Leading creative and chief creative officer at LuxDeco Jon Sharpe on why interiors matter when it comes to wellbeing and mental health, including how colours, textures, shapes and design choices affect mood.
Have you ever felt blue? Or green with envy? Colours are inextricably linked with emotions, mood and wellbeing. And our surroundings, décor and interior design all matter when it comes to managing mental health and boosting wellbeing. As the world battles through COVID-19, it’s never been more important to invest in your wellbeing at home.
Jon Sharpe explains why interiors matter
Jon Sharpe is an industry-leading creative and the chief creative officer at LuxDeco. He says: “The relationship between wellbeing and aesthetics has been known for years. Think Feng Shui and Indian Vastu Shastra – these concepts go way back. And while you don’t have to follow any specific system, in today’s world it’s more important to recognise exactly why interiors matter.
“Millions of people around the world are working at home and spending more time there because of the pandemic. And home is where we can all make a difference by switching up the interiors. There are ways to adjust your home décor and surroundings to make a difference to your state of mind and improve overall wellbeing.”
Interiors matter because they directly evoke emotional responses
Neuroscientific research shows that interior design can evoke emotional responses. These can be positive or negative, but these responses pave the way for people to purposefully alter their surroundings to encourage a peaceful state of mind. Colour psychology determines that various colours lead to different responses in people. As well as the blue of depression and green of envy, vibrant colours such as orange and yellow encourage communication and brightness. Darker shades of red, purple and green evoke calm for some people and gloom for others.
Within home décor, using shades of yellow and orange can help relaxation, while icy blue can help boost a sense of calm. Red is traditionally ruled out as an ideal home décor colour as it can appear hostile and studies link it as a prevailing colour to anxiety. However, while there is a clear link between our surrounding space and our mood, personal choices are equally important.
Jon Sharpe says: “There are many aspects to the space surrounding us that can affect our mood. Colour is one, but personal taste also falls into this. If you’re a person who finds darker colours relaxing, then that’s what you should go with. There are no hard and fast rules, just evidence to show that you can affect your wellbeing through your interior design choices.
“As well as colour, the general aspect of a room can also influence your state of mind. For example, things like ceiling height affects feelings of confinement or perception and people tend to me more creative in rooms with higher ceilings. Textures and shapes also affect mood.”
3 design decisions that show interiors matter
- Natural design elements – there is strong evidence to show that plant life and natural elements in interior décor helps memory, concentration and general mood. Jon Sharpe says: “Whether it’s pot plants or flowers in the home and workspace, or an outdoor space, nature strongly influences mood and wellbeing. Working at home during lockdown could be hugely improved by enjoying the outside ‘home décor’ in your garden. Studies also show that working outside can improve focus by up to 20%.
- Textures and shapes – the shape of furniture and ornamental pieces in a home can evoke certain emotions. Feng Shui, for example, says that textures and shapes should represent natural elements, and this enhances a sense of wellbeing. Jon Sharpe says: “Arrange furniture in a balanced way to avoid dead space, and consider the design elements in your ornaments, furniture and fittings. Creatively discover what comforts you and include that in your home décor. Whether it’s a shaggy rug with a pleasing texture or the strength and endurance of natural wood, different design elements effect people in different ways.”
- Persuasive design – leading creatives and interior designs use technique such as persuasive design to improve the emotional impact of a space. Jon Sharpe says: “As creatives and designers we use psychology to guide the space in a room or home. Persuasive design may include using physical objects to guide the occupants to a certain mood or action, such as arranging seating around a table to boost communication.”
Jon Sharpe adds: “We also use lighting and even sound elements to create a positive living and working space. Home can be designed and moulded in such a way that wellbeing, health and mood are lifted and improved. And in times of change and difficulty, we can all start with our living spaces.”