Interior design might be having a moment in the limelight as an ‘Instagram-worthy’ form of expression, where houseplants and millennial pink hues now dominate the hipster coffee houses tucked away in the urban pockets of major UK cities. Even corporate workplaces have clocked on to growing trends such as industrial inspired interior design, with exposed brickwork and pipe lined ceilings becoming a trademark of many creative workspaces.
The value of this can permeate far beyond aesthetics though, as well thought out interior design has the potential to influence people’s general sense of wellbeing, determining the positivity that we all crave or causing it to lag. Let’s take an indepth look at this andd learn how you can switch up the interiors of your own space to promote good wellbeing in yourself and others.
Tidy space, tidy mind
While we might traditionally link wellbeing to the daily routine we rely on, the content we consume or the company we keep, the spaces that we inhabit can have a blatant impact on wellbeing as they tend to dictate our feelings towards a certain environment. In fact, as a contributing factor to wellbeing, our environment is perhaps most overlooked as it doesn’t seem like an easy one to change or link directly to feelings of negativity. There’s a lot of value in the saying ‘tidy space, tidy mind’ but the same concept applies to the appeal of a space and its visual elements are at the heart of this. With some clever interior design techniques and some personalised wallpaper, you can breathe a new lease of life into your own spaces.
50 shades of productivity
Colour is certainly a good place to start, as the psychology that is linked to it suggests that it can have a notable impact on wellbeing. There is something dauting about an entirely white space, and while the minimalists amongst us mind find the crisp characteristic of this to be appealing, it is not the best idea for promoting good wellbeing or specifically, productivity. A study from The University of Texas established some rather ‘colourful’ conclusions, wherein participants carried out clerical tasks in rooms painted in white, aqua and red. The individuals found the most difficult room for blocking out ‘colour noise’ to be the white room, and the most errors were made when the work was carried out in the white washed space. The sterile nature of it could certainly be a contributing factor to this, and paradoxically, the ‘blank canvas’ did not elicit amongst the study participants. While the often defined as ‘phsychologically neutral’ shades of off grey and beige also fell into an association with gloom, many offices opt for these colours and it could be having a detrimental effect on employees sense of wellbeing while at work. The aqua room generated the most positive responses, and this supports the common viewpoint that low-wavelength colours work best for stimulating positivity — think soothing pale green hues and tranquil blues which naturally promote communication and calmness. Exposure to certain colours has even been found to contribute to chemical imbalances in the brain, emphasising just how important choosing the right shade for your interiors can be.
Wellbeing infrastructure in the home
For many people, the home is a personal space, and usually it marks a cut off point between professional life. Things like family life and leisure are associated with the home, but what if the places that we spend our downtime in aren’t functioning as they should? There are ways to use interior design at home, and they can create a clearer separation between the reality of life and the time that we should be spending relaxing in our own private spaces.
The home should ultimately be a hub for your family (or just yourself) to relax in, and by using your interior design to assign this concept you can create rooms that feel welcoming and that you enjoy spending time in. The idea of the ‘heart’ of the home is a good starting point, whether you choose your living room, kitchen or conservatory, there should be an area of your home that feels like the central point, where communication and quality time is spent. This space should feel appealing, and really you have the opportunity to fill it with everything you love.
You shouldn’t shy away from expressing yourself at home, whether you enjoy a pop of colour here and there, a bold 1970s inspired print or a vibrant collection of houseplants to bring a jungle feel into your space, you shouldn’t be afraid to have all the things you enjoy around you — now the link to wellbeing seems obvious! Many interior designers enjoy using only light fabrics, especially for features such as curtains as they can provide a translucent barrier between indoors and outdoors, making you feel closer to the natural world and allowing more light to enter a room. This is the perfect space for productivity, as dark, opaque rooms tend to create a claustrophobic feeling.
Everyone’s lives are moving quicker than ever in the grip of the digital age and taking downtime doesn’t always feel possible. As technology continues to dominate in many of our homes with things like google assistant becoming commonplace, it has never been more important to create a space in which you can truly escape from this. Take a quiet corner of your home and make it as calm and welcoming as possible, with soft furnishings along with books that you enjoy, but make technology exempt from this space: place a notepad somewhere in the area and use it as an opportunity to reflect. By creating this area and using interiors to associate a meaning with it, you can teach your mind to value downtime and promote a healthy sense of wellbeing that is not constantly overwhelmed by technology and the hectic nature of the realities of life.
So, is your space serving your wellbeing in all the right ways, or do you need to refine either your work or home environment to restore some zen? Boost your productivity by adjusting your surroundings accordingly.