Psychology for Your Home: Creating the Harmonious Living

Written by Posted On Sunday, 20 November 2005 16:00

Have you ever walked into a home, hopefully not yours, and felt immediately uncomfortable? It could be because design psychology was not considered when the home was decorated.

"Design psychology helps you to create a home to support your emotional needs," says Jeanette Fisher, design psychology professor and founder of Joy to the Home.

Sounds like you need to be lying down on a couch to grasp the concept in this newly-emerging field. Regardless, of the name, the concept is changing the way people feel in their homes. The premise of design psychology is to fulfill the users' emotional needs and not just decorate based on aesthetics.

"I studied interior design at Orange Coast College years ago and then we moved to Florida and we rehabbed a big home, a 6,000-square-foot Queen Anne Victorian. After we remodeled the kitchen it didn't feel right," says Fisher.

So she went to the University of Florida and started researching interior design as she puts it, "kind of backwards."

"I took all the elements of interior design and researched how people react on a physiological and psychological level. So actually I do designs for how you feel in relation to how a design element makes you react," says Fisher.

"So you would start with what you need in a home and how you want to feel in a space and then design details to support your senses," says Fisher.

One of the biggest factors for creating moods in a home is color. Whether you're deciding what color paint to put on the walls or what furniture to use, Fisher says start with one thing in mind.

"For home makeovers you would want to start with how you want to make people feel when they first see your home. Design psychology starts at the curb because I believe that the whole home is important, not just the interior. That's why I don't like to say it's interior design; it's residential design," says Fisher.

The psychology behind determining what paint to put on your walls is a colorful process; certain colors typically create very specific feelings for the majority of people. The mood you convey often depends on how the color is used.

For instance, painting an entire room red can make people feel anxious and can even elevate blood pressure. Yet using red as an accent in a room can be an attention grabber, make people lose track of time and even stimulate their appetite. Red, of course, is symbolic of love, heat, fire and passion.

Various shades of green symbolize nature and are becoming increasingly popular in home décor. Green is believed to be an easy color on the eye, provoking a neutral effect on the nervous system; think of the "green rooms" that are designed for people who are waiting to appear on television. Dark greens typically represent wealth and masculinity, while an olive green represents peace.

Some colors, such as bright yellow, should be used very sparingly. Researchers claim it's not an easy color on the eye. An entire room in yellow is fatiguing and can cause babies to cry and adults to become irritable. However, if used as an accent it can create a warm, vibrant, alert mood.

Before you paint, be sure to test out your emotional response to various colors. See if the feeling you get from viewing the colors matches the mood you wish to create for a particular room.

For more information on design psychology visit .

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

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