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Interior Design Psychology If you're looking to design your house, we have to take into consideration the purpose of that space and who is likely to be using it. This may sound obvious but there would be little point in placing expensive luxurious furniture and deep plush carpets in a room that is to be used for children to play in, also we wouldn't want to create a busy distracting environment and put our technology and gadgets in the bedroom if our intention is to get a good rest at night. So apart from the practical considerations what else should we have to take into consideration when designing the perfect room? * Lighting * Perception of space * Noise * Colour * Smell Investigation by environmental psychologists has confirmed that our surroundings can and does have a substantial effect on the way we feel and how we are likely to respond, so in the case of interior design, it stands to reason that we have to take care to avoid anything that is likely to make us feel uncomfortable or distressed and should aim for a harmonious environment that ultimately has a positive effect on our mood.

Lighting Take a room used by a counsellor for example. Can how the lighting in the room have an influence whether an individual is likely to be relaxed enough to be able to talk candidly? The answer is yes according to the results of one Japanese study conducted by the College of Humanities and Sciences in Nihon University in Tokyo, which found that dim lighting evoked more relaxed feelings, increased how the counsellor was perceived and allowed the individual to be more open than if the room was brightly lit. One area where we can clearly see the effect of lighting is in the food industry. Fast food stores generally want a swift turnover of their customers so in order to encourage people to eat up quickly and leave the lighting tends to be bright and sometimes a little harsh, the seating is practical rather than comfortable and arranged in close proximity to each other, and the colours tend to be bold. If we now compare this to an expensive restaurant where the idea is to create a gastronomic experience for the customer then we are more likely to find that the space is dimly lit, the tables are lower, the seating is comfortable and arranged in such a way as to be more private which of course encourages the diners to stay a little longer and order yet another bottle of overpriced house wine.

Perception of Space Spacious rooms are more positive towards mood than crowded rooms. Factors that are likely to highten the feeling of being closed in or crowded include low ceilings, small windows and lack of natural light, stuffy overheated rooms, rooms that are very narrow or rooms where there is too much clutter and other items crammed into the available space. Combined, this will create a stressful environment as opposed to a relaxed and comfortable one. We would also have to take into account any barriers to communication too.

For example, in the counsellor's room we are more likely to be frank and open if the seating is arranged in such a way that facilitates clear communication between counsellor and patient than if there is a large imposing desk between them. However, this may be required in a large corporate environment if the intent is to create a clear division between management and staff. Noise Noise is also an important variable and indeed is a type of pollution which can affect how we feel. The constant drone of a computer or other machinery, electrical buzzing from refrigerators or lights, traffic noise in the street outside, workmen nearby and so on, can multiply the amount of stress that the occupants feel and would do little to evoke feelings of wellbeing in any room.

Colour A great deal of research has been carried out into the effect of colour, too much to go into here. On a very basic level, red is intense and attracts attention; it is also associated with passion. Blue is more relaxing and can evoke feelings of calm. Lighting can be used to intensive and add accent to colours through the creative use of uplighting, canvas and other materials to reflect positive light around an environment. Getting it right Interior design involves so much more than re-decorating and re-arranging furniture. If you take account of the not so obvious psychological factors as well as the practical and functional considerations you are more likely to get it right first time and create a perfect space that has the desired effect on the occupants.

David McEvoy is an expert in interior design. If you are looking for a leather sofa to give the finishing touches to a newly decorated room then please come and visit our site.

Gary Michaels (


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