The Psychology of Design
Not everyone takes into account the psychological impact of room design, but the way a room looks and feels can have a profound effect on your subconscious. Believe it or not, the small touches throughout a room and the style choices made along the way can really have an impact on our wellbeing and happiness. We wanted to know which features had the biggest effect, and so the survey respondents were presented with a series of positive design elements and asked which of these made them feel the happiest. The results were as follows:
Cosiness is Key
One in five of the people surveyed – the most favoured single response – said that warm, subdued colours were crucial when it came to inspiring happiness. A warm room is a welcoming one, and there’s something very soothing about a subdued colour scheme; it conjures up ideas of autumn leaves, roaring winter fires, reading your favourite books by lamplight. Already, it’s clear that the British public are drawn to features that make them feel cosy. 12% of the respondents reinforced this impression by listing small well used spaces and cosy corners as being the most important design feature for their happiness, and 16% of the respondents were drawn to the use of lighting. Traditionally, it’s lighting that gives a room its warmth.
In a sense, these results go against the grain of traditional, modern design – wide spaces and white, open features – is there a feeling that such elements come across as cold to the British public? Symmetry, typically an instrumental feature in modern design, received just 5% of the vote. You get the impression that room psychology isn’t based on the way a room looks as such, but perhaps the way a room feels. In that case, would the British public be happier in a warm corner, curled up in their favourite chair? Or perhaps they’d be happier snug in their comfortable Sheridan bedding?
Men prefer Simplicity
Simplicity, however, was also important with 16% of the vote – people don’t want clutter in a room. Clutter causes stress and can makes a room inspire anxiety. Perhaps this is why layers, cushions and throws – items that make a room feel busier – received just 8% of the vote. This is mainly due to the male vote, however – whilst 13% of women listed throws and cushions as a key happiness feature, only 1% of men did – playing into the old stereotype that throws and cushions are more important to women and that men consider them clutter. When it came to the sexes, men were more likely to vote for simplicity than women – so maybe throws and cushions are a tad too much for some guys!
The female vote was a little more diverse across the board, but again, there was a sense of warmth, cosiness and comfort in the results. 1 in 5 women voted for subdued, warm colours as their number one design feature when it came to happiness. This was followed with 13% by small cosy spaces, and again with 13% complimentary colour schemes – the latter of which meant less to the guys, with just 7% of their vote.
Bright Colours are Youthful
There were small variations based on age too. Younger people are more drawn to bright, vibrant colours – 27% of 18–24 year olds listed this as their most important feature. There’s always an association in design between bright, vibrant colours and youth – the two tend to draw together, so this finding isn’t too surprising. Older generations go for warmth and comfort – 38% of those over 65 went for use of lighting, and 41% of the 55–64 bracket went for subdued warm colours.
There were regional variations, too. London, for example, was more into colour – 21% of Londoners went for complimentary colour schemes, compared to just 4% of those in Scotland. 67% of the North East went for cosy corners, but only 33% of the Northern Irish did. It’s interesting to see how different parts of the country as drawn to different design features!
In the next part, we look at 2016. Our respondents tell us what they will be doing to freshen up their bedrooms...
Part 2: New Year, New Room Design > >