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How Interior Design and Color Affects Human Happiness

How Interior Design and Color Affects Human Happiness

When the average person considers the design and appearance of their home, they simply choose features that appeal to their style and comfort. However, research shows that homeowners may want to spend more time thinking about the specific decisions they make. After all, everything from the textures and colors you use to the scents and sounds you incorporate can directly impact your family’s overall level of happiness.
Home is Where the Happiness Is

Did you know that over the past 30-plus years, American incomes have grown by 20 percent, houses have nearly doubled in size, and yet society hasn’t become any happier?

“The big house represents that atomizing of the American family,” says John Stilgoe, a Harvard University landscape history professor. “Each person not only has his or her own television — each person has his or her own bathroom. Some of these houses are literally designed with three playrooms for two children. This way, the family members rarely have to interact. And the notion of compromise is simply out one of the very many windows these houses sport.”

But is a big house a happy house? Psychologists agree that the key to a happier home – at a surface level – is less about size and extravagance and more about smaller details and interior design. 

Impact of Interior Design on Happiness

Those seeking a happier home need to spend more time thinking about aesthetics and design and less about how much money they can spend. Take lighting, for example. Too much or too little light disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle and can lead to stress. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation frequently leads to health issues like headaches, depression, and a suppressed immune system. By understanding this and ensuring the home has adequate lighting throughout the day, you can enhance sleep and encourage proper physical and psychological repair.

While the psychology of Feng Shui may not be appreciated in the western world, there are many lessons to be gleaned from eastern lifestyles that place a heavy emphasis on balancing the energies of space. It’s sometimes as simple as burning incense, eliminating clutter, and brightening rooms.

Colors Make a Major Difference

If there’s one aspect of interior design that matters most, it’s color theory. While the difference between one shade and another may seem subtle, the psychological effect can be significant.

“I’ve always liked the idea that by adding a certain color or a combinations of colors, you can simply change your mood, your room by creating optical illusion and making it smaller or bigger and so on,” says Ion Nicolae of DesignLike.com. The problem is that most people don’t understand color theory and how different tones produce different illusions.

At the very heart of color theory is the color wheel. The wheel simply provides a visual representation of the 12 basic colors. These include primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors. Using this color wheel, designers follow different rules and strategies for creating balanced rooms. They take into account things like temperature, tone, contrast, and color wheel relationships.

Bright colors are used to make a room appear bigger, while simultaneously inducing a lighter, carefree mood. Dark colors typically make a room feel smaller and more intimate.  “Colors give us a certain state of mind, can energize us, can cheer us, can make us feel safe, calm, relax, can increase the ability to concentrate or remember us pleasant things,” says Nicolae. But there are also colors that depress us and make us feel tired. It’s important to identify which colors produce which emotions in each individual.

Interior Design Goes Beneath the Surface

While most people assume interior design is nothing more than a surface level profession, the fact of the matter is that it has a tremendous effect on people. Whether it’s color, lighting, or anything else, interior design is directly correlated to homeowner happiness.
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