Where do you go after a stressful event? Home. Your home is your sanctuary; it is where you go to rest and recuperate, blocking out the stressors of the outside world. Most of us also have a place within our homes we go to unwind - for some of us this is our bedroom, our bathtub, or a favourite lounge chair in a reading nook. It’s not simply the fact that the space is ours that helps us relax, it’s also the decor. If your home isn’t decorated in a way that helps you feel happy and at ease, you may feel just as tense when you get home as you felt when you were out.
Environmental psychology has existed for over a thousand years in the form of Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra, but more recently neuroscientists have become interested in why we feel the way we do in certain spaces and discovered that many of the ways we design our homes and offices can have a positive or negative effect on our mental health.
So, want to ensure you feel calm and happy when you’re at home? Read on to learn 3 ways home decor affects your mood and how you can use it to influence your own home.
Do you prefer open spaces with minimal clutter or cosy rooms filled with the things you love? If you find yourself most at ease when you’re in a space with minimal furniture and decoration, take a look at your current home and think about ways you can minimalise clutter.
Removing clutter doesn’t have to be an exercise in throwing out all your possessions - for most, it just means making sure everything has a place. Similarly, consider whether your furniture is placed in a way that blocks the natural flow of traffic and light from the room.
If you have a lot of furniture in a room, it will feel smaller because there’s less floor space available. If your furniture is positioned in a way that blocks some of the natural light coming into the room, it will also cause the room to feel smaller. If you're working with a small space and certain furniture placements are unavoidable, try to find furniture that’s lighter and will allow more light in through it.
For example, instead of placing a big (albeit very cosy!) lounge chair like the Love Nest Rattan Lounge Chair in front of a window, try something like the Low Back Rattan Chair. Lower backs, arms, and being able to see beneath the furniture is key here.
If you like cosy spaces with intense patterns, make sure you tune in with your feelings and realise when a space is starting to feel claustrophobic instead of cosy, and remove a few items.
Colours are powerful and not only do they have the ability to make a space appear larger, more open or smaller and more restrictive, they no doubt also have the ability affect and influence your mood.
There are no rules around what colour you choose to paint your bedroom, but there will be some psychological repercussions. For example, painting your bedroom red will evoke feelings of passion and excitement, but it may also feel oppressive and judging. If you need more calm at home, opt for calmer colours like greens, light greys, and pale blues or more neutral tones like cream, taupe and off white. If you like bright colours, try incorporating them as an accent colour in rooms you need to relax in and use them more in other spaces, such as your dining room.
Without art a home looks unfinished, but that doesn’t mean you should head out to buy whatever is cheap and will fit the space and colour scheme - you’ve got to love it! Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at University College London, found out that viewing art gives us the same feelings as falling in love. Patients in hospital found that their suffering reduced and their recovery time decreased.
Take your time selecting art that not only suits your decor but also makes you feel something when you look at it. If you don’t often find art pieces you like, opt for photos of nature, landmarks, or your family.
Similarly, buy furniture pieces that move you when you look at them. Do you love the way it looks? Does it look comfortable? Does it remind you of a fond memory from childhood? These are all considerations we so often overlook when we’re buying decor for our homes - we’re often too focused on the size, price, and whether it fits a certain aesthetic to really consider how it will make us feel when it’s in our home.
You can pay close attention to colour psychology and the rules of Feng Shui, but make sure you check in with yourself to see how your home feels to you. If you find coming home to grey, white and blue rooms make you feel bored, opt for colour. Take a walk around your home now and see how each room feels and if you notice anything that makes you feel tense. Simply replacing the littlest thing like the hallway decor you've had since 1998 may help you feel happier and lighter!
Ready to find a few new pieces for your space to make your home a haven? Start your search here.
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