A retreat from the world, our homes are where we relax and unwind. But how do our décor and colour choices impact us? We explored the psychology of our homes to find out.
Our own private sanctuary and retreat, we often form strong emotional bonds with our homes. Whether rented or owned, a modern apartment or a quaint country cottage, we want to feel calm and connected to our interior. However, with almost 9 out of 10 of us stressed by our home’s clutter and belongings, it seems the items we surround ourselves with can have a real impact on mood, health and wellness.
To find out more about how our homeware can affect us, we carried out a survey and sought expert opinions. We also examined how the placement of plants, colours, lighting and mirrors can impact the psychology of our homes.
Cluttered Homes and Cluttered Minds
Organising and decluttering can be cathartic and calming – having a physical clear out can clear our minds. This appealing process has been revolutionised in recent years, thanks to the rise of minimalism and the methods of organising expert, Marie Kondo.
Focusing on the feelings we associate with our belongings, many of us are questioning if they ‘spark joy’, in order to better organise our homes, lives and minds. With 87% of people experiencing stress due to being surrounded by too many personal possessions – especially when items lack a proper storage place – this could be a positive step for our collective psyche!
This idea is reinforced by Alexandra Lees, co-founder of Wu Wei Wisdom. As a wellness coach, Feng Shui consultant and environmental designer, her solution is to: “remove non-essential and unloved items from each room, then find a purposeful place for every remaining accessory and item of furniture. This process will pep up the energy of your home and as a result, you’ll feel more comfortable in your space and more motivated and organised in your life, too.”
The Perfect Number of Plants
Have you attempted to decorate your home with plants? According to our research, two-thirds of us have at least one gracing our décor. The recent trend of welcoming the outdoors in has seen many of us style our homes with nature. From succulents and cacti to cheese plants and palms, social media has been filled with natural interior inspiration.
~ Find out How to Bring the Outside in ~
Timeless, stylish and perfect for dressing your furniture, plants are well-known for their positive impact on health and wellbeing. This includes removing toxins from the air, enhancing mood, reducing anxiety and boosting productivity. Yet we found plants can quickly go from therapeutic to tension-inducing, with 17% of respondents telling us that incorporating too many into their décor had left them feeling stressed or anxious – it’s all about striking a balance.
Colours and Their Emotional Connections
If you love interior design, chances are you know that different colours tend to be associated with certain moods. Our research shows that this connection runs far deeper, with tones producing personal responses depending on the feelings they conjure. For example, richer shades can heighten emotions while muted palettes can lower them.
Using colours in the home can trigger certain physiological and psychological effects. Whether on your walls or with painted furniture, you could lower stress by incorporating purple, decrease blood pressure with blue, or boost mental health with yellow. Earthy hues and warm tones can encourage conversation, orange is known to stimulate and enhance creativity, while red can be a welcoming and homely addition – no wonder more than a third (38%) of you have used it in your living room!
L-R Rectory Red | Incarnadine | Red Earth | Setting Plaster
However, David Price, wellbeing expert and CEO of Health Assured, points out that red may not be the preferred shade for your bedroom: “the use of colour within a home is, especially the bedroom, very important. Having a colour too bright and vibrant can impact the amount of sleep someone can have, and this will easily have a negative impact on their wellbeing.”
L-R London Stone | Cord | Hay | Yellow Ground
Lighting for Health and Happiness
Just like colour, lighting has long been known to influence our health and wellbeing, making it a crucial factor in how our homes can make us feel. It can even alter the way we perceive our emotions, with stronger lighting leading to a stronger sense of feeling – numerous studies have shown that increasing natural light can directly boost happiness.
In terms of our homes, lighting can have real biological effects, with the power to alter sleeping patterns, circadian rhythm and cognitive function. While on a psychological level, increasing light sources can positively impact mood, reduce depression and boost reaction time.
Mirrors and Meal Times
Mirrors can be an effective way of boosting light levels within our homes. Yet we found that many of us have a love-hate relationship with this accessory, with 80% of respondents revealing they have actively avoided looking in a mirror at least once during the last 30 days.
Mirrors, however, could help us to adopt healthier habits, particularly in the dining room. In fact, over a fifth of people (22%) told us that adding a mirror to their dining area had made them reassess their behaviour, from eating slower to rethinking unhealthy food options.
The Home Connection
As the place we tend to spend most of our time, the way our homes make us feel is incredibly important. Our homeware choices can have a lot of power over our emotions and mood, with the ability to enhance or reduce our overall health and wellbeing. Could there be a more perfect excuse to diligently declutter, plan layouts and pick carefully crafted furniture?