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.
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.
This achromatic palette with pops of greenery provides a cohesive, calming effect.
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.
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.
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!