The Importance of the Interior: How Your Space Dictates Your Performance
Simple and surprising ways to transform your space - and your productivity.
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I’m a big believer in holistic care. Something which is often very overlooked, but incredibly pivotal, is our space.
Caring for your space is self-care.
Whether it be the room you work in, sleep in, or chill in, you need to make sure your space is carefully curated to support your performance and productivity.
As much as we often focus on other elements to increase our productivity and happiness, sometimes it’s the simple things preventing us from achieving our goals and feeling good.
I still remember moving out of my family home for the first time a few years ago. It was the dawn of a new era - one where I wouldn’t have to share a room, or conform to specific decor or space-related restrictions. I bought a new desk, a houseplant, a bookcase, and some new duvet sets. The change to my mood was been remarkable. A lot of the colours I had in my shared bedroom were originally richer and darker. This time, I opted for paler, pastel colours.
I also got rid of a bunch of things I didn’t need — from clothes to pieces of furniture. Now, a few years and several apartment laters, I make it a priority to like my space.
Before you get on the hotline to your nearest furniture store, it doesn’t need to be as expansive as a whole makeover. A plant here, a lick of paint there, a rearrangement here could do the trick. Or, even more straightforward — just clean your room. Sometimes our mental health falls into tatters and looking around to see an untidy space just adds fuels to the flame.
Not quite convinced about the power of room aesthetics? Well, here are a few reasons why you should be.
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Interior Design Elements Evoke Emotional Responses
There’s something about the design that just gets you.
In the same way that visual elements, art, and created pieces evoke emotional responses — interior design elements have a similar effect. According to a survey published in a Journal of the Association for Psychological science, specific room varieties can produce very tangible emotions.
For instance, there’s a reason why you feel a certain warmth when you enter your kitchen. There’s truly nothing quite like the proximity to the food in your fridge.
Have you ever tried to work in your bedroom but you seem to experience high anxiety — or worse still, tiredness? That’s because you associate your room with rest, and attempts to consciously overturn these subconscious associations and emotions are difficult when every design element screams to this effect.
If your bedroom is a place of rest, leave it that way. Or, if you need to work in the space, curate the setup of your room to facilitate those emotions. Maybe get a desk and place it on the other side of your bed. Or, get a few monochrome pieces into your office to signpost the necessity for productivity and deep work.
Bottom line? Make sure the design pieces in your rooms reflect the emotions and mental state you need to be, whilst occupying that space.
⚡️ ACTION: Consciously create spaces in your house or room, which delineate clearly between work and rest.
Size and Spaciousness Influences Your Mood
A study published by InformeDesign reviews the impact of ceiling height on an individual’s perception of space and environment. The higher the ceiling and the more spatial the environment, the more likely the individual is to feel the flows and ebbs of creativity, as well as an overall improved mood.
Size and space can be a privilege. Not everyone lives in 5-story mansions or works in offices with a rooftop. However, simply making sure you declutter your rooms as much as possible is a great way to make space.
Make it a habit to routinely declutter your spaces by selling your excess furniture and belongings at a yard sale or online. Space out your furniture as much as possible to create the illusion of more space.
One of my favourite ways to increase the perception of space is by using mirrors. Having a mirror in my bedroom does create the illusion of more depth and space, so if you don’t have one, I’d suggest you try to get one!
⚡️ ACTION: Create some mental breathing space by enhancing the size of your room, getting rid of unwanted belongings regularly or using mirrors to create the perception of space.
Getting a Plant Can Increase Your Productivity
Now, this has nothing to do with the fact that I just bought a large house plant from Ikea. I promise.
Getting a house plant is a great way to boost your mental health when occupying a space. Our green, leafy friends cannot just boost our mood, but potentially boost our work rate and associated skills. The Royal College of Agriculture found that students demonstrated 70% greater attentiveness when in a room with plants. And, according to Justin Hancock, a garden expert at Costa Farms, colourful plants inspire and energise their surroundings. Houseplants also help decrease stress levels — have I convinced you yet?
It doesn’t need to be a real houseplant, although there are specific benefits from having real plants in your room. If you’d rather not become the parent to a new plant, opting for an artificial plant will still give your room a much needed, colourful boost.
⚡️ ACTION: Ensure accessories you keep in your space are conducive to high performance - such as plants.
Unfortunately, this was not a thinly-veiled advertisement for Ikea. I wish.
But, as we start moving into an era that normalises remote-working and digital engagements with other people, we also need to be conscious about how we curate our spaces and take care of our overall wellness.
So…have you ordered that houseplant yet?
Consciously create spaces in your house or room, which delineate clearly between work and rest.
Create some mental breathing space by enhancing the size of your room, getting rid of unwanted belongings regularly or using mirrors to create the perception of space.
Ensure accessories you keep in your space are conducive to high performance - such as plants.
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