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Understanding the Psychology of Interior Design

Feng Shui is an ancient science that optimizes the relationship between people and their indoor environments. For 4,000 years, many of the Chinese upper-class would spend significant money to ensure their space’s energy is in proper alignment. With so much history behind it, the art of Feng Shui must have practical value.

Based on the concept that there is a continuous flow of energy between humans and their environments, Feng Shui principles are applied to interior design in order to maximize the flow of positive energy in a space.

Even if you don’t view interior design from an energetic perspective, Feng Shui can teach a lot about the psychology of interior design and how to create spaces that make you feel safe, comfortable, and inspired. In this article, InterLux Interiors explores the psychology of interior design to help you better understand your connection to your surroundings and ultimately create your dream space.

Why Design Psychology is So Important

You may not realize how much the spaces you spend the most time in have an impact on you psychologically. When exposed to nature, humans may experience acute stress – perhaps running from a lion or back to shelter during a severe storm. However, we haven’t evolved to handle the chronic low-level stress of modern living.

Over time, chronic stress can have a devastating impact on our immune systems, leading to disease. Because of this, it’s important that we do all in our power to create environments that promote peace and security and reinforce our natural patterns.

Ancient Art to Modern Innovation

Many civilizations have their unique, ancient form of environmental psychology. This can be seen in India’s Vastu Shastra and Chinese Feng Shui as well as patterns aligned with the natural environment created by the Romans, Druids, Aborigines, and Native Americans.

As neuroscience expands and humans gain a better understanding of the “mind, body, and spirit” as a holistic system, more emphasis is being placed on creating spaces inspired by biophilic design and environmental psychology.

Feng Shui principles are applied to interior design to maximize the flow of positive energy in a space.

Through the Lens of Feng Shui

Simply stated, Feng Shui is the art of designing in a way that balances the flow of energy or ‘Qi.’ The flow of energy in our surroundings can uplift us or it can drain us. Environmental psychology, a modern science, similarly suggests our environment has a substantial impact on our mental and psychological state.

There are five elements considered in Feng Shui, each representing different emotions. These include:

  • Fire – Passion

  • Earth – Physical Stability

  • Metal – Mental Agility

  • Water – Deep Emotional Feeling

  • Wood – Growth

It is important that each of these elements are balanced in a given environment in order for the occupants to psychologically thrive. There are several aspects of design in which these principles should be applied, including color, form, lighting, and texture. Keep reading to learn about these pillars!


Color is one of the first visual impressions a space has on us, so the color scheme should be selected with intention as it has a substantial impact on our being. Humans feel most at ease in spaces that mimic nature. The floor should be the darkest as if it were the forest floor, while eye-level colors should be neutral or earth tones. The ceiling should be bright and open like the sky.

To design a comforting space, imitate the colors of nature in bloom.

Apart from home design, it is crucial that businesses consider the effects of color on their employees and clients. Dull colors may suppress creativity and productivity in a workplace, but bright colors such as reds, yellows, and oranges can amplify passion, energy, and positivity. Meanwhile, more subdued earth and water colors like blues and greens can provide a deep sense of restoration and even lower blood pressure.


Like color, form can play a significant role in the psychological impact of a space. Organic shapes without harsh lines mimic the forms of nature, reducing stress and enhancing creativity. Plants and natural objects such as coral, crystals, and wood serve as wonderful decoration to help us feel grounded and expansive simultaneously.

On the other hand, angled walls and ceilings as well as visually unsupported forms may increase energy and tension. These figures may better serve their purpose in spaces such as a conference room or stadium rather than a bedroom or hospital.


Research has provided significant evidence in support of natural lighting and view of nature improving quality of life. One study on hospitals showed an improved environment with a nature view reduced treatment times by 21 percent and class A analgesic use by a whole 59 percent. That is far from insignificant. Not only do these environmental changes help people but they can also help save money and resources.

A sun-soaked room is not only visually comforting, but sunlight actually can reduce depression and anxiety thanks to Vitamin D. It is energizing both at home and in the workspace, so make sure to incorporate good natural lighting into your design plans.


Bringing textures into your home that represent the natural Feng Shui elements of earth, water, wood, metal, and fire can have soothing effects on mood. A combination of wood, metal, and terracotta or brick creates a sense of balance and order that is undeniably comforting.

Be Inspired > Biophilia in Design

Connect with Yourself Through Your Space

Each design choice you make for your home or work space has the ability to create comfort and safety. Consider incorporating Feng Shui principles into your plans for your space while thinking about color, form, lighting, and materials.

If you feel called to create a space that is calming and harmonious, InterLux Interiors can help make your vision a reality. Contact our team of experienced interior designers led by world-renowned Angie Wetzel, to bring balance into your life and your surroundings.

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