From time to time, someone will corner me and confess to me that they are depressed; they whisper that they believe their decorating is making them sick. They tell me that their interiors are not to their liking because of choices made by their spouse, their designer, or because of their own misguided attempts at decorating.
In the mid-1950s, Norbett Mintz, a researcher at Brandeis University, and his mentor, the renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow, decided to conduct research about the effects of "beauty" on behavior. Mintz had already conducted experiments about the effects of color on human behavior and concluded that color selection has a palpable effect on personal behavior.
|A room's design can have an impact on your mood. Mismatched colors or an |
overstuffed room can affect your ability to relax and feel comfortable.
As a designer, this is not news to me. There are rooms, especially those that I like, that I can describe with remarkable detail. Although our notion of what is beautiful varies from person to person, it can be said that beautiful design is more memorable. We can deduce that each person prefers the beautiful.
From the time we are born, there are foods that are preferred -- some love sweets; others prefer more savory flavors. Over time, our taste buds evolve, and what was once a favorite food can become insipid or nauseating. The same is true for interior design. Over time, everyone develops preferences about what makes us feel comfortable and at home.
When I hear that someone's home is depressing, I am concerned. I suggest immediate action to change what is most bothersome. If it is wall color: a painting party is overdue. If it is furniture: I ask them to consider new upholstery; a new furniture arrangement; or substituting new pieces for those that offend. And for those too timid or dismayed to tackle their problems head-on and alone, I suggest hiring a professional interior designer.