How to use interior design to boost mental health

Now let’s be clear, paint isn’t going to cure depression.

But the old notion that the state of your room is a reflection of the state of your mind has some bearing.

Consciously crafting your interiors to something that suits your tastes, while tapping into small hacks that can positively affect the mind, might mean your home environment has the power to boost your wellbeing.

And that is something we could all do with a bit more of.

Lucy Askew, of interiors brand Hillarys, tells Metro.co.uk there are some simple tricks to try that can make your interiors better designed for the benefit your mental health:

Get the basics right first

Tackling mess and tidying is an arduous task for many – but it’s got to be done to get things going.

‘Our homes are the place we escape to after a long and perhaps stressful day,’ says Lucy.

‘It’s so important that we make them a sanctuary for our minds to relax and unwind, as well as a place to bring joy to our day.

‘If you find that your mind is a chaotic place, make sure your home reflects a minimalist design style.

‘Less is more, so declutter your home and make sure it’s an easy space to keep tidy and maintained. When our home is tidy, it helps our minds to remain calm and keep our thoughts in order.’

Once the labour is done, your home is likely to instantly feel that bit more tranquil.

Consider shapes

Believe it or not, the shaping and placing of your furniture (which then shapes the entire room) can signal certain things to your mind.

Lucy says: ‘Look at the shapes in your house. Are your furniture and feature pieces made up of round, soft lines? Or perhaps you find that straight edges, squares, and sharp angles make up your interior space?

‘Softer curves and circles can actually be better for our mental wellbeing. Not only are they flexible and fun – evoking feelings of joy in our homes – but they also help to make us feel cosy, cocooning us and sheltering us from the outside.’

You should also rethink how you place your furniture: Can the light get in better if something is moved? Do any desks jut out?

‘Lower ceilings can also help to reduce our stress levels as we tend to feel more comfortable, which dates back to our cave-dwelling days. 

‘Make sure any rooms with a lower ceiling in your house are kept a little darker (to feel cosy), and if they’re located next to a room with a higher ceiling, make sure these rooms are a little brighter,’ Lucy adds.

Light is important when looking at low mood, as seasonal effective disorder is often (but not always) experienced during the winter months when light hours are limited.

Plants and more plants

Countless studies have shown we feel better when we’re outside and surrounded by nature.

‘Exposure to greenery can not only improve our mood, but can also help reduce stress levels and feelings of anxiety – there’s a reason why plants in the home have been such an ongoing trend these last few years,’ Lucy explains.

You don’t need to be a pro at keeping plants alive to reap the benefits either – certain types are very low maintenance.

Get colourful

Colour psychology is a real thing, with the currently fashionable sage green for example being known for its serene feel.

Lucy says: ‘The psychology behind colours and what they evoke in people’s minds is also an interesting one to look at. 

‘There are some obvious colours that tend to lead to similar emotions; red being associated with danger, yellow with brightness and warmth, as well as blue, which tends to be linked to feeling calm.

‘All of these can differ from person to person, so go with your gut. Incorporate the colours that you know bring a sense of calmness, but also a sense of joy which is just as important.’

Think about hosting

You don’t need to have people round if you don’t want to, but Lucy says it’s good to think about how your space might read in that situation – we often do things better when it’s for other people, than for ourselves alone.

‘My final piece of advice would be to make sure there is space in your home to host,’ she adds.

‘We’ve spent a long time these past few years forced into an unwelcomed isolation, and this no good for the soul.

‘If possible, look to make your living room and kitchen one, making the whole space feel inclusive and welcoming.’

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