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How Interior Design Affects an Individual's Brain

In this article I will be referring to the exterior and interior design elements of a space and how it affects a person, specifically their brain, mood, and well being.

I am not talking about the style of the interior or the choice of wallpaper that decorates one's walls. A client would say a decoration would affect their mood, and that phenomenon is what this article will explore.

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The effect of interior design on the brain:

So what is it about interior design that influences our brain and mood in a noticeable way? Why does the design of a building, room, home, etc. make an impression on our brain?

For instance, if you walk into a home that is designed to give an illusion of comfort and homely, you naturally feel comfortable in that space. You feel more relaxed. The design makes you feel safe, and it is an easily distinguishable feeling.

While in a more modern home you have the best possible quality finishes and the design of the space has been considered from every angle, so the items within the space tend to feel modern and high-end and hence the place feels safe and secure.

Interior design and mood

This is probably the most important thing that an interior design professional must always keep in mind when they are designing a space for their clients.

The style and design that suits the person is important, but how a space makes us feel while we are in it is vital. Some people may prefer very dry and barren styles, but visitors may interpret this design as cold and uncomfortable.

The space you are in is really a reflection of who you are and how you are feeling on a daily basis. When a space reflects your mood, it will affect your mood and how you interact with your surroundings.

For example: When a home is designed in a way that makes the person feel relaxed, happy, secure, and at home, it will most likely have a positive effect on the person. It will also affect his or her disposition, and well-being.

This may lead to a person's overall satisfaction in life. When you feel comfortable and open in your home, it translates into your being.

Interior design is a reflection of you and your personality, and so it is important to choose a space that matches the kind of life you lead. Always add some personal details (within your budget) that make you happy!

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Interior design is more art than science!

A fundamental thing about interior design is that there is no actual science behind it. Every interior designer is an individual. Sure, there is math and organization, but interior design is an art!

The mental state of someone can be affected by the aesthetic components of an interior design – and, in turn, the mood it creates. Interior designers are very in tune with this aspect in order to create the best space for their clients.

For example, the light and colour palette an interior designer chooses can change our state of mind. After all, the right combination of colours can trigger feelings of well-being, vitality and a sense of comfort and relief.

Light colors bring about feelings of openness and brightness, while dark colors bring about calm and depth.

Design psychology

Design psychology is one branch of the psychology field that focuses on how our environments can influence us. This is a very versatile sector of psychology, and is more important than people realize.

Design psychology is a recent, but growing discipline that studies the influences of spatial, temporal and environmental factors on people.

As talked about previously in this article, the physical details of our immediate environmental have effects on mood.

A few examples of design psychology in practice include the discovery that colours – blue and red – have a calming effect on us, that symmetrical designs reduce stress and that colour can significantly affect mood.

The effects of design on a person can be more nuanced and complex than colour and design.

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How we build our home:

The physical components of our living environments can shape our psychological and mental states. This might be to our benefit, or not, it depends on what the space entails.

For example, researchers have linked small spaces with decreased anxiety and self-reported improvements in mood.

But researchers also note that that same small space was associated with the increased consumption of food and beverages in these spaces.

Other research suggests that the quality of the materials used in the interior of our homes can influence our moods.

However, in the case of blood glucose levels, our storage space can negatively affect our health.

Studies show that rooms without a proper amount of storage space are associated with more high-sugar foods in people's kitchens and, consequently, higher blood glucose levels.

People with less space in their kitchen are more likely to store sweets and desserts in their cupboards, which often leads to increased levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

As you can see, this is a growing area of research.

Design and mental health

Interior designers tend to rely on empirical data when creating their projects, but it is not always enough to have evidence-based knowledge. Research shows that individual characteristics affect our interior design choices and preferences.

With the increase in the popularity of grey, it has been proposed that light grey colours reduce stress. Theoretically, it could be the colour grey that makes the space feel more peaceful and calm, which we call "blue" – meaning blue mood.

A possible explanation for this could be that people feel calmer when they are surrounded by a lot of grey because they perceive the colour to be "formal" or "relaxed," and thus more "stable" and more certain.

Grey is also a basic color that pairs well with other colors and can fit into several moods.

It could also be that people make these mood assessments based on other, already known, reasons.

Consider the "calm before the storm" scenario, a fictional event where people would be under high stress and feel the need to retreat. What colors and spaces do you think they would gravitate to?

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