How to increase wellbeing through interior design is a topic that continues to gather interest. More and more research is showing the importance of homes on our health, both physical and mental. This is great news, because it means that we can increase our wellbeing through interior design. In the book Happy by Design: A Guide to Architecture and Mental Wellbeing Ben Channon explores design and it’s impact on happiness and positive mental health. He discusses the key requirements we have as humans to be happy, and how our homes can play a direct effect in this. Below are some of the requirements he discusses, and tips on how to increase wellbeing through interior design.

Control (or perceived control)

How much control or say we have over what happens in our home. Having a place and the ability to create somewhere that is decorated to our personal tastes means that we can have a space where we are able to regulate our emotions, where we can relax, recharge and fill our mental and emotional buckets. Feeling ‘on top of things’ in our home creates a sense of safety and control that flows through to the rest of our lives. Messy homes are shown to stimulate the release of cortisole. Some ways to achieve this in your home are:

  •  Allowing everyone a space that they can decorate as they please (man-shed perhaps?)
  • Taking everyone’s preferences into account when decorating
  • Making sure your home feels comfortable and welcoming to everyone who lives in it
  • Keeping your space tidy


Light effects our circadian rhythm, which controls our periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. We can help to regulate this by reducing the amount of screen time – the blue light from screens along with other artificial light can cause changes to our circadian rhythm which is linked to depression. You can help to create the best environment for cortisol regulation by:

  •  Having suitable window treatments in our bedrooms and sleeping areas
  • Making sure that we are allowing enough light in during the day by keeping curtain open, blinds up. If privacy is an issue sunscreen or light filtering blinds can be used
  • Using warm toned lightbulbs where possible


Having objects around us that are pleasing to the eye and that are meaningful to us is really important for our mental wellbeing. When we’re surrounded by things that we know are of good quality, that are crafted rather than mass produced we feel better. Individual aesthetic and taste need to be considered, along with design principles like colour and proportion, to ensure a happy, restful space that is a reflection of the individual. Consider the following when decorating:

  • Know your likes and dislikes
  • Decorate with items that evoke feelings of comfort and familiarity to keep you feeling good
  • Buy good quality locally made items where possible
  • Keep your treasures, and have them on display
  • Pay attention to design principles when decorating

Spending time in nature

It is well known that this reduces stress, but did you know it also helps to improve memory retention, as well as has been shown to make us kinder and more creative? Luckily for us in New Zealand nature is easily accessible, but if that is not your situation try the following:

  • Build a small garden in an outdoor area
  • Pop some outdoor pot plants on your balcony or by your front door
  • Bring the outside in through houseplants
  • Try and incorporate a ‘nature trip’ into your everyday routine, for example a stop at the park on the way to get groceries

By following the above tips it is definitely possible to increase wellbeing through interior design. I’d love to hear so some of the things that you do in your home to increase the wellbeing of you and your family – leave a comment below.

For more reading on the importance our homes play on our happiness, and how to create a happy home head over to this blog post from last year.


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