Interior design and mental health may be two phrases that you don’t typically expect to see next to one another, but the link is actually a lot less tenuous than might think. More and more scientific studies are starting to suggest that your home’s look, feel, and layout has quite a profound effect on your mental and even physical well-being. Could bad interior design really mean bad mental health? We’ve put together this article to investigate how interior design affects mental health, including some tips for lifting your mood with simple choices.
DISCLAIMER: We are not mental health experts and this article should not be confused with the work of medical professionals. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or mentally under the weather, you should never feel afraid or embarrassed to seek out help, whether in person or online.
Quick Tip – This isn’t a Miracle: While your home’s decor could definitely have some tangible benefits for your mental health, remember that it’s not a miracle solution. Look inwards just as much as you look at your living room.
Interior Design & Mental Health: Light
One of the more significant aspects in the psychology of interior design is the way you use light in your home. Natural light is one of the most important things for human well-being, providing us with vitamin D, helping to lower blood pressure, supporting our immune system, and helping to fight off seasonal depression. If your home is lacking in windows or other sources of natural light, or even if your blinds are too thick and opaque, it’s likely that you’re depriving yourself of one of the key ingredients for a better state of mind.
On the other hand, overexposure to blue light can’t be understated. In this modern world, we spend so much of our lives with our eyes glued to screens, but too much blue light has been shown to negatively impact sleep, which in turn can do serious damage to our mental health. Filling every room of the house with TVs or other sources of blue light could be your downfall.
Interior Design and Mental Health: Work and Functionality
When interrogating interior design and psychology, it’s worth taking the work from home revolution of the last couple of years into account. Since the pandemic, more and more people have either been forced to, or opted to work from home. This in itself has had many benefits, especially to the work itself, generally increasing productivity and workplace morale in most people. However, the impact it has on your home space could bleed into your mental health.
When we set up “offices” around the house, especially in homes without dedicated study spaces, we’re essentially creating associations with work in places formerly not intended for it. If you work from your bedroom, it can be hard to relax when it’s time to turn in for the evening. You should try to set up your workstations in areas that you don’t generally try to relax in, and if space is an issue, attempt to use lightweight, multifunctional decor that can be packed away with ease at the end of the day.
Quick Tip – Pinch in Some Salt: Things like color psychology are interesting to investigate, but they’re not exact sciences. However a color makes you feel personally is your business and your business alone.
Interior Design and Mental Health: Clutter
Can feng shui help depression on its way out of your mind? It’s becoming apparent that it could. Clutter and crowded spaces can be a real contributor to stress, with studies showing that mothers of young families have higher cortisol (stress hormones) levels than most adults in day-to-day life. This isn’t exclusive to disposable clutter either, with too much furniture getting in the way of free movement also being a cause for stress.
Have you ever wondered “why are depressed people’s rooms messy?”, because the answer is actually more complex than one might imagine. It’s true that depressive people struggle to find the motivation to tackle even the most simple of day-to-day tasks, but there are also signs that the messiness itself is contributing to the depression. This means that a messy room can be both the cause and the symptom of a low mood, in a fairly vicious cycle. As the old saying goes, tidy room = tidy mind, so while chores are… a chore, they could help to maintain your quality of life.
Interior Design & Mental Health: Color
One of the key links between interior design and well-being comes in the form of how color affects our mental state. Now, the effects of different colors will vary from person to person, but if you know yourself you might be able to fill your home with colors that help with anxiety and depression. It’s most certainly not as black and white as it might seem.
- Red – The color of passion, which could help bring you out of a slumped mood, but may not be the best if you suffer from intense moments of anger.
- Green – The color of trees and grass, which can help to soothe your mood and make you feel closer to nature.
- Blue – Feeling blue doesn’t have to be so bad! Blue can be a very calming color, however, it can also be somewhat depressive.
- Orange – Much like red, orange has the power to reinvigorate, which can be great for less active periods.
- White – To some, the purest color. White can help to declutter your mind, but it can also feel sanitary and constrictive.
- Black – Black may be associated with gothic tropes, but it can also represent power over your emotions and feelings.
The list provided above shows how certain colors can affect mood, allowing you to pick out the perfect mood-lifting wallpaper if you need to.
Quick Tip – Get out the House!: While creating a lovely home environment is great for the head, it’s just as important to get out into the world. Don’t let interior designing take up too much time that could be spent experiencing life!
It’s clear that interior design can have a real, tangible effect on our mental health, but it can be different for everyone. It’s important that you don’t take the conclusions we’ve made from our research as gospel and always do what you feel is right for you, including seeking professional help if it’s needed. There are plenty of blogs out there, both about design and decor, along with mental health, so feel free to continue your research and gain knowledge in every way you can!