Humans have been thinking about the way they decorate their homes for thousands of years. In ancient India, Vastu shastra (literally, “the science of architecture”) has been informing decorating techniques since as early as 6,000 BCE. The more commonly known influence for home decorating, feng shui, has its roots in ancient China where practitioners were inspired by astronomy. In the early 1900s, however, a modern science was founded that attempts to solve some of the problems that arise based on our environments.
Environmental psychology is a field that focuses on the interplay between humans and the environments they live and work in. Scientists have studied the way humans (and other animals, like rats) are affected by their environment. Their findings help to inform us of how we can live more relaxed or focused based on how we decorate our home and workplace.
A place to call your own
As society becomes increasingly urbanized, many psychologists are studying the problems that arise from being in constant contact with one another, both physically and in the digital world. One thing that scientists have discovered is that it is important for humans to have a place of sanctuary during their day. Whether this is your cubicle at work, your home office, or your tool shed, everyone needs a place they can be alone. Ask yourself if your home setup provides you with a space that you can go to be alone.
How colors can affect mood
Have you ever been in a school or hospital that was painted an awful color that just made you uncomfortable? Many of us have trained ourselves to adapt and live with environments that aren’t ideal for us. For example, the bright red walls of McDonald’s or the blinding fluorescent lights in a department store probably aren’t conditions we’d pick for our homes. Scientists have discovered that there is a correlation between colors, brightness, and our mood.
Try to match the colors of your rooms with their functions. For example, you wouldn’t want to paint your bedroom bright red, as your bedroom should be a place you can relax to fall asleep. Instead, go with a less-pronounced color for the bedroom.
The balance between cluttered and sterile
Much of the way we choose to decorate our homes is informed by our childhood. If you learn meticulous cleaning habits from your parents, you might carry on with this into adulthood. As a child, you probably went to a friend’s house and marveled at how differently they did things. Part of that lesson is learning that the way someone chooses to decorate and clean their home is part of their personality. But like most things in life, it’s important to find a balance.
If you find yourself restless or distracted you should ask yourself if the room is too cluttered or messy. Maybe it’s the opposite; you could just as easily become distracted or uncomfortable by an environment that is too sterile looking.
Listen to yourself
The most important thing to remember when decorating your home is to follow your intuitions. Decide if you decorated a room a certain way because that’s what everyone else does or if it actually makes you feel more at home.