Lily Bernheimer, author of The Shaping of Us: How Everyday Spaces Structure Our Lives, Behaviour, and a researcher in environmental psychology, said that each individual’s home needs to feel like a place of refuge from the rest of the world, and this psychology should always inform good design.
In this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, Google partnered with the Arts & Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University to explore the impact of sensory input on our minds and bodies. They designed three different rooms, and participants wore bands to track their physiological responses as they moved through each room.
The results were surprising, with half of the participants saying they felt calmest in rooms that were not necessarily the ones they were most attracted to visually. Ivy Ross, VP of Product Design at Google, says, “We’ve been optimising our environments too much for our cognitive mind, and we need to ignite our senses and bring more awareness to what feels good.” Nonetheless, we can impact our environment to help dictate how we feel - whether consciously or subconsciously.
In that same exhibit, they also examined how furnishings can influence biology and well-being. The most significant impact of design on mental health is balance. When the balance in a room is off because the furnishings don’t feel like they belong, it can make you feel uncomfortable. Donald H. Ruggle, a Denver based architect, suggested that even the shape of a table or design features that are sharp or jagged could cause anxiety. The furnishings you choose should reflect your relationship with the room and the activities you do there.
The Role of Art
There is a special role of pictures in creating a space that’s just for you. When you look around a room, art and photos are meant to represent a space that reflects your personality more intimately than anything else and can confirm it’s a space that you’ve cleared for yourself. When you’re shopping for art and homewares, consider pieces that uniquely represent you and your tastes to give a sense of home when hanging on the wall.
Pieces of Nature
In the 1980s, the biologist E.O Wilson coined the term biophilia. It refers to the ways that humans need and seek out connections with nature. Now, biophilia inspired design is inspiring nature-inspired design interiors and architecture because of its impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing. Using organic materials like wooden flooring and house plants can mimic nature is constantly shifting and help you feel more grounded in your environment.
If we want our bodies to harmonise with our environments, then lighting should be a significant focus. Clever combinations of lighting, including ceiling lights, table lamps and more decorative candles, means that you can change the lighting for any given mood and reflect the daylight. More options for customisations and changes means you can have a more significant impact on your mood.
With plenty of research on how people react to different colours, there seems to be an innate need to connect specific colours to certain ideas. With limited research, there is a tendency for colours, like reds, oranges and yellows, to be stimulating, and colours such as greens, blues and purples, to be soothing. Choosing colours based on the mood you’d like to feel in each room is a great place to start.
While the impact of your interiors on your wellbeing may be deeply personal, it is worth considering how these fundamental principles of interior design can affect your mental health and wellbeing. Instead of focusing on what we think looks good, we need to focus on what makes us feel good. To create the perfect balance in every room, from lighting to decor, consider Amart Furniture.