How the buildings we spend our time in affect our mood and wellbeing

Unless you have a job that involves working outside, chances are you spend a fair bit of your time indoors.

It might be that you spend a lot of your time at home with your baby, or children if you home-school.  Or it might be that your days are mostly spent sitting in front of a computer at the office.

Wherever you spend the bulk of your time, have you ever really thought about how the different buildings we spend our time in affect our mood and sense of wellbeing?

How buildings affect our mood and wellbeing

 

The simple answer is that our mood really is impacted quite a bit by the buildings that we spend our time in.

All sorts of studies have been carried out that show that buildings and the way they’re decorated can influence both the way we think and the way we behave.

 

One of the major factors in how buildings make us feel is the amount of natural light that they let in.

Buildings that don’t have that many windows and so don’t let in much natural light have been found to make us feel less motivated and generally feel low.  On the other hand, buildings with plenty of big windows that let in large amounts of natural light make us feel happier and more relaxed.

 

Rooms full of natural light can feel more spacious too, which has been found to be a good thing for our wellbeing.

A study carried out at the University of Minnesota in 2007 found that rooms with higher ceilings can allow us to think more freely and be more creative.  So if you feel uninspired and stuck in your head then visiting somewhere like a cathedral with lovely high ceilings might help inspiration strike.

 

The colours we use in our homes and work environments can have a huge impact on our mood too.

If you want to create a calm, peaceful space then blues and greens are a great way to go.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking to feel energised and fired up then reds and oranges are much better.

The thing to keep in mind is that it’s not just the colour on the wall that can affect our mood, the flooring that we have in the building can have a big impact too.

Research has found that buildings that use wood and wooden products in their interior design can help to lower heart rates and blood pressure, as well as help us feel less anxious and stressed.

So installing something like Parador engineered floors in your home can help make it a more relaxing place to spend time in at the end of a busy day.

The beauty of engineered floors is that they’re hard-wearing and designed to be a practical and versatile alternative to hardwood floors.  They also come in a variety of colours that, again, can really change the feel of a room.

Warm shades of brown are a classic option and make us feel relaxed and comfortable.  They’re great if you like to embrace everything hygge and enjoy cosy evenings curled up with a good book.

If you want to feel a bit more energised though then white or lighter coloured wood flooring can create this atmosphere of calm yet energised, like being by the beach.

 

The things we fill our space with can also have a big influence on our mood and sense of wellbeing.

A study by Zeisel et al. found that patients with alzheimers showed reduced levels of anxiety, depression and social withdrawal when they were in private rooms with their own personal objects around them.

So displaying our favourite photos and personal objects can make us feel better than living or working in a blank, impersonal space.

Buildings with plenty of plants and greenery also have a positive affect on us.

Professor Frances Kuo found that apartment buildings in inner-city Chicago that were surrounded by vegetation experienced about half as many crimes as those that had hardly any greenery.  Various studies have also found that having plants in the workplace helps us feel less stressed and increases productivity.

 

So if you’re looking to move home or redecorate then take some time to really look at different buildings and spaces and think about how the light, colour and furnishings will affect how you feel when you spend time there.

 

If you’re not able to change your home you can still benefit from the positive impact of buildings on our wellbeing by taking time regularly to visit different places.

Spend time in green spaces as much as possible.  Take a walk through your town and find interesting architecture that interests you and maybe even brings you a sense of awe.  Find a local cafe with warm wooden flooring and a cosy interior design to relax and switch off for a bit after a busy day at work.

 

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