Does our house makes us feel well?

Our living place should make us feel ok. Our home should not make us feel locked-up or living inside a mess. Our house should be a comfortable space with good illumination, ventilation and temperature.

These things seem obvious, but the harsh reality is often different to theory. Many of our dwelling spaces were built in a time in which nobody had studied the impact of emotions on the inhabitants of a house.

Additionally, if we live in a rented place the scenario gets more complicated.

Thanks to the current sanitary situation, we have gotten conscious about how small some of our rooms are. Others have noticed spots which are never reached by natural light. Or we have seen that some constructive finishes have not aged well. And what about those pieces of furniture that are always in the middle of the way, or that make our visibility difficult?

Besides these situations, our house might have transformed suddenly into a work space. This has maybe resulted in a disaster.

How can we study this?

Neuroarchitecture exists since the decade of the 50s in the 20th Century. It is basically the study of how we are affected by a space, mentally and emotionally. It even studies how this affects us while taking decisions.

For a correct result, it is necessary to measure the phisiologycal human reaction to the inputs, by means of tools like encephalograms, temperature sensors or even brain wave measurment. It can also take advantage of elements like virtual reality or environmental simulation.

In any case, human beings react also individually to design: our personal history and our cultural environment can also incide in how we perceive spaces.

Which basic aspects should we consider?

Neuroarchitecture is a complex field, in constant development. But there are some basic issues which we could review in order to keep our mind relaxed while being in an inner space. It does not matter if we do not have complex measurement systems.

Soft curves and flowing spaces contribute to the patients’ relaxation. (Image: Clínica dental Vilches, by CM4 Arquitectos)

Illumination

Natural light always generates a friendlier environment than the one created by artificial light. It also makes the individuals closer to the exterior environment. Artificial light obliges users to make more efforts on tasks. And this causes stress. Lightbulb color temperature should also be considered. And in many cases, warm light temperature generates a relaxation environment. (Though an excess of warmth might cause discomfort).

Natural illumination plays a basic role in avoiding lockdown feeling. But it should be adjustable by means of curtains or other methods that avoid glare.

Green zones and natural elements

Isolation or lockdown feeling can be a negative factor. Thus, contact with natural elements favours calmness and concentration. Plants, vertical gardens, visual contact with outside greenery, use of woods and natural fibers… All these elements help in optimizing human activity.

Shape

Different studies affirm that sharp shapes awaken a feeling of danger. Even if we know that it is impossible to eliminate angles in our life, it is true that rounded finishings are always friendlier and less likely to harm us. Curves represent a functional and constructive challenge, but they can generate certain sensation of cordiality.

(Rounded edges tend to be less agressive. Image: House AA, by Horma. Diariodesign.)

Colours

Uncountable articles have been written about this subject. But it’s proven that colour affects always in the individuals’ mood. Those hues which are closer to nature (green, certain tones of blue and some browns) reduce stress. In our personal experience, neutral tones are always relaxing. On the contrary, the use of pure and intense tones end up stressing and exhausting the inhabitant of a space. (Though there are always other involved matters: an intense red wall generates a different sensation from the use of intense red accesories over a neutral wall).

Space distribution

According to Sonia Hernández Montaño, from the studio Arquitectura Sana, there are concrete actions that can optimize spaces.  For example, giving more flexibility and less hierarchy between sleeping rooms and spaces.  Or dignifying the relation between service spaces and the spaces they serve. Another one: propiciating shared zones where to develop cojoint activities (green decks, coworking spaces, etc).

If you are thinking about a comprehensive renovation in your living space, get in touch with Smart Room Barcelona.  We will help you to think about these and other aspects to optimize your space and making it comfortable.