Common sense tells us architecture and design have a psychological effect on humans. If it didn’t, interior design wouldn’t be so popular and that feeling you get when you enter a perfectly proportioned space – such as the Parthenon – wouldn’t be so profound. Even so, we how have scientific proof that the psychology of architecture is a real phenomena.
The Psychology of Architecture: Are You Making Friends With Your Silent Partner
It turns out that the architecture and interior designs of our home and work spaces have a notable effect on our mental state and even our well-being. We’ve written a bit about this in the past, regarding subjects pertaining to the correlation between office design and job satisfaction or how natural light has positive effects on productivity. Now, further research illuminates a striking relationships between interior environments and the very particular effects they have on occupants.
A wired.com article, The Psychology of Architecture, cites some of these remarkable findings from recent studies. Here are some of the highlights:
Color relationships. If you are currently designing a residential or office space, your color preferences aren’t the only thing to consider when contemplating a future palette. For example, scientists at the University of British Columbia found red rooms facilitate work requiring accuracy and attention to detail – perhaps due to the “alert” state of mind commanded by the color red. Testers working in red environments also had better short-term memory skills. Blue spaces, on the other hand, diminished testers short-term memory skills but enhanced their ability to use imagination and be more creative in their problem-solving abilities, thought to be the result of associating blue hues with expansive sea and sky.
Ceiling height. You may even be so particular as to select the ideal ceiling height based more on function than style as well. Psychologist Joan Meyers-Levy, at the Carlson School of Management found people testing in high-ceilinged rooms performed markedly better on puzzles that had themes around freedom or the idea of being unlimited. On the flip side, those who tested in low-ceilinged rooms performed better on puzzles or anagrams dealing with “confinement” or “restricted” concepts.
If creative and free-thinking employees or children are your ideal, try to incorporate a live or work space with a lofty ceiling (preferably a blue one…), as this tends to enhance an occupant’s abstract and “big picture” thinking, whereas smaller and confined spaces will help them focus on the immediate topic at hand.
Your furniture matters. While contemporary designs continue to prioritize modern ideals – clean lines and a penchant for angles, the public seems to feel differently. In a recent study, 100+ undergraduates viewed computer-generated models of furnished rooms. The students overwhelmingly rated rooms furnished with rounded and/or curvy furniture as “more appealing” than those with linear furnishings. If you are a high modernist business owner, you may want to introduce at least one or two rounded complementary pieces to appeal to broader spectrum of the population.
We agree with author Jonah Lehrer’s astute assessment, architecture has real cognitive consequences, even if we’re just beginning to learn what they are.” Work with Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors to design innovative live and work spaces that keep the psychology of architecture at the forefront.