What do funeral parlors, prison cells, and courtrooms have in common?Aside from being places you’d probably want to avoid, they all use color, texture, lighting, and room layout to help identify their occupants. is an example of a space that evokes an emotional response. And it works.
While this is a less extreme and stark example, a home’s interior design and decoration can also impact its residents’ moods, emotions, and overall mental health.
“The ability to find physical comfort and visual inspiration in our homes is essential to our well-being,” says interior designer and HGTV host Noel Gatz. home inspector joe. “Universal comforts such as shelter, privacy, natural light, running water, and clean air are important for all bodies and minds. Mastering the ability to surround yourself with spaces at home that speak our love language” is a little difficult.”
Although this topic has received more attention since the start of the pandemic, when people have been spending far more time at home than usual, much has been written about the connection between home space and head space. Many of these focus on mental health benefits. About decluttering. For many people, cleaning, cleaning, and organizing are the necessary first steps to creating a space that supports their mental health. For people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, organizing your pots and pans can be very therapeutic. But what about after the confusion is gone?
That’s where decorations and design elements come in and do the magic. Here are some expert wisdom and science-backed strategies to make your home a place that uplifts your mood and supports your mental health.
Prioritize psychological safety.
You probably do at least one thing every day to protect your own physical safety, such as locking your doors, closing any windows that are open at night, and always having a clear path to the exit (and bathroom) in case of an emergency. You’re probably doing one thing. your home. But what about your mental safety?
“The overall feel of the space – how it’s organized, how clean it is, how comfortable it feels, how it feels personal – all of this makes you feel at ease and makes you feel that way. It affects how safe you feel in your environment,” says the interior designer. Kristen Fiore. “When you have a mental health issue, or your mental health is triggered, you want a safe and comfortable place to be yourself. It’s very important that it’s appealing.”
Surround yourself with friendly people.
While we’re talking about psychological safety and the importance of filling your space with decorations that make you feel safe and secure, let’s talk about family photos.
“You may want to have lots of framed photos of your family, because being surrounded by photos of loved ones makes you feel happy and makes you feel less alone,” says interior designer Mikal Rubin. “Or, on the contrary, the frame with your family may have a negative impact on your mental health. In that case, choose plants and decorations.”
There is no rule that says you have to have a certain number of family photos in your home at all times. Family relationships are complex and unique, so if an image of someone or a certain time triggers a stress response, let it go.this is your place Feeling comfortable and satisfied. You can always display photos of friends, chosen family members, or people whose visual presence gives you a sense of calm and security.
Choose colors based on the ideal energy level of the room.
If you’re serious about creating or maintaining a particular atmosphere in your home, you need to choose your colors consciously.
Take into account both the practical (how you would use a particular room) and the ideal (how you would use the room). want what you feel when you are in it). “Before deciding on a color scheme, consider the energy level you want to achieve in the space,” says Amber Dunford, design psychologist and director of style at Overstock.com. “When you use contrasting colors (colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel), especially colors that are warm and saturated, they create more oomph. [a room] I feel it. Colors with less variation have the opposite effect, creating a calmer, quieter atmosphere. This is especially true for cool colors. ”
Finally, consider the size of the room when choosing colors. “In small rooms where space is limited, using cool colors can also mentally ‘push back’ walls and objects. Because these colors are psychologically regressive,” Dunford explains. “But if you want to create a sense of coziness in a larger space, warm colors that advance spiritually and make us feel closer are the best choices.”
Add some healthy natural goodness.
The connection between spending time in nature and improved mental health, and the research that supports it, is not new, but the concept was first introduced early in the pandemic to improve the homes many people were confined to. This method has become widespread in earnest. I feel like it has become a little easier to live in.
“We tend to feel more creative and relaxed when surrounded by plants, so potted plants can be an especially important addition if you don’t have a view of the outdoors from your window. ” explains Dunford. “Bringing nature indoors whenever possible is a great and inexpensive way to make a space feel warm and inviting. Place live plants in baskets, planters, and decorative pots at various heights. When placed, they soften corners and add life to a space.”
Having potted herbs in your kitchen is also a practical way to bring in nature, she adds, with the added bonus that “the fresh scents invigorate one of our senses.” Plus, you’ll have bright, fresh herbs for cooking all year round.
Don’t want the hassle of keeping your plants alive? According to some studies, keeping fake plants, or even just pictures of trees and other greenery, can make a space feel more calming and reduce stress levels. The same goes for nature-inspired design choices, like painting a room green or incorporating wood (more on this later).
Incorporate visible wood grain.
