As interior designers, we talk a lot about aesthetics – up and coming design trends, the styles our clients want to see in their homes, and how to achieve specific “looks”. However, this is only a tiny piece of what we do.
Yes, the aesthetics are fun, and they have their place. But a lot of the value of interior design stems from environmental psychology. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends almost 90% of their time indoors. Whether it be at home, work, cafes, clubs, shops, exhibitions, etc, interior design – and as an extension, interior designers – have an immense impact on our everyday lives.
“Interior designers determine the sizes of indoor spaces and their arrangement, as well as the selection of all the things with which we fill spaces, such as surface materials, furnishings and accessories. These decisions directly impact human health and well being… “Research Frontiers
Many designers get into this career because they’re passionate about making other people’s lives better – we know we did! We’ve all been in a space that doesn’t function correctly, makes us anxious or makes it harder to focus. It’s no fun… at all. On the flip side, we’ve all experienced spaces that instantly make us happy, inspired or relaxed. The factors that encourage these feelings are exactly what environmental psychology is all about!
A great example of the psychological effect of design? Color. Everyone knows that color can greatly affect our mood. In fact, this is so prevalent that it has become ingrained in our speech; we can be “green with envy”, “feeling blue”, or “seeing red”. Studies have shown that cooler colors invoke a sense of calm (hence, the blue in the bath seen above), vibrant shades of yellow and orange encourage creativity and excitement, darker shades can feel gloomy or (sometimes) cozy, and red is often thought to increase anxiety. Therefore, the colors you put on your walls and furniture can have a huge impact on your life.
There have also been studies that show that how a space is lit is very important to our mental health and well-being. A well-lit room, especially when lit by natural sunlight, can impact our psyche in positive ways. Imagine having to go to work in a room with no windows… would you enjoy going to work? Probably not.
Ceiling height is also a huge factor. The size and spaciousness of a room can effect mood, creativity and productivity. A study done by InformeDesign showed that ceiling height impacts our subconscious perception of space, making us feel either free or suppressed. Having a sense of freedom in a space makes you feel more creative and focused. You may remember from our past blog post about painting that we always recommend painting your ceiling white. This is exactly why; it gives the illusion of a higher ceiling, creating a more pleasant space.
Space planning is another valuable way that interior designers can enhance a space. It’s all about making sure a space functions as well as possible. We’ve taken many classes dedicated to space planning, so having us around to make sure the space is functional is invaluable! We also learn building codes, which means that we can calculate how many exits a building needs for proper egress, the proper height of a stair, and fire safety laws!
It has also been shown that bringing nature into an environment can improve relaxation and health. This can be achieved through the presence of operable windows (to let the breeze in), by having plants in the space, or even by incorporating natural materials as a wall covering.
Design includes making sure a space is beautiful, functional, AND safe!
There are lots of other good reasons to hire a designer, too. For example, having a well-designed home can increase the value of your home, giving you a good return on your investment. We’re also really fun people *wink wink* who can make any home improvement project run smoothly! But really, a huge part of the value in hiring a designer is that we take all of the above (and more!) into account. It’s what we’ve been trained to do! We want to make your life more beautiful and happier, and we have the expertise to make it happen.
“The widely accepted notion that home is a happy place is definitely correct, but it’s important to realize that homes are not promoting happiness per se, but they can be molded and designed in a way that promotes good mood and health.”Psychology Tomorrow Magazine
Wishing you the happiest most beautiful life <3