When we think about decorating our homes or other living spaces, we tend to fall into the trap of romantic idealism from flipping through catalogues, or worse, passing the furnishing on to an interior decorator who isn’t really in tune with how much our mind interacts with the space we occupy. Have you ever wondered why companies like Google and Facebook invest so much in developing their office spaces to maximize creativity? This is because everything from colour scheme to space arrangement has an effect on our state of mind.

Unknown to us, we are constantly interacting with our surroundings to find balance for whatever task we need to perform in the space. This concept extends to other aspects of our lives like getaway fantasies. For example, a couple living in a busy city like Lagos might find themselves daydreaming of a calm resort in Calabar, or even a spa break somewhere secluded in Lagos to balance out the pressure of everyday city living. On one hand, when we bring this back to the living space, the classic contemporary style of design, which can be labeled as simple or clinical, depending on who you ask, has become a common feature for people living very busy lives and who need the soothing effect of empty spaces when they return home. On the other hand, artists and writers who happen to spend a lot of their time introverted, tend to go for more clustered spaces and furniture, believed to have ‘more character’ as opposed to the sleek simplicity of their extroverted counterparts.

The effect of light and colours on our moods is nothing new, and can even be appreciated simply by studying how levels of sunshine affect mental health in Scandinavian countries with limited sunshine. With children, we can see how colourful cartoons excite them—a concept that has been implemented in children’s wards in many hospitals to pacify them. As adults, certain colours might be more suited to places like our bedrooms to provide the mental state we need to relax in, or if you are one to work in your bedroom, perhaps something a bit more neutral might be better.

So when its that time to renovate, redecorate, or refurnish, take some time out to think about how the space, colour schemes and style of furniture interact with your mind and complement your lifestyle. The common notion of decorating to impress visitors is still relevant to maintain a welcoming home, but considering that we spend far more time in our homes alone than we do with guests, it is worth putting our own comfort and pleasure first when it comes to thinking about designing a space.

First published in Omenka magazine Volume 2 Issue 2.

William Ifeanyi Moore is a prolific writer, poet, and spoken word artist, with a keen interest in exploring how different artistic media influence cultures and societies. He holds a Master’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Portsmouth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *