Design Psychology: How home design affects your mental health


Your home is the most important place you interact within your day to day life. It’s where you feel secure, relaxed and spend time with your loved ones. How important is your home design for your mental health, feelings and behavior? Does it affect them at all? Absolutely, it does. Environmental psychology has been around since 1960 and it’s been proven time and time again just how big of a role it plays in our lives. 

In this article, we will focus on Design psychology – specifically Residential Design. We will go over how the design of your home affects you and which elements you should consider for your new custom build or renovation.

We know design influences the mind, but how? Pattern, behaviour, and feelings all play a role. Ranging from spatial perception to behaviour modeling, the following design elements will help you feel more comfortable in your home:

Façade design: By utilizing the façade as a canvas to reflect your personality, it creates a sense of place and connection which makes you feel like you belong. Looking at a visually appealing and complex façade automatically creates an engaging response in your brain which improves your mood.

Climate temperature comfort plays a huge role in how you’re feeling. Feeling cold is related to a sense of fatigue and if you feel too hot chances are you feel annoyed. That’s just one of the reasons why thermal performance in a house is monumentally important.

Plants affect your mind positively in a variety of ways. From cleaning the air which means your body deals with fewer toxins, to looking at the color green; Feeling in contact with nature which reduces stress levels, improves sleep quality and provides acoustic buffer which reduces background noise.

Materials are important and we can break those down to color and texture. Both play a strong role in our perception of the spaces. A white wall and a red wall will unconsciously cause different emotions in you, as well as smooth drywall compared to a rock wall. Be delicate in choosing these options and decide based on how you want to feel in your home.

Height of the ceiling: Low ceiling height tends to trigger confinement feelings, isolation and restrained thinking as opposed to a high ceiling which incites a feeling of freedom and fosters creativity.

Natural light influences our mood, social interaction, and even cognitive performance. Adding multiple well placed windows in your home is sure to boost your overall happiness.

Cognitive performance: In today’s world we have so many options for the simplest decision which can become overwhelming very fast. Home designs should be tailored with elements (features, gadgets, appliances, media, etc.) that match your current needs, but with the flexibility to facilitate adaptation for the future. This gives you that much needed Mindspace.

Spatial arrangement is of the utmost importance. Your specific pattern of action and behavior needs to be what dictates the spatial relations in your home. This can easily be the main guiding principle for all other design elements.

Your home is the place where you enjoy your family, friends and are able to relax. The correct application and use of these elements can have a positive effect on your mental health.

“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”  – Sir Winston Churchill