10 easy interior design hacks to improve your mental health
Did you know that our home environment actually has a huge impact on our wellbeing? It might not be a surprise to some, but studies show that your physical surroundings have a powerful impact on your mental health in terms of how it 'feels'. Being a wellbeing nut and an interiors enthusiast, I love that we have so much control over how we can feel at home.
Having trawled a few research papers for scientific evidence, here are my top tips for decorating in a way that helps your mental health flourish. By following these you will create a space you love, that encourages a calm and peaceful mood and makes you feel safe and cosy.
1. Create a clean slate
I know its boring and may seem obvious but there is nothing more cleansing for the mind than a quick tidy up. We need a clean slate to work off here so pick clothes up off the floor, make the bed, put the dishes away and have a quick hoover.
*Stops typing to take out the bins, and plump the sofa cushions.*
2. Bring nature inside
Having plants in your home has been proven to reduce stress, improve your mood and increase productivity levels. And because this is mostly due to visual reasons, if you’re guilty of killing a few plants, fake plants have the same effect. So whether succulents are your thing, you buy weekly fresh flowers or you decide to invest in a plastic replica, get yourself some indoor foliage and enjoy the calming and productive benefits.
3. Seduce the sun
Unsurprisingly we are at our most energetic and happiest when in a light, airy, naturally lit space. Those sun rays bring some vital vitamin D into our lives and this should really be prioritised when it comes to our mental health.
Make the most of the light you do have by adding large mirrors in your darkest rooms to reflect the light around the space. Add any other shiny surfaces you can include like a mirrored table or your initials in gold/silver decorative letters.
If you are really committed to increasing your home's natural light you can add more windows or skylights, paint your walls a light colour, and cover dark floors with light coloured rugs.
4. Create good-mood lighting
Nothing gives the warm and cosy feeling more than low/ambient/mood lighting. And by this I don’t mean dark lighting, but low to the ground lighting. I have so many lamps in my place and hardly use the ceiling lights. Low lighting does wonders to make your home feel cosy, inviting, and safe, but be sure to get warm coloured light bulbs and not the bright white ones.
Fill your home with lamps, floor lights, fairy lights, and candles then put a movie on, grab some Ben and Jerry's and bask in the cosiness.
5. Up your scented candle game
Yunno that immediate reminder of a childhood memory when you get a whiff of suncream or a waft of Mr Wippy ice cream? Smell has been proven to be the most memory triggering sense, significantly more than taste and touch, so let’s use this to our advantage.
When you burn a yummy scented candle regularly, your scent of choice will cement in your memory. This smell will then be associated with relaxation, safety and all the good feelings you're creating at home. So the more you burn it, the more good feelings you'll create from the smell.
And if you want to cater your smells to your specific needs, try these:
- lavender for better sleep
- cinnamon to boost alertness
- citrus for increased energy
- pine for alleviating stress
- jasmine to ease the blues.
The power of your nose ey!
6. Get colour smart
The combination of colours has a huge impact on how you feel, but this varies from person to person. To some, red can feel loud and angry, but to other’s it feels warm and comforting. Get clued up on what colours bring out your most peaceful and happiest self by taking note of how colours in different spaces you spend time in make you feel. Notice at the gym, your best friends house, or in a local cafe what colours you feel good around and what brings out stress.
Once you know what works for you, amp up these colours in your bedroom and living room. Add the following in tonal variations of your calming colours for quick and easy transformations:
- blankets and cushions artfully slung over the sofa
- a large rug
- a new set of bed linen
- a framed image of a landscape that is made up of the calming colours
7. Look yourself in the affirmation
I know affirmations can feel cheesy to some people, myself included, but there is so much evidence to show that they work. The point of affirmations is to counter a negative thinking pattern you currently have, such as I’m not worthy of love until I lose weight, with one that argues against it like, I am worthy and enough exactly as I am.
Identify your pain point and write something much kinder and more empowering on your bedroom/bathroom/vanity mirror, on a post-it on the fridge and somewhere on your desk. Seeing the affirmation daily has an undeniable effect on how you feel about that particular thing.
8. Make like a rainbow
When books and clothes are on display - or even behind closed doors - they look busy, chaotic and disorganised. Organise your books and hanging clothes in colour order, starting with white, moving through all the colours you have to play with and ending in black. This does well to take away the 'busyness' of a bookshelf or hanging rail and is so bloody satisfying to look at!
9. Hoarder no more - duh!
While your home may be tidy and organised it’s likely you're holding on to a few things that are taking up space in your life unnecessarily. Clothes that no longer fit, bills you've already paid, and tabs on your laptop that you'll never ready, all contribute to a subconscious level of stress.
Get rid of the stuff that no longer has a purpose in your life. Sorting through it and decluttering is cleansing for the brain and could even make you a buck or two if you decide to sell a bit of it on eBay.
10. Do It Yourself
There is nothing more rewarding than sitting on a chair you painted or framing a collage you made. This doesn’t have to be difficult or require any tools, but getting crafty is a great way of personalising your home and achieving the feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing-it-yourself.
Pinterest has so many amazing ideas for DIY projects that span from quick and easy to a real challenge. See if there’s anything you fancy and feel the sense of accomplishment when you finish.
I hope these tips and tricks cleanse your mind, help you to channel a positive mindset and make your home fit for a zen princess. Let me know which ones you'll try in the comments below and head over to my Pinterest for tons more interior design inspo.