How Your Home's Interior Design Can Affect Your Stress Levels

Last updated on : June 01 2022

Working space

Science has shown that your environment can drastically affect your stress levels

Some well-known environmental factors, such as living in a cluttered and chaotic space, can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, but did you know that something as small as the light bulb you put in your bedside lamp can make a real difference?

If you're looking to keep your daily stress levels down, you can make many simple changes to your home's interior design to reduce unintentional stressors. 

In this blog post, we'll explore how different elements of your home's design can affect your stress levels, and we'll give you some tips on making them more relaxing. 

So if you're looking for an easy way to stress out less, keep reading.

The Biological Effects Of Your Home Lighting

Choosing the proper lighting for your home is essential from a design perspective. For example, no home office would be complete without well-chosen task lighting, and good lighting can promote healthy sleep patterns

However, the effects of light on our biology are often understated.

Daylight has well-documented benefits for our physical and mental health, but did you know that even artificial lighting can have an impact? 

Here's what you need to know to choose the proper lighting.

Light Temperature And Color

Light color temperature can have multiple effects on our feelings of stress. For example, blue light is associated with increased alertness, while yellow and red light may promote relaxation. 

Many smartphones have a night mode that shifts the screen to redder, warmer light and reduces the blue glare to combat these effects.

However, you can get an even more positive effect by coordinating room color and light temperature. A study at the Hamadan University of Medical Sciences found that, for example, warm white light in a white room and cool white light in a blue room can increase visual comfort and provide a mood boost in a workplace.

If you're looking to create a relaxing environment in your home, you might consider using bulbs with a warmer color temperature. Alternatively, if you're looking to boost your energy levels, you might prefer a cooler light.

In general, warmer light—redder light at a lower color temperature—seems to be more calming, while cooler, or bluer, light can be more energizing.

Of course, not everyone reacts to different colors and temperatures of light in the same way, so it's essential to experiment with other lighting options to see what works best for you.

The Benefits Of Natural Sunlight

There's no doubt that natural sunlight has some pretty excellent benefits for our health. For one thing, it can help improve our mood and mental well-being. 

Exposure to sunlight has been shown to increase the "happy hormone" serotonin levels in the brain.

Sunlight also helps the body produce vitamin D, essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system. And according to recent research, getting enough sunlight may help protect against conditions like osteoporosis, cancer, and even acne.

One of the best things you can do for your interior design is to let in as much natural sunlight. Skylights and large windows are a good idea and choosing sheer curtains, and light-colored walls and furniture help maximize the effect.

Our bodies are designed to be awake during the day and asleep at night, but modern life doesn't always follow this natural pattern. Sunlight also plays a vital role in the circadian rhythm, regulating our sleep-wake cycle. 

If lights are on late at night outside your window, turn your bedroom into an at-home sanctuary with blackout curtains to keep the room dark enough for restful sleep. 

Most bedrooms have a window, but if there isn't one or it doesn't get enough sunlight, think about getting a smart light designed to mimic a sunrise in the morning.

Stepping outside the interior realm for a moment, designing an outdoor living space is a great way to encourage yourself to spend time outside in the sun. 

Of course, it's important to remember that too much sun exposure can be harmful, so make sure you take precautions like wearing sunscreen and staying in the shade during the hottest hours of the day.

The Scientific Effects Of Color On Your Mood

Living room

Going back to the idea of coordinating your room color and your lighting color, how do you choose the right color? 

It turns out that color psychology goes beyond associating colors with concepts; some colors cause a biological reaction. 

Here are some guidelines for picking the right color to make a relaxing room:

Colors That Increase Stress Levels

Red is the big one that people associate with less-restful rooms. Red can raise blood pressure, activate a "fight or flight" instinct, and has the quality of jumping out at the viewer or appearing nearer than it is. There's a reason stop signs are red; red is eye-catching.

Similarly, bright, vivid colors and high-contrast patterns can grab attention, and things that grab our attention are generally stimulating rather than restful. 

If the primary goal is relaxation, it may be better to leave bright colors and patterns as accent pieces like a throw pillow rather than wall paint, curtains, or furniture.

Colors That Help You Relax

While some colors may have the ability to increase our stress levels, others can help us relax. 

Blue has almost the exact opposite effect to red in that it lowers blood pressure and recedes into the background, especially as a pastel or light blue. Green is said to require no adjustment from the eye to look at it, so it appears restful.

Have you noticed that these are both common colors seen outdoors? Blue and green are associated with soothing natural sights like water features, the sky, and living plants.

The calming color palette isn't limited to the cool side of the color wheel, however. 

For example, the color pink has been shown to reduce anxiety and irritability. Certain shades of yellow also have soothing properties and can promote cheerfulness. For instance, yellows that lean more toward amber can have a mellow look.

Personal preference can also play a role—using your favorite color in your home is an excellent way to make you feel better whenever you look at it.

Simply keep the shade and intensity in mind to get the most relaxing benefits.

The Psychological Effects Of Clutter

You knew this was coming right from the intro, so let's get right to it. 

Some people are comfortable leaving their bedroom messy; others find such a space infuriating, nerve-wracking, or depressing. No matter which camp you fall into, it's essential to know that clutter can significantly impact your stress levels.

Clutter grabs attention as vivid colors do, and chaos generally isn't nicely color-coordinated to provide a unifying harmony. It competes for attention, causes guilt in many people, and creates an oppressive feeling of having no end in sight. 

An overly cluttered room doesn't allow space to breathe, mentally inhibiting creativity and productivity. In other words, too much stuff can lead to feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. 

Creating a calm and stress-free environment in your home requires regular decluttering. Decluttering means getting rid of anything that you don't need or use and organizing the items you need in a way that makes sense to you.

Tips For Reducing Clutter

The most effective way to keep a room from being crowded with clutter is prevention—making sure that there are fewer items in the home to accumulate there. 

Here are some tips for reducing the amount of clutter in your home:

Downsize your belongings. If you don't need it or use it, get rid of it. Donate items that you no longer need or want if they're in usable condition.

Have a place for everything, and put everything in its place. This practice will help you stay organized and make it easier to find things when you need them. 

If you can't find a place for something, let that prompt you to consider whether it's vital to keep it.

Do a regular declutter. Set aside some time each month to go through your belongings and get rid of anything you don't need or want. Doing a small amount each month can be more manageable than trying to do a year's worth of decluttering all at once. 

Whether you use a specific method like the KonMari method or something you've created yourself, find a system that works for you and stick to it.

Tips For Keeping Clutter Out Of Sight

But what about those things that you can't let go of, even if you don't use them often? 

Keeping clutter out of sight is the next best way to combat its anxiety-inducing effects. Part of this is staying organized, as mentioned above. 

If you're looking to keep clutter out of sight, here are some tips:

Use storage bins or baskets. Storage bins are a great way to keep items organized and out of sight; a neat row of baskets on a shelf is more visually clean than leaving their contents out in the open.

If you have a pedestal sink, consider swapping it out for a sink with storage underneath. Furniture with hidden storage, such as ottomans and coffee tables, is a great way to add storage space without making it obvious.

And, if you find that once something is out of sight, it's out of mind, return to the idea of giving it away. Some items might not be as necessary as you once thought.

The Right Interior Design Can Help You Feel Happy And Healthy

Your home's interior design can significantly impact your stress levels. 

To create a calm and relaxing environment, pick the right color and lighting combo to provide the feeling you're going for, whether calm and productive or intimate and relaxed. 

Declutter regularly, and make sure you have enough storage to keep any mess out of sight. You might be surprised at how these small changes can significantly impact you and help you lead your best life.

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