“Architectural cues can provide reinforcement to the desired behaviors that we would like to see enacted in specific place types,” 

– environmental psychologist and interior designer Migette Kaup.

Interior design is the art of designing a space that recognizes the importance of the elements in a room like colors, light, measurement of area, scale, and much more. Interior Design and Psychology go hand in hand. With most of the time spent indoors, the space we occupy depicts a significant role in the user’s psychological behavior. Interaction between space, environment and user psychology plays an essential part to address the senses of the individual. Emotions of warmth, safety, creating a positive environment in the area can have a lot of impact on how the user acts or feels; therefore, creative measures need to be considered according to the needs of the occupants. 

Psychology of space is in fact “the study of human relations and behaviors within the context of the built and natural environments” 

-Dave Alan Kopec

Interior space has big implications, and it is the architect and interior designer’s responsibility to shape solutions for users of the area and structure the desired ideas. Design principles like balance, symmetry, proportion, ease of movement, and rhythm can introduce harmony in the space and evoke feelings of comfort. 

There is always the right color for the desired mood in the room. Abundant natural light stimulates production and recovery; dim light suggests a gloomy environment and bright light defines a bigger, cheerful and serene atmosphere. Whenever a designer is creating some aesthetic, it is essential to use colors that fit with the mood that one is attempting to create. A room may feel big, small, vibrant, gloomy, etc., depending on the color palette chosen and make the desired psychological effect in a given space. 

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Light is an essential element affecting the psychology of the user, but it has its specifications. The lighting required in a restaurant is different from one required at home or in an office setup depending on the overall ambiance and vibe. Apart from lighting, other elements like textures, shape and scale, also influence the emotional aspect of the space. 

Giving a personalized touch from picking the colors, artefacts, functions and the interior space becomes a reflection of the user is essential. What makes the inhabitant of the space happy and productive and provides a feel-good factor is what affects the psychology of the user ultimately. Every design choice made in that space should also promote a feeling of safety, comfort and belonging.

The bond between interior design and human emotions, creating environmental psychology has been followed for a very long time in the form of Indian Vastu, Chinese Feng Shui, etc. These have shown the ability in interior design to evoke a positive or negative emotional response in people and have gained attention in the form of environmental psychology. In these practices, each space is analyzed, and readings determine aspects like decor, color tones and materials. An environmental psychology professor at Massasoit Community College in Middleborough, Mass states that “some of these environmental influences we cannot see or touch, yet they have a direct influence on our behavior or mood.”

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The perception of space is something that a designer is well versed with and is dependent on how, where and what kind of elements are placed in an area that looks appealing to the eyes. The approaches and tricks to make this work matter along with details bringing effect to space. This makes the space a whole, providing aesthetics and functionality simultaneously. This concept is also used to make areas appear more spacious and user-friendly. It is basically using visual tricks to alter how one views the space. For example, to make the room size seem big, furniture should be used that is slimmer and light-weight, back walls can be covered with mirrors and murals used that depth. It is vital to keep the spaces clutter-free with the clear entryway and inviting spaces full of natural elements and abundant light. 

Taken into account the design process, space psychology leads to better productivity in many large-scale projects and the absence of fundamental design principles and unclear translation in interior design depends on the designer’s sensitivity and skill. Every design decision one makes has a distinct psychological impact on the user’s subconscious.

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Design is a complex process, and interior designers are trying to understand more about how to improve the psychological and emotional impacts of the space. Some techniques used like stimulating the natural environment- bringing in elements of nature to create an atmosphere of health and relaxation, spatial perception and design principles are some factors that help improve the psychological impact of living spaces. 

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Through interior design psychology, the performance and efficiency of the space along with the well-being of the inhabitants can be improved. Everything comes down to maximizing the positive effects of the relationship between the inhabitants of the room and the environment by keeping not only the aesthetics but other factors also like usability, connectivity and complexity into account. 


Chitvan Mathur is an Architect and Designer who is passionate about how spaces tell a story through powerful conceptualisations. A strong believer in the ability of architecture, she combines research with critical thinking and aims for quality by bringing her aesthetic and clean eye to all parts of her work.