How do you feel when you return home each day? Relaxed and instantly at ease? Or burdened with a nagging feeling of something being “not quite right”?
If it’s the latter, perhaps it’s time to rethink your home interior.
Maybe it’s the furniture arrangement, or maybe it’s the furniture itself. Whether it’s the colour, layout or noise and light levels causing the problem, by correcting the element at fault, you can turn your home into the sanctuary it should be.
It’s all down to the theory of neuro-architecture, where neuroscience is combined with architecture to help influence design decisions. It addresses human responses to built environments, focusing on how the brain and nervous system react. Its practices have been used in hospitals to aid rehabilitation, in the workplace to improve productivity and in schools to facilitate learning.
So, what about the behavioural implications of interior design at home?
Light levels can have a huge impact on our physical and mental health. Studies have suggested that night-shift work and irregular exposure to day and night is linked to elevated cancer rates. If your bedroom is full of gadgets and bright lights are constantly keeping you up at night, consider moving technology out of your room and using candles and lamps instead.
A study by the University of Minnesota found that ceiling height can affect people’s physical and mental states. According to the study, high ceilings activate the right section of the brain, which is associated with abstract thinking. In rooms with low ceilings, the left section of the brain is activated, which is associated with concentrated thinking. If you’re in need of a quiet space to get some work done, consider using a room with a low ceiling. Conversely, if you need to flex your creative muscles, get moving to a loftier location.
Dutch designer Merel Bekking used brain scans to find the ‘perfect’ design. Bekking showed 20 volunteers 252 images of different textures, shapes, colours and scenery. Out of all the combinations shown, people’s brains responded most positively to objects that were red, plastic and formed in closed organic shapes.
Does this mean you should scatter rounded, plastic, red ornaments throughout your home? At a neuroscience conference, renowned architect Frank Gehry advised against following strict formulas.
“We need to allow for intuitive impulses that are very informed. What enables you to find the cure for cancer is not to follow steps A, B, C,” he said. “Something accidental will happen in the laboratory. You follow your intuition, it is an informed intuition and you have the Eureka moment.”
It’s great to know the rules and theory, but take risks and play around with your interior elements.
Have a look at the infographic below and see how you can apply neuro-architecture to your home.
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