Psychology is pretty much a never ending field of study because it is not only the study of the human mind but also of how it interacts with our world which is ever changing. The field of environmental psychology specifically studies the relationship between us and our surroundings. This is a very deep subject but if we just take a little look at some of the ideas behind environmental psychology we can apply it to some solid design principles that can make our interior decor more pleasing and perhaps our home a happier place.
Our main goal is to improve the mood of the person inhabiting the space (This really should always be the main goal of design shouldn't it?). This may be accomplished through a variety of ways that are addressing different psychological principles. One way is simply for the place to trigger happy memories. Objects have emotions attached to them – the jewelry box you bought on vacation in Thailand or maybe the flowers that were the same kind as you had at your wedding. In fact you could trigger sense memory through scents, sounds, or any of your other senses. Basically, if you have an especially happy memory, try and have your home remind you of that memory. Scented candles, background music, photos, all are great for taking us back to happier times.
Another means of improving your mood is by making the space as stress free as possible. This is broken down even further because several factors can lead to stress as it relates to your physical space. It is helpful to know how your own personality interacts with the environment. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you ever feel claustrophobic or agoraphobic? Does clutter make you feel stressed or are you unable to relax when a room is too neat? Do you need a space where you can find solitude or do like a big open room that everybody gathers in? You may want to take an online personality quiz to help determine what aspects of your personality might be more dominant. If your living space is occupied by people of several different personality types, you may want to make sure that at least one space in the home can act as a sanctuary for each household member.
Functionality is also a key factor in design psychology. Your kitchen could have lots of objects that remind you of happy times and could be perfectly arranged the way you like it but if the sink doesn't run and the oven doesn't fire then you aren't going to be happy. Or your bed may be beautiful but if it feels terrible to sleep on it then that isn't going to work either. Your space needs to work for you in the way that it is intended or else all the aesthetic qualities are a moot point.
Sometimes people will design their home around trends or something that looks good in a magazine without regard for how it will affect them psychologically. We spend a large chunk of our lives in our homes and so we ideally would find comfort and relaxation in being there. As is the case with many aspects of psychology, these principles may seem like straightforward concepts and maybe even obvious. But it can be easy to overlook these simple concepts too and so it is helpful to remind yourself that when designing the space around you, keep your happiness in mind.