Interior Design + Mental Health


Article by Donna Hoffman

Photography by Interiors by Donna Hoffman

Your home affects the way you feel and function in Life. Studies upon studies agree. 

The quality of light, the height of a ceiling, a room color, the personal aesthetic, the degree of tranquility or lack thereof. These findings and more are measured and tested to affect daily feelings of wellbeing, energy level, productivity and even the quality of thought running through our brains. 

The technical name for this topic is Environmental Psychology.  

But for you and me, we are going to call it Interior-Design-Driven Well Being, and what follows are 3 key interior design pillars with hacks to use them to your advantage, for creating a peaceful interior design.   

Pillar 1: Function

Refers to HOW a space is laid out AND outfitted to support whatever activity you want to do there.  

For example, if your new home office is stuck into the corner of your bedroom, consisting of a club chair, ottoman, and laptop, in one swoop you created an uncomfortable workspace and nixed a relaxing bedroom vibe. 

Function Hack: Make 3 lists: One noting all the activities a space NEEDS to support; another listing where the room fails and the 3rd answering, “What would it look like if I didn’t have this problem?”  

Specific analysis is what designers use to brainstorm solutions. 

Pillar 2: Line

Refers to something’s shape. 

Everyone is affected by line. The right lines in a space feel great to us, the wrong ones make you squirm. 

You have a design DNA inside. I call it your Deign Fingerprint and it lives underneath your design style. It is how you need elements handled like line, form, light, shape, color, texture, pattern, placement and more. 

Concerning Line, here’s the “need-to-know”: 

  • Some people need straight, clean lines. They are rectilinear. 
  • Some people like curves and curlicues. They are curvilinear.  
  • Some people are a blend of the two, likely leaning more in one camp. You are a linear blend. 

Live in a space with lines that are not ALIGNED with your unique design fingerprint and it will be a stress-making, BAD experience.  

The Line Hack: Analyze 15 photos of rooms you love. Look beyond color and notice the basic shapes of both furnishings and architecture.  

Next, look at your own room to find any disconnect. Remove & replace offenders.  

Pillar 3: Aesthetic

The Oxford English Dictionary defines aesthetic as: “the quality of beauty that is pleasurable to the senses.” 

By virtue of reading this post, you are a “sensitive” in design and to your surroundings. 

If you’re a “design sensitive”, it’s imperative to support this essential piece of “you”, because an off-kilter home space will daily chafe your sense of wellbeing. 

Whether I’m working with a client, or one of my Design Diva students, I see again and again that when you raise the aesthetic in a home, the people in that home feel and function better.  

Quick Aesthetic Hacks:

  1. Declutter immediately.  
  2. Bring in fresh plants or flowers – studies consistently show they can lower blood pressure.  
  3. Learn the interior design strategies you need to successfully create amazingly beautiful spaces you’ll love. Find a great interior design coach. There are people like me who teach online interior design courses.  If I am not the right coach for you, find someone who is.  Amazing things can happen with the right strategies.  

Take back the hidden power locked in your home’s design, so it lifts your spirit, fuels you, soothes you – the payoff is huge when you do. 

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