Designing your home and space for better mental health

Dr. Samantha Morel June 14th, 2023

Think about how you feel when you return home after a long, tiring day. Does walking through the front door provide a sense of relief and comfort? Or are you instantly overwhelmed with feelings of dissatisfaction or even dread?

We have all had the experience of heading home after a stressful day. Maybe you experienced anxiety from a work emergency, or maybe had a fight with a family member. It is possible you suffered a loss of a loved one, or perhaps it was just a long, rollercoaster of a day. After a shock or upset, our instincts tell us to go home where we retreat to our private spaces. Unwind, recharge, and heal. These areas are the setting for so many important and stressful periods in life, it’s crucial that your personal spaces comfort, support, and provide positive emotional energy.

While so much of our life is out of our control, our home is a place we have total command over. The way you furnish your home, paint your walls, and arrange your belongings will all have significant impacts on your sense of security and well-being. This is easy to see in children. Without knowing why, kids create nests in their bedrooms. They fill their beds and their spaces with the things they love. They want their room to feel personalized and safe.

What colors are good to have in your home for your mental health?

Blue and green can create a calming atmosphere; orange and yellow can stimulate appetite; red and pink can inspire passion and energy; while purple can boost creativity and productivity.

Everyone’s feeling towards a color is unique. It’s well worth investigating which colors can positively influence our mental health. Consider your own feelings for these colors and think about how these factors may contribute to your mood. 

How clutter can affect your mental health

What is clutter? In general, clutter is a collection of items that people accumulate in their homes and don’t necessarily use, but hold on to anyway. Clutter impacts your physical space in an obvious way; but some people don’t realize that clutter can have negative mental health effects, too

Clutter increases stress levels. It causes difficulty focusing and clutter can actually make it harder for you to think clearly. Clutter can easily lead to a nearly constant feeling of frustration as you struggle to complete daily tasks. The time you spend looking for objects you need or attempting to organize your items could be time spent with loved ones, doing some self-care, or even just relaxing.

Now, how can we remove clutter from our lives? Dedicate the time to remove this clutter, reduce items, organize and maintain a clutter-free lifestyle. Most importantly, be kind to yourself, blaming or shaming yourself will not change your situation, and you’re not alone if you’re overwhelmed by the number of possessions you have. Practice self-compassion and remember, you can achieve your decluttering goals with time and patience.

Let there be light!

Exposure to light is important for maintaining the body’s natural rhythm, and sunlight during the day is key. Getting enough natural light can help boost our mood, decrease depression scores, and lift our spirits. It can cause higher energy levels, happier moods, change in appetite, and create a relaxing and calming environment.

Begin with the location of your windows for sunlight. Arrange furniture and shading to allow morning light. Locate your largest windows in rooms you’ll use during the day, such as the kitchen, and arrange furniture to benefit from the light coming in. You may work from home so you could make sure your desk close enough to a window that you can pause to enjoy a view of the outdoors and take in the sunlight.

Try paying attention to how you feel in your home; if it’s not a space that’s relaxing or comforting, you may want to consider these tricks to enhance your mental health. Find your perfect colors, organize and shine some light into your space. A step to bettering your mental health can begin at home!

Stay well,

-Dr. M




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Samantha Morel, Ph.D.

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