Interior Motives

 highlighting beautiful spaces and the people who create them. 

The Psychology of Interior Design

The Psychology of Interior Design

Our minds and bodies are wired to respond to our environments.

Think about the last time you were in a hospital — the stiff waiting room chairs, bright lights, stark white walls. While hospitals aren’t most peoples’ favorite place to hang out for other reasons entirely, these design elements aren’t conducive to creating a comforting environment.

Now picture your local bookstore. There’s probably a few cozy chairs, some soft lighting, and lots of wood bookshelves. If you’re really lucky, there’s a spot to play games and maybe even a tea cart. Sounds like a place you could spend a couple of hours, right?  

Each of these environments are vastly different. One is harsh and cold, the other warm and inviting.  

An interesting aspect of interior design that can sometimes be overlooked is the psychology behind it. Even the slightest adjustments to our environments can influence our moods in major ways.

As someone who lives with anxiety, I’ve learned to become hyperaware of my environment. This awareness allows me to better assess why I might be feeling a certain way in a space, empowering me to adjust accordingly — or, at the very least, rationalize and ease my anxiety in the moment.

Consciously choosing how we design and style our spaces can play a key role in maintaining our overall well-being. Without thoughtfully curating your home or workspace, you’re willfully giving up the power to be more in control of your mood.

Extroverts require bolder, brighter colors and engaging shapes in their environments, while introverts require calmer colors and less contrast. Your home should be your own personal sanctuary, and with just a few basic design choices you can tailor-make your space to fit both your physical and mental needs.

Here are a few examples of rooms that possess certain elements of design that effectively inspire different moods.

Into the Deep

Deep blue tones create an overwhelming sense of relaxation. These rooms are designed with monochromatic color schemes that are easy on the eyes, allowing the mind to rest.

Shades of gray and blue set the mood for sleep in  this bedroom .

Shades of gray and blue set the mood for sleep in this bedroom.

This  design  by Sarah Sherman Samuel was developed with the intention of creating a sanctuary for sleep.

This design by Sarah Sherman Samuel was developed with the intention of creating a sanctuary for sleep.

While  this color scheme  is more complimentary than monochromatic, the deep teal walls with grayish hues and rich, warm tones in the rug and wood furnishings produce a calming effect.

While this color scheme is more complimentary than monochromatic, the deep teal walls with grayish hues and rich, warm tones in the rug and wood furnishings produce a calming effect.

Grow Yer Own

When it comes to creating a calming effect through interior design, there is really nothing that can replace natural and organic elements. It’s also important to note that greenery is typically considered a neutral in interiors, so don’t commit the cardinal sin and discount the important role that a few well-placed houseplants can play in your space.

Some good-sized potted plants, natural wood and stone, and curved furniture + accent pieces make  this living room  an inviting place to rest with a cup of coffee and a book, or to hang out with friends.

Some good-sized potted plants, natural wood and stone, and curved furniture + accent pieces make this living room an inviting place to rest with a cup of coffee and a book, or to hang out with friends.

This achromatic palette with pops of greenery provides a cohesive, calming effect in  this sitting area . The brown leather sofa is an earthy anchor piece while the plants and round, green light fixtures add warmth to the room.

This achromatic palette with pops of greenery provides a cohesive, calming effect in this sitting area. The brown leather sofa is an earthy anchor piece while the plants and round, green light fixtures add warmth to the room.

Consistency is Key

Have you ever been in a room where everything is mismatched? My first four apartments were a hodgepodge of Big Lots and thrift store furniture. I didn’t necessarily have the opportunity (or care) to slowly and carefully curate a collection of furniture with matching wood tones or cohesive finishes. However, those elements and efforts of consistency can be incredibly important when creating a space that feels harmonious instead of hectic.

This entryway  nails the consistency concept through color and shape. Warm gold tones tie in the wood of the doorway and are even included in the wheat placed on the console and cream-colored rug. The circular light fixture plays off of the round mirror and semi-circle table, allowing the small space to make an impact with a calming, cohesive feel.

This entryway nails the consistency concept through color and shape. Warm gold tones tie in the wood of the doorway and are even included in the wheat placed on the console and cream-colored rug. The circular light fixture plays off of the round mirror and semi-circle table, allowing the small space to make an impact with a calming, cohesive feel.

This bathroom  is another great example of how consistency can go a long way in design. For example, they could have just painted the walls and not the mirror cabinet trim and wall shelves. By tying them together with one cohesive color, the wall feels complete instead of color-blocked. They also made sure each fixture is in the same gold finish, adding that little extra layer of harmony.

This bathroom is another great example of how consistency can go a long way in design. For example, they could have just painted the walls and not the mirror cabinet trim and wall shelves. By tying them together with one cohesive color, the wall feels complete instead of color-blocked. They also made sure each fixture is in the same gold finish, adding that little extra layer of harmony.

Happy-Go-Lucky

A pop of color never fails to make an impact. When done well, adding yellow to a room can add warmth or excitement, depending on the execution. Whether you’re chasing the feeling of golden hour or trying to create a room with visual vibrancy that evokes inspiration, adding the right balance of yellow to a room can easily impact your mood.

This  pop of yellow  adds a burst optimism to an otherwise neutral and achromatic palette. The art on the wall ties the look together and proves that you don’t have to use a lot of color to have a big impact.

This pop of yellow adds a burst optimism to an otherwise neutral and achromatic palette. The art on the wall ties the look together and proves that you don’t have to use a lot of color to have a big impact.

Rich gold tones make  this room  feel warm and optimistic without being too shockingly bright. Modern, simplistic furniture and accessories help keep the room from feeling like a 70s flashback. The monochromatic color scheme feels fresh, not busy, and the white space provides plenty of blank space that doesn’t overwhelm. A single built-out shelf keeps accessories at one level, eliminating any unnecessary visual clutter.

Rich gold tones make this room feel warm and optimistic without being too shockingly bright. Modern, simplistic furniture and accessories help keep the room from feeling like a 70s flashback. The monochromatic color scheme feels fresh, not busy, and the white space provides plenty of blank space that doesn’t overwhelm. A single built-out shelf keeps accessories at one level, eliminating any unnecessary visual clutter.

I highly encourage you to be mindful when designing your space and to consciously choose furniture, lighting, colors, and textures that are reflective of who you are and tailored to how you want to feel in your space. And remember, design is experimentation, so have fun with it!

Kiss Your Boring Bathroom Goodbye

Kiss Your Boring Bathroom Goodbye

Function Meets Style // Our IKEA Haul

Function Meets Style // Our IKEA Haul