With Australians spending more time at home, it's interesting to consider the impact interiors have on our wellbeing. Indeed, the subtleties of interior design often impact our happiness in ways we don't always understand. "It's generally accepted that Australians spend 90 per cent of the time indoors," said Millie Alison, co-founder of interior design and decorating company The Design Paddock. "This is an enormous portion of time, so it's imperative to consider the impact the built environment can have on our wellbeing."
Given the home is defined by a variety of purposes and needs - cooking, eating, washing, relaxing, entertaining, sleeping, and now for a significant portion working, it's important to create comfortable spaces that evoke positivity. From colour combinations to squeaky floorboards, The Design Paddock shares these five interior design elements that influence the happiness of our homes.
Lighting. "Don't underestimate the impact that lighting can have on your mood, emotions and wellbeing," says Katrina Garrett, co-founder of The Design Paddock. "Having different lighting styles such as ceiling lights, wall lights and table lamps allow you to be able to alter the lighting to shift the mood. "Flooding a room with natural light can instantly lift the mood, allowing a connection to the outside. During the evening however, we also need darkness to create a cosy environment with softer light - candles and dimmable lights are a great way to create this calming ambience."
Colour. "The colour palette you select for your home should have a positive psychological and emotional effect upon you," said Millie. "White is such a popular choice for people as it often feels 'safe', but people need to be mindful of how much white they use as it has the potential to make a space feel cold and clinical.
"Colour has the ability to energise or make you anxious. We suggest using the same colours, tones and textures in connecting areas, such as hallways and stairways to give the home a sense of continuity."
Sound. Is there anything more annoying than squeaky doors and cupboards, or creaky floorboards? "These sounds can agitate, and a simple spray of a lubricant can fix this daily annoyance," says Katrina. "If footsteps on the hardwood floor are disruptive at night, put down a runner with an underlay." Music in the home however can have a positive impact on people. "Music can be incorporated discreetly by installing speakers in the ceiling of your living areas both inside and out," adds Katrina. "This can create a lovely ambience when entertaining."
Textures. Textures and finishes can offer tangible and visual experiences that can be associated with a variety of feelings and it's important to create a balance between the two. "Mixing up patterns in loose furnishings such as cushions, throws and rugs in the same colour palette, varying textures and layering with different shapes to make the space interesting but not visually overwhelming," said Millie. "Incorporating texture can elevate the overall spatial experience and ignite the senses without you even knowing it. Texture works in a similar way to colour; rough textures are more likely to make a space feel intimate and grounded, while the smoother bring a sleek and more luxurious vibe."
Personality. "Following trends won't necessarily bring you happiness in your home and sometimes the things we think we want don't actually make us feel at home," said Katrina. "When you create spaces in your home with things you love, that's a gateway towards a happy home."