What grasps your attention if you look around yourself?

Consider the colors of the room, the texture on the surfaces, the light, openness in the space, movement, and circulation, and furniture arrangement. Design matters in terms of what emotions it evokes and what makes the occupant of the space happy or unhappy. Building the user’s well-being is of utmost importance for a designer. There are many design decisions in which a designer should avoid focusing on an occupant’s right psychology. We all know for as long as there has been great design; there have been bad or unimpressive designs. We all entered a room and felt like something was off. Even if the furniture is beautifully complemented with great art pieces, if it does not sing together, it does not evoke a “wow-factor”. 

LESS ATTENTION TO FUNCTIONALITY: 

Interior spaces affect our lives by making it comfortable and functional by the use of furniture placement and zoning of spaces that provides a set movement and pattern. Functionality in a space is of utmost importance. Rooms serving an unclear purpose, or lacking basic layout is unusable. Many houses are simply filled with too many items that take away the functionality of space. 

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Simple forms, open floor plans, minimal interior walls, and emphasis on clean views and daylight are defining characteristics of a space that focus on the proper functionality of the area. 

“Architectural cues can reinforce the desired behaviors that we would like to see enacted in specific place types.” 

– Environmental psychologist and interior designer Migette Kaup.

LIGHTING: 

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There is always the right color and light 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. While designing space aesthetics, it is essential to use lighting that creates the desired mood that one attempts to create. A room may look different in size, big or small, vibrant, or gloomy depending on the color palette with the appropriate light intensity, and make the desired psychological effect in a given space. Good lighting creates a good atmosphere and sets the tone. There is proper lighting for different areas of a house, and the key is to understand the purpose of the room.

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For instance, in the above example of a living room, the layering of light creates a lighting scheme that suits the appropriate activity in the space. There is a combination of ambient lighting, general lighting, up-lighters creating wall washing effects. Each effect can be considered as a layer of light and it creates a pleasant, happy atmosphere and impact on the user’s mind. 

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The above two images show a combination of dark and dull lighting with cold pink and dull yellow color tones instantly reflecting dismal and unhappy space. The place looks uninviting and directly impacts the user and his mental well being as well as his productivity and overall mood. The color tones, furniture elements, and textures represent a dreary atmosphere.

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

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FOLLOWING THEMES: 

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Focusing too heavily on a theme makes the space amateurish. A general overall concept should be incorporated into the interiors of a project. Rooms with too much theme look overwhelming, messy, and overdone. Instead of designing a room around a theme, small elements that show the character of the user well should be incorporated. 

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The image of the living room shows a certain theme followed in the space which is taking away the focus from any and every element and making it look heavy and cluttered. Too many textures and prints in the space making it dominating overall with a lack of clarity.

NO FOCAL POINT: 

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If you enter a space and feel like there is no exact place to look first, then the room is probably lacking a focal point. This can be the case because of many reasons like the presence of too many accessories and pieces represent, or because the focal point is not defined. A focal point could be anything from a furniture piece to an art mural or a rug. A focal point is where the lines of the room meet and the benefits of having it make the room cohesive and in harmony. A focal point also helps in drawing away from the negative aspects of a space.

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A psychology professor at Massasoit Community college states that – “some of these environmental influences we cannot see or touch, yet they have a direct influence on our behavior or mood.

Space psychology and its understanding lead to better productivity in all projects and its absence provides an unclear translation in the interiors of a space. Every design decision impacts a space and a good designer should always prioritize the psychological impact space offers on the user’s subconscious. 

Chitvan Mathur
Author

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.

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