“Wood grain has been shown to have a positive impact on lowering our stress levels, as well as increasing our happiness and performance levels,” says Dunford. “This is a great example of incorporating visible wood grain into your home design. This can be achieved on coffee tables and side tables, on butcher counters, on home office desks, and more.”
The good news is look It’s the wood grain that makes the difference, so it’s perfectly fine to artificially achieve that look using things like veneers.
Think about the experience of moving around and passing through your space. According to Gatz, this means arranging furniture in a way that creates comfortable movement and flow.
“Straight lines and curves create visual movement, so play around with the space by considering your preferred traffic patterns and focal points,” she says. “Try pulling some furniture away from the walls to create a comfortable gathering area and create a more open flow.”
She also recommends creating functional work, play, and rest areas within the room, depending on how you use the space.
Remember your pets.
Pets hold a special place in our hearts and in our homes, and many of us already know that they can have a profoundly positive impact on our mental health. This is backed up by study after study. Knowing this, it makes sense to take them into account when designing and decorating a room.
“Pet-friendly vignettes are very popular,” says interior designer Debbie Daly. For example, consider your home workspace or office. “Having a pet-friendly chair or bench in your office space can help you feel calmer while you work. Being able to take a break, recharge, and spend time petting your furry friend is a great way to keep your pet at home. The daily stress of work will be greatly reduced.”
Amplify natural light.
Whether you’ve personally experienced seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression, exposure to natural light can have a big impact on your mood, sleep quality, and overall mental health. You probably know that.
While most of us aren’t in a position to tear down walls or add windows to our homes (especially those who rent), we can still make the most of the natural light we have. “If you have limited space or lack of natural light, a simple solution is to place a mirror on the wall opposite the window,” says Dunford. “The light reflects off the landscape, making the space appear brighter and larger.”
Another way to increase the amount of natural light in your home is to “choose light-colored paint that reflects light rather than dark colors that absorb light,” says interior designer Joshua Smith. “The same applies when choosing light furniture and decorative items.”
Finally, if possible, layer your window treatments so you have options other than simply covering your windows with blackout curtains or no curtains at all. “Natural light can help regulate your mood and lift your mood, so adding window treatments that can control or let in light can be beneficial,” says Dunford.
Use artificial light with purpose.
Not every room gets enough natural light, and no amount of bright paint or mirrors can transform a boxed-in space. Additionally, most people don’t go to bed as soon as the sun goes down, so even having plenty of natural light in your room won’t help you at night.
“If natural light is lacking, look for light bulbs that mimic sunlight and choose translucent shades to amplify the light,” says Gatz. “Try to concentrate different levels of light in each space. Be careful to include task lighting for functional use and ambient lighting to create the right atmosphere at the right time.”
Guts loves using dimmers whenever possible so he can adjust the light based on his needs and mood. Because “mood lightning” is real. “Under a warm light source, we can have more intimate conversations and have more self-disclosure, so make sure your lighting plan leans toward the warm end of the spectrum.” Dunford explains. “Around 2700 Kelvin is usually a good range.”
Soften the space with texture.
While interior design focuses on the appearance of a room, don’t forget the power of our sense of touch. “We are tactile creatures, so we respond well to soft fabrics and textiles,” Dunford explains. “Using different textures in a space softens the architecture and also reduces sound. So adding throws, pillows, rugs, and curtains to a space can make it feel cozy, peaceful, and inviting. .”
If you have hardwood floors, Daly suggests adding a plush faux fur area rug that your bare feet can sink into. [and] You get that “aha” feeling when you walk across a room. ”
Try incorporating speckled lighting.
Textiles aren’t the only way to soften a room. Lighting also makes a big difference. “Humans like to be in dappled light, the same light we experience when the sun shines through the leaves of a tree,” says Dunford. “Incorporating elements into your home that replicate this, such as basket-weave light pendants and lamps, can create the same glow as dappled lighting found in nature.”
In addition to being another way to bring aspects of nature indoors, dappled lighting brings dimension to a home’s flat surfaces, creates beautiful shadows, and adds softness to walls and floors, she says. I will explain.
Don’t overthink everything.
After all, these tips are not rules. These are just ideas that experts (and even some scientists) have found to be beneficial in boosting mood and supporting well-being through design and decoration. Let them inspire you, not control you. This is especially important to keep in mind for people who tend to be perfectionists. It can be tempting to do too much research, become overwhelmed with so many options, and end up postponing the project indefinitely.
“Don’t make this a huge project,” Daly says. “No stress. This should be fun.”
Whether it’s a major redesign project or you’re simply perusing Etsy for new cushion covers, don’t lose sight of the reason behind the refresh. It’s about creating a home that uplifts your mood and makes you feel safe and comfortable.