John Henry Architect
House orientation, style, interiors, affect your mind-set, body, and spirit!
There is no doubt that the style and interiors of any home affects mental health. Other components affect us physically. It is about what we see and feel, and the sense of the ethereal.
Millions, during the 2021 Covid crisis, have been working out of small apartments and houses that were not intended for full time work or habitation. If the house was primarily used as a haven and home to raise a family, having several or all members present at all hours has no doubt affected relationships.
A spouse retiring, or two, staying at home most of the day could result in tension if personal space is not addressed. The same tight conditions and commotion from children at home all day due to school shutdowns means headaches and stress. Houses are planned for living per time of day!
Even in a normal use of a house, many factors are in play when considering how one feels and thinks. Consider an 'open plan' for a minute. When does that work best? What if the house is full of people? How do you decorate room by room when you can see into them all at the same time? How can you establish personal space, including sound isolation, when in an open plan house?
A new house has a different effect on the body and mind vs. an older one. Space, sound, light, view, heat/cold, scents, etc. all affect our daily lives inside houses or offices or hospitals or warehouses, public and industrial buildings. How we work, interact, play, talk, entertain, are governed by our spaces, colors, furnishings, effect of interior climate control, etc. minute by minute and day by day.
I find that dark spaces are depressing whereas abundant light is a positive effect. Older furnishings and dated accessories may also cast a gloom. One may feel more positive with forward styled design and interior space.
A house on the outside is either an invitation, inspiration, or a turn off. Does it stay in the shade of cool trees, does it hearken to a place called home or is it too trendy to want to feel attached to it? Are we living in a house or a museum? How much is dedicated to show, how much to comfort? What are the compromises?
Proper Architectural Style, outside and in, is medicine for the soul.
Color, forms, symmetry, materials, all add up to a mental state of mind. Landscaping, lighting, orientation to the sun, all mean that the house on the outside and spaces inside are going to act on your psyche positively or negatively.
Outside, time of day, shadows, shade, trees, flowers, green grass, driveway, views impact thoughts and mood inside. Does the house have single or double pane glass? It does affect how much noise comes through from the outside. Are interior spaces sufficiently 'insulated' from sound leakage?
Much has been studied about these factors in the hospitality industry and too little learning has been applied unfortunately.
The home is a very personal frame of mind. It can exalt your soul or bring it down. Heights of rooms, views, adjacent spaces, the feeling of being squeezed or being allowed to ‘breathe’ are all important aspects of daily life. You can feel creative, positive, joyful, or feel gloomy and sad.
In the current ‘shutdown’ effect, all the factors described above will affect your mental health.
Flow of daily interior and exterior seasonal air movement, cooling and heating affects the body physically. Off-gassing of V.O.C.s are harmful to health. Humidity, quality of air (mites, mold) affects lungs especially.
Walking on wood, carpet, or stone makes a difference on your stride, feet, legs, etc. How many stairs must you navigate? How long does it take to get from a garage to the kitchen or office or bedroom? How much noise is leaking into the house and how much of it is being churned by internal machines such as air conditioners, refrigerators, washers/dryers, disposers, etc.?
Even olfactory sensation can affect mood. Pleasant smells and aromas are preferred to any hint of mold or bathroom odor.
As you can see, the design of a house, from outside to the interiors, directly affect the human body, mind, and spirit. Most likely none of us lives in a 'perfect' house or perfect neighborhood. We savor the best and ignore the worst. When things become unmanageable or difficult to bear, we move and hopefully learn what makes us tick best and seek the appropriate fix in either another resale that is a better match to our lifestyle or perhaps a custom home.