Have you ever walked into a home or office and found it has a calming effect on you? Or alternatively, it makes you feel agitated? The use of colour, pattern, comfort, sound and smell can all be used to bring forward certain emotions or a way of feeling within a space.
We now live in what some might class as over-stimulated lives, which can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. It is therefore important for many people that we have spaces which promote mental clarity, calmness, and help to minimise ‘mental clutter’. Spaces where we can relax with everyday easy living, when there is so much else going on in other areas of life.
To create spaces which are not only physically fit for purpose, but mentally fit for purpose takes expertise and an understanding of the effect certain choices may have, which may not be immediately evident. Colour can have a large impact on the feeling of a space, as shown by this summary of the most common 12 colours:
Red – passionate, aggressive, important
Orange – playful, energetic, cheap
Yellow – happy, friendly, warning
Green – natural, stable, prosperous
Blue – serene, trustworthy, inviting
Purple – luxurious, mysterious, romantic
Pink – feminine, young, innocent
Brown – earthy, sturdy, rustic
Black – powerful, sophisticated, edgy
White – clean, virtuous, healthy
Grey – neutral, formal, gloomy
Beige – accentuates surrounding colours
Fabric also helps to create the right feeling in a space. Curtains can not only look lovely, but they help to decrease the noise and echo in a space, providing a calmer atmosphere. Certain upholstery fabrics have a similar effect, whereas leather can rebound noise around the space, potentially making it more acoustically busy. Another idea is to incorporate good storage solutions to easily remove physical clutter and give a feeling of control.
In shared living environments, such as wellness or aged care facilities, there could be other factors which need to be considered such as ensuring safe spaces. Physically safe from products that could injure, but also mentally safe in terms of creating spaces where people feel safe, comfortable and familiar.
For a work space, the design choices may need to assist with productivity and collaboration. Certain materials can be chosen to help absorb noise so that people's voices don’t travel throughout open working spaces. It might also be important to have good storage and easy-to-clean work spaces to ensure that people aren’t distracted by physical clutter.
When working with clients, whether it’s their home, an office/commercial space or a group living environment such as an aged care facility, we dig deep to uncover the purpose of the space; how it will be used and by who, and what it needs to provide in terms of its effect on the people who use the space. These factors all have an impact on the design decisions we make so that rooms and spaces are not only functional, but also livable for everyday, easy living.