”


INTERIOR DESIGN TIPS TO TRY


Our interior designers try to create rooms that help our clients feel pleased, safe, and comfortable, based on results from studies, research, and psychology. Interior design that is matched to each person's specific history and emotions has been shown to improve mental health.


It's a good idea to analyze each room in your home if you're not sure if it's helpful to improve your mood. Consider how you feel when you pass through or spend time in that room. Do you enjoy spending your time there? Is it your go-to spot for unwinding after a long day? Do you find yourself avoiding particular rooms or pondering why you seldom spend time in them? Do you have a good night's sleep in your bedroom? Do you like to spend time in the kitchen? Is it a chore for your family to dine in the dining room, or does it feel like a chore?


Whether you feel interior design is important or not, all people have developed in such a way that they are sensitive to environmental cues. Productivity, closeness, efficiency, and even happiness can all be influenced by the design of your home. Every object in your home elicits an emotional reaction. The size of your home, the arrangement of the room, the lighting, the materials used, the presence of plants and flowers, the use of color, and the usage of art are all things that can help you boost your mood, focus, and reduce anxiety.

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If you aren't ready to hire a professional interior designer just yet, here are some suggestions for making your house a more relaxing and enjoyable environment.


1. Remove Clutter

The enemy of serenity is clutter. Go through your belongings and donate, gift, or dispose of clothes, cooking equipment, bedding, pictures, artwork, furniture, and other stuff you don't use, don't like, or don't have place for. If you haven't used it in a year, it's safe to assume you don't need it. “If it doesn't bring you joy, don't retain it,” is the second rule of thumb. Reorganize your storage after the clutter is gone to make it less obvious. If you don't use tiny appliances every day, try to find a spot to keep them so they don't clutter up your kitchen. Get a handsome basket to store old newspapers and magazines and recycle them often. Stash your makeup brushes, lotions, and shaving equipment in a basket under the sink. Clean counters and floors will increase your feelings of control and reduce anxiety.


2. Reconfigure Your Layout

Consider the layout of a room if it isn't working for you. Is it easy for you to enter and exit the room? Do you frequently have to go around items? Is the space tranquil and serene, or cluttered and disorganized? It's possible that the issue is "too much things," or that you may address your problems simply rearranging your furnishings. Experiment with fresh layouts and be creative. You might be shocked by how open and airy the new layouts feel.


3. Allow for More Light

Many of us have blinds, shades, curtains, or awnings covering our windows and doors. Consider how you can let more light in. Keep in mind that more sunlight improves your mood. Sheer drapes can be used instead of curtains. During the day, keep the blinds raised. Awnings should be removed from the outside. If you're concerned about privacy, you may obtain inexpensive, easy-to-install window film that lets light in while keeping information inside your home hidden. If you want extra emotional or physical warmth in the winter, store your curtains during the spring and summer and rehang them in the fall. Finally, if you have a naturally dark room, use mirrors, reflective surfaces, and small items with glittering surfaces, like cut crystal or hammered brass, to amplify any sunlight and provide the illusion of more light.


4. Add Plants and Flowers

Flowers and houseplants provide a variety of physical and mental health advantages. Make sure you have some live plants and fresh flowers in your home, even if it's tempting to use artificial equivalents. If you don't have a green thumb, go online for easy-care plants that will grow in a variety of light conditions. With a little effort, you can create pockets of greenery in your home that will help you physically and mentally breathe easier.


5. Incorporate the Elements

Using natural elements such as wood, stone, metal, water, wind, and fire to bring tranquility to any place is a definite way to do so. While some of these aspects may appear intimidating, tiny decorative things can be found in virtually any home store to help you get started. Get candles with flickering, artificial flames if you're afraid about fire. If you don't want to invest in an indoor fountain, use mirrors or glass to create the illusion of water. An appealing addition is a jar of river stones. Begin small and be inventive.


6. Consider Colors

What are the predominant colors in the space? Are you feeling peaceful and relaxed or scared and agitated as a result of them? Examine each color in your room and, if it doesn't "fit," modify or remove it. Even a minor color change or update can drastically improve the overall mood of a room.


7. Indulge in Art

The sight of bare walls might be gloomy. If your walls are feeling bare, consider adding a few prints that will brighten your day. Finding a look that speaks to you and makes you happy is subjective, so choose something that speaks to you and makes you happy. Don't stop at the walls, either. Consider incorporating other ornamental elements. On an empty hall table, place a little sculpture. Decorate your bathroom vanity with a lovely box. Between the books on your bookcase, tuck a lovely vase. To bring you delight, art does not have to be large or expensive. Look for pieces that speak to you and are appropriate for the way you live and want to feel in your home.




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WITH INTERIOR DESIGN, MAKE YOUR SPACE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY HOME


We all want a secure environment where we can feel safe and accepted. It's time to reassess your home's decor if you don't feel warm and welcomed when you walk in the door. Simple modifications in interior design can make a great difference in your mood, whether you live in a small apartment or a large estate. When you're ready for professional design advice, call us at (914) 672-6726 or send us an email at dominiquemichellevidal@gmail.com. We'll help you create a joyful home.

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