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  • Writer's pictureJCB

Deep Space: Can We Find Happiness Through a Well Designed Home? Science Says Yes.

Updated: Jun 20

Creating Happiness at Home: The Intersection of Environmental Psychology and Interior Design

Have you ever walked into a room and felt an instant sense of calm or energy? That's the power of environmental psychology, the study of how our surroundings impact our emotions and behaviors. Turns out, there is a science behind how cleaning, decorating, and thoughtful design choices can enhance happiness in your living space. As an optimistic skeptic (is that a thing?) I love exploring data that proves the gut 'feelings' that I'm experiencing are actually more than just the 'woo woo,' but actually something that can be studied, proven and backed by science. I know how my home makes me feel when it's organized, tidy and looking pretty and the way I like it, but I didn't know that it truly affects my brain, mood, and function on a cellular level!

It changes the game a bit when thinking about home. It's not just a space that holds us, but a space that has the ability to restore us and even heal us.

Clean Spaces, Clear Minds

Research in environmental psychology confirms what many of us intuitively feel – that clutter can contribute to stress and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that a tidy environment can lead to improved mood and cognitive function (Vohs et al., 2013). By streamlining your space and organizing your belongings, you create room for positive energy to flow freely. Even clearing out a cluttered basement can have an unblocking affect. We know this firsthand!

Designing for Joy

The colors, textures, and layout of your home can have a profound impact on your emotional state. Research cited in the Journal of Interior Design suggests that certain design elements, such as natural light and biophilic elements (AKA plants and nature), can promote feelings of well-being and happiness (Hassenzahl & Monk, 2010). Whether it's a cozy reading nook bathed in natural light or a vibrant kitchen adorned with playful accents, every corner of your home should evoke a sense of happiness and belonging.

Personal Touches

Your home should be a reflection of your personality and passions. Studies in environmental psychology have shown that incorporating personal items into your living space can enhance feelings of comfort and satisfaction (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989). Whether it's a collection of cherished bowls (I LOVE BOWLS) displayed proudly on a shelf or a curated library of your favorite books, these elements add depth and character to your space. Collections are cool because many people don't even realize they have 'collections' until I put their scattered and unorganized pieces together and display them in a curated and thoughtful way. It's then that our things begin to tell a story and not just add to the clutter.

The Power of Connection

In case you missed it, apparently loneliness is the new smoking. Sadly, we most likely have Covid and screens to thank for this new epidemic in our society—between the two it's more than easy to feel disconnected from our surroundings. However, research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology suggests that fostering a sense of connection to our environment can significantly improve our overall well-being (Howell et al., 2011). From cozy outdoor lounges to inviting communal areas, creating spaces that invite connection – with nature, with loved ones, and with ourselves – can enrich our lives in meaningful ways. We can design our homes to bring people closer, not further apart, while at the same time give us the comfort and autonomy of personal space. This is in part, how we can cure loneliness! Create inviting spaces. Invite people over. Make dinner. Even if it's just cheese (I'll come over for cheese!).

Follow the Science.

Understanding how our surroundings influence our well-being is key to creating homes that nurture happiness and fulfillment. By embracing the principles of environmental psychology and thoughtful interior design, we can transform our living spaces into havens of healing, joy, and inspiration.

Juniper House is a full service interior design studio helping clients realize their dream space. Contact us if you want us to help create your dream!


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