One thing is for certain, and that’s that modern-day life can be hectic and fairly toxic – and with rising levels of social anxiety, depression, and burn-out, we are collectively paying the price. Do our homes have a role to play in redressing the balance?
As our sanctuaries to escape from the pressures of the world, our houses now need to step up even more in supporting our wellbeing. Numerous studies have demonstrated the connection between our environment and our mental state, most often in connection with areas such as office design for workplace productivity or in color psychology. But our personal home space is arguably even more important in supporting our work-life balance and our mental health. Art has been used for years as a form of therapy in setting like an alcohol addiction treatment center or in group therapy sessions, but we can also leverage the same principles to make sure our homes enhance our mental wellbeing.
A New Approach To Interiors
At the prestigious Salon Del Mobile in Milan last year, tech giant Google partnered up with Johns Hopkins University’s Arts & Minds Lab to explore the effect of sensory input from our surroundings on our minds and bodies – a field now referred to as neuroaesthetics. They found, unsurprisingly, that what we see, smell, touch and see has a profound impact on our mental state. The Finnish furniture company Muuto designed three rooms that visitors moved through equipped with a tracker band which recorded their physiological responses as they went. Surprisingly, the rooms in which participants measured as the calmest weren’t necessarily the ones that they were most drawn to visually.
The Role Of Art In Our Homes
While changing things such as the layout of our homes often requires expensive structural work which isn’t always feasible, art offers a way to make a quick and accessible impact that can really alter the tone of a space and update your home. They are a quick route to making a house into a home when you move in, and they create a glimpse into your personality and tastes which is highly personal. Sourcing affordable original art for your home is surprisingly easy these days, thanks to the internet. Collecting an up-and-coming artist needn’t be prohibitively expensive. Similarly, using sensory elements such as tactile throws and cushions or beeswax scented candles, and visual color accents with vases and lampshades offers an affordable way to create a mood.
Adding A Touch Of Nature
Just as important in making us feel at home and grounded is access to nature. It’s why homes with beautiful views are so highly valued. But even if the landscaping around your home leaves a little to be desired, there are ways to introduce this feeling – from a simple terrarium or low-maintenance house plants that purify the air through to creating a living wall in an indoor/outdoor space like a garden room. This approach has been termed biophilic design and it can have a huge effect on mood – focusing as it does on the flow of light and air and the incorporation of natural elements and textures into your home.
Try adding some of the principles of design psychology into your home and you may just find that you’re happier as a result!