How Interior Design Affects Mental Health

How we can use interior design knowledge through psychology to improve our emotional impacts on a space.

Did you know that the interior of our homes can have an affect on our mental health? Specific designs can create different affects emotionally that create different effects on our happiness, our attitudes, and even our body temperature in a space.

Designing an area with the right measurements isn’t just for furniture placement. This process can affect how we feel in a given area depending on how the space is designed. Spaces that are smaller in size can often lead to feelings of frustration and even loneliness. A great way to help avoid these feelings in smaller spaces it to keep them clutter free and bright. This creates a more cozy feel that doesn’t lead to feelings of unhappiness.
Picture this, you’re making dinner in the kitchen and using the counterspace to create your food, when someone else in your family walks past you to get to the fridge and bumps into you or has to squeeze past you due to the lack of space. How do you feel after reading that?
Annoyed, irritated, comes to mind right? This is where planning a space with enough egress around the area can help avoid these type of situations creating a comfortable setting where no one is running into one another.

This leads up to the function of a space. Designing a space with a specific intent can allow for an easier and more approachable plan. The function of a space is very important as we want to avoid creating unnecessary obstacles that could get in the way. For example, having plenty of storage is a great design aspect, but if it’s out of reach or you try opening a door that doesn’t fully open due to other objects being in the way this creates a distasteful feeling along with taking away the functionality of the space. Space planning and knowing the right measurements in an area can help create a fully functional and smooth operating area allowing for maximum efficient use that avoids disruption of emotions.

Sunlight is known to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting moods and helping a person feel calm and focused. When you design a space with this in mind you can not only create a design that seems brighter and bigger but it will also bring feelings of comfort and ease. This is why during the building process it’s important to know the orientation of where the sun is exposed for natural lighting and for thermal comfort. This is great to keep in mind in areas your designing that are task focused such as kitchen spaces, and offices.

Want to learn how to find the best house layouts with maximum sunlight exposure? Follow the steps below for the best possible sunlight access.
1. Look up your city’s latitude.
2. Subtract your latitude from 90° to get your Equinox.
3. Sun angle at summer solstice = Equinox + 23.5°
4. Sun angle at winter solstice = Equinox — 23.5

Let’s begin with colour therapy, also known as chromotherapy which is using benefits of colour and shades to improve mental wellbeing. This process uses the energy of each tone to improve a range of mental health issues. These can vary from depression and anxiety to a lack of confidence and even insomnia. Some examples of this are how bright, warm colours (reds, oranges, yellows) stimulate energy and happiness while cool, subdued colours (blues, greens, purples) are soothing and calming. In certain areas, such as a bedroom having bright vibrant colours can affect the way you sleep. If this colour is too bright, such as orange it can cause you to feel more energized and cause problems with falling asleep. Choosing a softer colour or even a different tone of this colour could help change the way you feel allowing it easier to fall asleep.

So next time you have a design project remember that this space will affect the mental health of those occupying the space. So designing with these elements in mind can help create a space that brings the most comfort and ease to your mental state.

A4 Group