Thursday, October 4, 2012

Healing Interiors

I'm sure most of us all have a space in our home where we retreat to...whether it's to read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, pray, catch up with friends on the phone, etc. It's the space that calms us, makes us feel safe and revives us.

Of course I dream of having this type of room be a beautiful sun room with lots of light and a garden vista...but maybe in our next house:) For now, this space for me is in my bedroom, which does boasts a wall of large windows that warms the room in the mornings with the sunrise. It's a space that instantly switches my internal clock to a slow, steady ticking.

One of the reasons I have always been interested in interior design is the way an environment can affect a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We have all experienced this affect whether positive or negative whenever we walk into a space. Walking into a spa, a beautiful park or just surrounding yourself with your own personal things can bring us to an instant "happy place." I've written about this same topic in the past in regards to the work place.

Interior design is so much more than just "pretty things" in a space. It's really the culmination of all those elements that you deem beautiful and/or familiar in a single space that create those feelings paired with the spirit of the space, or what I like to call the "soul." I've been in some beautiful places but with no soul, and I've been in spaces that may not be visually impactful, but the space carries a beautiful spirit and soul that makes it appealing. You don't have to live in a palace to experience a beautiful space...

I strongly feel that a well-designed space can have healing properties. It can change our attitude, our outlook and science has proven, even our overall health! I recently listened to a podcast on this very subject the other night that scientifically proves this theory. A study was done with patients in a hospital where the only variable between their experiences was the view out their window. Those patients that had a window overlooking nature resulted in a more positive response to their care and overall attitude.  Conversely, those patients that had a window overlooking a brick wall or with just no "view" at all had a negative response to their care and overall attitude. I would highly recommend listening to this fantastic interview.

Another great source to find out more about the intersection of environments and human behavior is one of my all time favorite books, A Pattern Language. It's a tome, but a fabulous resource in understanding great design.

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