I have heard the phrase "mental health" used more in the last five years than I have my entire life - and I have lived many years.
You just have to look around to see that our world is changing fast around us, and naturally, this affects many people and their mental wellness.
Just a couple of years ago our homes became much more than just a place to live, eat and sleep. Many of us had to adjust our lifestyles quickly, and that in itself can bring about feelings of anxiety and depression for many.
What if instead of our homes contributing to stress and anxiety, they become one of the things that we can escape to for a more joyful and fulfilled life?
What if your space is designed with more intention and considers much more than simple aesthetic beauty? What if your space fulfills your goals, desires and needs?
What if you can use interior design to create a space that you hardly want to take a vacation from?
It is all possible!
Interior design is incredibly influential. So, how do we harness the positive effects of interior design for human psychological health? It may be much more simple than you realize.
Let's explore seven simple ideas of how your space will not only look beautiful, but promote health and well-being, too.
Create Spaces That You Will Actually Use.
You don't have to use rooms the exact way they are described on your blueprint. Too often I see consumers use the rooms the exact way they are on a set of plans that was not designed for them in the first place, when they could be using the space to support their hobbies and lifestyle.
It is usually a challenge to convince them otherwise, because it is so ingrained in their brains that homes are laid out and used a certain way.
If you don't have a need for 5 bedrooms, why not use one of them as a "get-away" space for some time to yourself? Or a breakfast room may not be needed in a home with 2 other dining areas. Why not create a morning room where you can enjoy a cup of coffee before you head off to work? Or use a formal dining room as a home office, library or homework area.
When you carve out areas that you can use to support your hobbies and interests, or just spend quality time doing something you enjoy, it is an immediate boost of joy.
2. A Place For Everything
Lack of good storage can be a killer of joy in any home. Imagine living amongst clutter!
Clutter everywhere is a sure way to experience anxiety and overwhelm.
Why not look at areas of your home where you can maximize storage so everything has a place? Storage does not have to be utilitarian. With a good designer by your side, you can create well-planned and beautiful storage.
This is how the space above started out. We were able to create more usable and beautiful storage for our client, and kicked clutter to the curb.
I can guarantee that this family is experiencing much less anxiety in their morning routines because of this new space.
3. Using Color Wisely
Decades of color research confirms that color has a direct psychological effect on human beings. For example, green tends to be very quiet, restful and soothing, and can invite harmony into your space. Blue is a very peaceful color that encourages a powerful sense of calm.
It's not accident that marketers and graphic designers use color to influence consumer behavior. So we know that color can evoke different feelings and moods in an individual.
A simple paint color change to something calming and serene, or even your favorite color can have positive effects on your mental health.
4. Bring In Natural Light
Studies have shown that mood and energy levels are directly related to how much natural light we are exposed to daily. Natural light not only boosts how we feel, but also increases the quality of our sleep, and even our health.
A well designed space takes natural light into consideration.
In a perfect world, we would build homes with tons of windows that pour in lots of natural light. However, that is usually an expensive proposition and not always feasible.
Maximizing light in a home that doesn't have as many windows can be achieved through some simple but skillful ways: 1. Proper placement of mirrors, 2. The design of the window treatments, 3. Switching out solid doors to glass doors, and 4. The use of light and airy colors.
5. Bring In Plants and Nature
We know that spending time in nature is beneficial to our overall health and well-being. This is a fact backed by a large amount of scientific evidence.
It therefore makes sense to include elements of nature into the design of your home.
Plants have special properties that can boost your mood and improve the air quality in your home.
Spending time out in nature can reduce levels of stress hormones, which can help relieve high blood pressure, heart and skin conditions and asthma, so bringing nature in can improve your mood and your health.
You can take it even further and create a more indoor/outdoor living environment. A simple way to start can be a herb and vegetable garden right outside your kitchen.
6. Invest In A Spa Bathroom
Are you a bath person or a shower person?
Why not invest in a bathroom that you can enjoy doing something that we all must do daily anyway.
Including a soaking tub or a steam shower system are sure ways to relax and allow your body to heal.
Use soothing colors that let the light in.
Create an area where you can sit comfortably for grooming.
Bring in lots of lighting.
Include lots of storage.
Include beautiful scents that can promote healing.
You spend a lot of time in your bathroom. It is where you usually start and end your day, so I believe it has a direct impact on wellness.
7. Design For You And Not The Trends
I see this way too often - consumers decorating their homes with what's trending without much thought given to what they really love and can live with for a long time.
That's not to say that trends are bad, but designing a home that speaks to your taste and lifestyle can have long lasting positive effects on your well-being.
If you are building a house, consider the floor plan and the flow of your home. Don't just choose a plan that has a popular layout. For example - open floor plan has been a huge trend for a long time, but have you thought about whether that is right for you or not?
Do you love antiques? Why not incorporate them into your space.
Do you love your collectibles and heirlooms? Your home tells a story when you include these items that are special to you, and that is a sure boost of positivity in your home when you surround yourself with the things that you love.
Here is a bonus idea for wellness in your home.
8. Pet and Kid-Friendly
I understand the anxiety of having beautiful brand new furniture with sticky little fingers and muddy paws running around.
You want to make an investment in designing a worry-free home. This means that you must be intentional about the materials and finishes you use, understand your lifestyle and your tolerance for a less than perfectly clean house 24/7.
As you design, keep in mind that there are many options for performance or indoor/outdoor textiles that can hold up to daily living without the stress.
Use paints and other finishes that can handle scratches and marks.
There are many options available on the market where your home can remain stylish and beautiful without sacrificing fun and comfort.
When you can relax and enjoy a clean, beautiful and stylish home that will have positive effects on your mood and mental health.
The most important things you can do to improve your mental health through interior design is to create a space that you love regardless of what is on trend, or even what others may think.
Your home is an an extension of who you are, so make design decisions that fill you with joy.
While there is no one-size-fits all approach to improving mental health through interior design, talking to an interior design firm like ours is a great place to start.
We are not psychologists, but we do understand how your home can have positive effects on your mental health.
We ask the right questions to uncover your needs and desires so that we can design for you and how you will be happiest in your home.
We understand that what works for one person might not work for another, and that’s ok! That's the beauty of interior design, and what makes the challenge of designing a new space so rewarding.
Schedule an in home consultation, and let's begin the process of designing a space that will bring you joy!
Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!