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Are our Homes and Offices Stressing us out?

As I sit outside, listening to the birds sing and feeling the sun on my skin, I think about how great it feels to be outside. Then it occurs to me that as an interior designer, my job is to create nourishing interiors. In this post, I will explore the different types of interiors we create for ourselves and the result of these spaces. Can design and decorating with intension make a difference, and what changes can we make in our interiors?


For years I would tell myself, you are in rented accommodation there’s no point making any changes to improve the space. I had to stop this way of thinking as I found myself feeling down and stressed. I realised the space I was living in was actually impacting my emotional state. I noticed the same in my work environment, if I allowed the space to become neglected, I would feel more stressed and less focused. Since then I have always believed our interiors (living/working) have a huge impact on how we feel. There is a lot of research and studies around the psychology of spaces such as ‘Psychology of learning spaces’ study by Vincent J.Granito & Mary E.Santan and the emergence of the field of Neurodesign. Environmental and Space psychology is the interaction between people and the spaces they inhabit, and through research and understanding, we now know interior design is an inherent part of people’s psychology. Interiors have a direct impact on your subconscious, the geometry of the space around you triggers a part of your brain effecting your outlook and emotion. It is important to have harmony for home and a holistic approach to your interiors.


Dave Alan Kopec, a specialist in the field and author of “Environmental Psychology for Design” calls psychology of spaces “the study of human relations and behaviours within the context of the built and natural environments



Arapyu, by Architect José Cubilla

Interiors We Create


I still smile when I think back to my first rented accommodation in London, there were 5 of us in an old terrace house in Brixton. The house was barely standing but we loved it, when we first moved in, we dressed each space to meet the purpose of the room. We had a relaxation room with low level seating, futons and fabric hanging across the ceiling to create a snug nesting feel. Our sitting room was filled with comfortable couches which created a great space for connecting with each other, these connections happened quite often as we would always gather together and invite friends over. The rickety house came to life through the intention we put into it. Over time, as our intention for the house changed, so did the spaces. Eventually the old place became too much, we reached a point where the underlying issues in the house needed to be resolved. Willingly myself and a fellow flat mate presented a renovation scheme to the landlord, but unfortunately, when they started to look into the extent of the work required, they realised the place would have to be gutted. Our time in the house had sadly come to an end. Despite the mould, damp and constant cold breeze in the property, I will always have fond memories of my time there.


Can you think of a time when you really transformed a space through the vision you truly wanted for it?



Intentional Interiors


When I reflect on times when I felt synchronised to a space, an example that comes to mind are hotels, restaurants, museums and office spaces where you can really feel a sense of intention throughout the design of the space. You know that feeling when you come into a back lounge of a hotel and sit in a big comfy couch? it feels like you have melted into the seat and you could nestle there for hours. When you are wandering through the halls of a museum and curiosity awaits you at every corner, you are drawn to enquire further, to reach out and ask question about the space. I am reminded of many times when I sat in a restaurant that provoked conversation with the people close by through shared tables. As natural introvert despite my quite nature, I felt encouraged to speak and engage with the people around me. These are the spaces that have been designed with intension and purpose to achieve a certain outcome with the space.


I would like to share this Ted talk with you where Damaris Hollingworth speaks about the importance and value of spaces design;


Have you ever noticed the intended purpose of a space when you are out and about? Is this something you would consider bringing into your home?


Joan Vilanova Artigas architecture and urban university


Intentional Changes


When I think of homes that achieve real feelings of comfort, I am drawn to those cosy snug sitting rooms with oversize couches and walls adored with pictures and books. This connects to the shapes and décor, these spaces were planned out with the intension to relax and feel comfortable. It’s interesting how this can be climate specific, when I think of other countries and what comfort feels like there. In Thailand and other Asian countries, for example, it was not through large plush couches but more though open light spaces that allowed the outside to enter in and air to flow. I have memories of sitting in rooms in India, the long sheers bellowed gently in the wind through the large windows, a soft breeze came in and cooled my skin as I lounged on a rattan chair, it was sheer bliss.


My friend recently told me a story about her home, when they first moved in the place needed some work, but it would take time before they were in the position to be able to carry out this work. For years they lived with mismatched furniture, clashing colours in fabrics and on walls, and many rooms filled with random clutter. When my friend would enter any of the rooms, she described the feeling as “offensive”. It hurt her to be inside the space, yet her husband wasn’t the slights bit phased by this. I found this fascinating, are only certain people affected by their surrounding environments? or could it be that people don’t notice they are being affected until the space is changed and then they enjoy the new space much more?


Have you ever paid attention to how each of your rooms make you feel? are there any spaces that invoke stress or chaos? or any rooms where you have that sigh of relief when you enter them?


Fera at Claridge’s by Oliver Laws


This is a topic that truly fascinates me, it’s really interesting to understand what’s in these indoor spaces where we spend so much time, that impacts us so much.


When you think about it, what are the key factors in a space? Lighting, furniture, spatial layout and accessories, colours and textures. There are also the large-scale considerations of fully reworking a space through constructional work, although, as a home owner looking to bring some life into parts of your home, structure work may not be accessible to you. It is important to remember that it's not always be necessary as you can work with existing lighting, furniture layouts, storage methods and colour schemes.


As a designer, I aim to create a space that is right for my client, I listen to what you tell me and use that information to build an environment that is right for you. I develop a scheme, taking inspiration from what I have learnt from you / styles / local environment. When I do this, I create a space with intension, this will be a space where you can fully connect and get the most out of the space.


For free consultation on your home, please contact me at aimee@animalunarcollective.com

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