The spaces we inhabit can impact us in more ways than we might think. From our homes to the places we work, architecture in our environment can have both positive and negative consequences on our mental health.
While some aspects may be more impactful than others, even small details can influence our mood in subtle ways. Whether you are looking to create a better environment at home or work, keep the following elements in mind.
Space and Layout
Arguably one of the largest impacts architecture can have on mood is whether or not there is adequate space offered in a structure and if the layout is well-designed. Even with the best of designs, a crowded space can make a person feel burdened. People require a comfortable space and layout and well-apportioned furnishings. These create better flow, more productivity, human interaction, and a sense of ease. It should work with the brain’s natural hard-wiring towards proper arrangement of a space.
Beyond knocking walls down to create a more open concept, removing excess clutter can help a space feel less crowded. Some homes and offices use the strategic placement of large mirrors to create the illusion of depth.
Windows and Lighting
Windows are incredibly important to a positive human response to a building. Public spaces and homes should offer natural light and the ability to glimpse outside. With a great deal of time being spent indoors, the most natural thing we can do for the human body is provide it a space that allows for the most access to the sun’s rays. These sun rays will improve mental health, regulate hormone melatonin for proper sleep, and produce serotonin to improve one’s mood.
This can lead to better productivity and a happier mood for the occupants. In fact, you’ll often find that schools and hospitals pay extra attention to natural lighting. Students perform better with plenty of light and patients are in better spirits when the body has access to the sunlight it needs during the day.
Affinity for the Aesthetically Pleasing
Passing by a beautiful, well-kept home or building is often a treat for the eyes. This could be a colorful exterior, a beautiful garden, or simply a well-maintained entrance. This “first impression” can set the tone as one arrives at their destination. While you may overlook grounds maintenance in the name of other tasks, letting things fall into disrepair can truly destroy whatever external atmosphere that once was.
Other Elements of Architecture That Boost Mood
There are also some less obvious things in architecture that can have an impact on a person’s mood. One of these elements is when architecture features a quiet space within its walls. For example, a library workspace underneath high ceilings in an open air room. In addition to a quiet space, buildings that focus on sensory stimulation also have a positive impact on the mood. A person should be able to experience a building for themselves, having the option to interact or to be alone, and to freely think and feel within its walls.
This also spills over into a natural desire for streamlined social opportunities, where hard-to-navigate cities and architectural designs can cause a negative experience. Architecture has the potential to shape a community and the ability to negatively impact health, making it vital that a structure’s design best suits those who will use it.
Gary Ashton is the CEO and owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage. His real estate team is #1 in Tennessee, Nashville and now #4 in the world.
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