How Interior Design Affects Our Emotions

How Interior Design Affects Our Emotions

The elements that improve our interior living spaces can also improve our emotional well-being. Understanding basic human needs and applying that to design can create a living environment that makes us feel comfortable and at peace.

Can Interior Design Affect Emotions and Behavior?

Is there a correlation between interior design and emotions? Absolutely, yes!

Our well-being is directly impacted by our senses as we are visually, physically and mentally influenced by our surroundings. Therefore interior design by its very nature impacts our senses. That’s why environmental elements we choose can have a positive or negative effect on our feelings, emotions, and our overall sense of well-being.

In 1955, Guy Debord defined Psychogeography, a term used in architecture and urbanism with a strong application in interior design, as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”

In our Organic Contemporary Blog, we discuss ways to transform a home into a peaceful space where we can relax, enjoy irretrievable time with family, and renew our spirits for upcoming day. And applying psychogeography to design, it is necessary to follow certain rules when designing interiors to improve emotions and well-being. 

Why Does Interior Design Affect Emotions and Behavior?

Our brains! The reason interior design affects our emotions and behavior is that our brains are designed to respond to external stimuli. In fact, our brains are so powerful that they process some things that we may not actively be aware of due to perception. 

Perception is defined as the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. It informs us about the external world, the smells, sounds, sensations, and visual cues. And it colors our internal world, how we feel based on that stimulation. But perception is a subjective reflection of objective reality in our consciousness.

The sensations we feel as a result of our perceptions are the basic material for more complex thinking, feeling, memory, etc. Said more simply, our surroundings can influence our thoughts, mood, and feelings, all of which impact our behavior.

How Does Design Impact Our Sense of Self and Our Human Needs?

Personal Territory and Privacy

Everyone has a different sense of personal space. And concepts such as the need for privacy and the amount of personal space required for comfort are shaped by our cultural backgrounds and life experiences.

Privacy is a complex but basic human need. But it is part of our physical and psychological health, self-identity, and emotional well-being. The reason privacy is needed for survival is that it gives us an opportunity to release stress and refill our emotional reservoir. 

Personal space needs stem from our culture, upbringing, and personality. While for some, distance is essential, others crave proximity and contact. This influences our preferences and relationships with certain spaces, settings, and belongings. And it explains why we may feel creative and autonomous in one setting, cramped in another, and safe and comfortable in yet another.

The end goal of the personalization of our living space through interior design is an efficient space that meets the individual or collective needs for space and privacy.

Nature

People have an inherent need to connect to nature. Therefore it’s important to create a living environment that can facilitate a connection with nature. 

Adding living indoor fresh plants; having views of nature, including greenery or the ocean; or even using natural materials can make a difference. 

Creating an indoor sanctuary can be done by balancing combinations of wood, crystals and stones, metals, fountains and water features, and candles and lighting. In fact, these elements are part of the Chinese 5 Feng Shui Elements (Wood, Earth, Metal, Fire, and Water) that are historically proven to have a long-term positive effect on human beings. Though they add to the “to-do list” for today’s norms in ergonomy and space planning, they have a solid reason for belonging there. 

Other benefits of affiliating with nature include reduced mental fatigue and lowered stress levels, enhanced productivity, improved cognitivism, and even reduced muscle tension!

One of the most important and “new” trends is “Biophilia,” which means appreciation for other natural forms of living. It’s often used in modern architecture, mostly in commercial spaces, to immerse the space in nature and create a retreat in a workspace where one can feel less stressed, and more productive.

Read more about implementing natural materials into your home, where we cover beautiful stones and even unique organic materials such as mycelium (mushroom fungus) and sea salt.

Good Design and The 5 senses

Good design is not just creative, it solves problems and connects to individual needs and desires.

It creates flow in a space so people move comfortably and freely and ensures that the quality and type of materials align to the goals and desired feel.

Touch.

For the interior to feel right, elements that we connect to by touch have to be pleasing. We love using smooth textiles like suede, rough decorative accents, uniquely textured fireplaces and walls, and sleek countertops in kitchens are just some of the ways we connect to the sense of touch. While the variations don’t stop, the key is balance in sensation through contrast.

Sight.

It’s been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And that’s true. What some find beautiful, others do not. Our goal is to combine colors that stimulate positive emotions, with symmetry and asymmetry in a way that is visually calming. And using lighting, furniture choices, artwork, and photographs we appeal to the visual sense and trigger memories and dreams to create rooms that allow us to live, move, and behave with a greater sense of peace.

Sound.

Sounds can change our mood. Meditative sounds can relax or stimulate us depending on their frequency. Energetic music can bolster productivity. And simple piano music can calm and relax the mind. These are examples of sounds that are added to an environment. Understanding which sounds have a positive impact can help us as we recommend design features that extend or mute sound to positively impact the sense of well-being in the environment. 

Smell.

It’s scientifically proven that smell is the strongest sense for creating memories. The smell of our mother’s favorite perfume may cause nostalgic moments every time we smell it, even years later. That’s the power of smell. And we have the power to infuse our atmosphere by appealing to the sense of smell. Think of the smell of a zen atmosphere, of being in the rainforest, of spices of India, tea in Asia, or a favorite fragrance. That’s why flowers, a fireplace, and candles are three of the best ways to add pleasant, fresh, and natural smell into the interior space. 

Taste.

While we can’t taste our interior (unless it’s made from chocolate … hmmm), we can connect the sense of taste to our other senses. That’s because our senses are like puzzle pieces: when all senses are in alignment, our mind remembers the environment as a whole. A good interior design creates an environment where people want to gather. And when they gather, they eat. Eating meals we like in our interior anchor good memories for us as well as our family and friends. And those memories connect the sense of taste to the overall picture of our home.

Our senses are part of our memories, our identity, our culture, therefore who we are.

Creating an authentic living environment is key to having a happy and healthy life.

Helena Brana and Jakub Lukasik