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Interior Design and Mental Health

Having been home-bound for the majority of the past year, you may have wondered and asked yourself, “What effect does my interior design have on my mental outlook?” - it’s a good question. In fact, mental health professionals have been examining the role interior design plays on mental health.

Including curves in the design of furnishings or

architectural features can foster calmness.

Psychology Tomorrow Magazine was at the forefront of this study in its July 2016 article Aesthetics and Well-Being: How Interior Design Affects Your Happiness. “It should not surprise us that interior designers are ‘stealing’ some knowledge from psychology to improve emotional impacts of the space,” the article stated. “Some of the techniques used are persuasive design (including persuasive elements into physical objects, such as seating around the table to boost communication, instead of in front of the TV), spatial perception (opening up some space to create a sense of freedom), and stimulation of natural environments (bringing in elements of nature to create an optimal atmosphere for relaxation and health). After all, it was the designers’ world that first started this debate, and the scientists proved them right.”

Adding a little blue to a design can slow down a person's metabolism,

heart rate and blood pressure, which will have a calming

effect on your mind and body.

Experienced interior designers have known the influence design has on mental health for many years. They constantly ask clients how a room design or an item in the room makes the client feel. They also ask if a room reduces or induces stress.

“The most impactful principle of design on mental health is balance which basically means that all the furnishings in the space feel like they belong,” explains Bobbie Combs, ASID, NCIDQ, director of education and training, Decorating Den Interiors. “When the balance in a room is off or the furnishings don't feel like they belong, it can make you feel uncomfortable. The most impactful element of design on mental health is color which can alter your mood drastically depending on the main color used in a room. For example, blue is a color that has been shown to slow down a person's metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure which will have a calming effect on your mind and body.”

While round tables enhance conversation,

the curved edge also allows our nervous system to relax.

Even the shape of a table or a case good piece could have an impact. A June Business of Home Magazine article cited Denver-based architect Donald H. Ruggles, author of the book Beauty, Neuroscience & Architecture: Timeless Patterns and Their Impact on Our Well-Being: “Jagged edges and sharp points are design features that, if overused, can cause anxiety. A typical living room, for instance, often includes a statement piece like a coffee table with jagged or sharp edges. A table with rounded edges, on the other hand, allows our nervous system to relax.”

Opening up to space can create a sense of freedom.

When I meet with clients, I ask how often they’re in that space, what activities do they do there, how the space makes them feel, what they like and don’t like as much. The goal is for them to talk about themselves and their relationship to the space. For me, my job is to listen, listen, listen.

Interior design is not only about making your home more beautiful. It is about making it a happier and healthier place.

Amandeep Brar

Director Of Design, Ritu Brar Designs



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