Even those of us with busy work lives spend a lot of time in our homes. That has been especially true during the pandemic and for those who will continue to work from home. But even if you go into the office every weekday, the space you come home to can have critical ramifications for your mental health. Here are five mental health reasons to pay attention to your interior decoration, whether you are going DIY or using residential painters and decorators.
Our Spaces, Our Selves
Self-care is crucial to building and sustaining mental health. And taking care of the spaces we live in is a form of self-care. We need a comfortable home for so many reasons. It’s hard to relax and enjoy reading, binge-watching, or an at-home spa day if you are distracted by all the elements you want to change in your environment. Paint colours that you don’t like, clutter, furnishings you aren’t feeling, knick-knacks you have outgrown — these are the kinds of things that will make you feel like something is off whenever you encounter them. An environment that pleases you gives you a home base that feels right, not wrong.
A Sense of Safety
Your home is your shelter in a very literal sense, but it should also shelter you more metaphorically. It is the place where you should feel the freest to be your authentic self. The place where you can let your hair down completely. Some people are comfortable moving around their houses with no clothes on. Whether or not you are one of those people, design your space with the idea that you will feel emotionally and intellectually nude and vulnerable. You should feel comfortable enough at home to be wide open without feeling exposed.
The Influence of Colors
There is now a whole branch of psychology dedicated to studying colour and the human mind. There is some scientific evidence and a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that warmer colours increase attention and alertness, while cooler or neutral colours are soothing and relaxing. You can design your interior to reflect this evidence, choosing soothing colours for sleeping and relaxing spaces and more energetic, warm colours for offices, kitchen, or breakfast areas.
Just as different colours have psychological impacts, different kinds of light can help to regulate mood, the sleep-wake cycle, and energy levels. Much maligned blue light can actually be soothing and help with depression symptoms, though this comes with the massive caveat that too much exposure through screens is to be avoided, especially at bedtime. Natural light has vast advantages, helping your body to produce enough vitamin D and wake and fall asleep at the correct times.
There are evidence-based benefits to bringing the outdoors in. Houseplants can reduce stress, help you concentrate, increase well-being, increase productivity, and improve indoor air quality, among other things. And don’t stop with plants. Bring more of the benefits of nature into your home with decorative rocks, natural textiles, and exposed wood. Try creating a naturalist shelf or many-compartmented frame with beautiful feathers, pebbles, sticks and other natural brick-a-brack.
As you can see, your interior design choices can have significant mental health impacts. It is well worth putting some real thought into your indoor spaces. Happy decorating!