Working With an Interior Designer Part 2: Psychological Aspects of Interior Design

Last month we discussed the difference between hiring an interior designer and an interior decorator. Designers have formal training and will have various certifications such as NKBA, CIDA or LEED. They focus on the aesthetic and functionality of a space, but are also trained in the psychological aspect of design — the effect the design has on human experience.

We spend around 90% of our lifetime in interior spaces, which means design has a huge impact on how we live and interact, whether we notice it or not. Interior designers concentrate on different elements of design, such as light, color, and space, and how each element impacts us psychologically.


Interior designers focus on much more than just the lighting fixtures inside of a space. Light placement, brightness, size, and hue are all elements of lighting that designers consider.

For example, bright lights have been shown to intensify emotions, while low lights have more of a meditative effect. Blue and white lights inspire energy, while warmer toned lights increase melatonin and lead to a deeper sleep. An office space could make use of brighter, cooler lights for energy and active decision-making; and warm, soft lighting could create an inviting, relaxing environment in a living room or bedroom.


The color of an environment is another element of design that is proven to have an effect on the inhabitants’ mental state. Color psychology has been studied in art and marketing for years, showing that certain colors and shades are usually associated with different moods. A quality interior designer will take into account the intended use of a space as well as the individual’s personality in order to make an appropriate choice of color.

Different color temperatures of light impact your energy levels and mood. Brighter colors such as yellow invoke energy, happiness, and positivity, which would be great in a bedroom or kitchen; and darker, duller colors such as gray would be a poor choice for someone who feels depressed. Interior designers also know how to achieve layered lighting, creating a higher intensity of lighting when focus and concentration is needed.


The most obvious element an interior designer works with is the size and shape of the space itself. The space of a room influences not only someone’s movement, but their behavior and mood as well. An organized and balanced space will in turn make a person feel organized and balanced.

An interior designer will work with their client in order to recognize their needs, personality, and preferences, and then make decisions to create clear traffic patterns for fluidity and symmetry in a room.

The goal of an interior designer is to create a positive connection between an individual and their space, one that inspires happiness and positivity while also being functional.

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