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Living psychology: reasons why we feel comfortable at home
Living psychology: reasons why we feel comfortable at home

Video: Living psychology: reasons why we feel comfortable at home

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Video: Why comfort will ruin your life | Bill Eckstrom | TEDxUniversityofNevada 2023, February

Why nature in living is so important for our well-being - and we should definitely help ourselves in the design of our rooms.

Security and security are basic human needs. This is exactly what a good apartment should do. It is therefore often referred to as the "third skin" of humans. The way of living affects people and their well-being. But: when do you feel comfortable in a room? It's not that easy to say. Is it the shape, is it the colors or the light? Or rather the smells? The architect and psychologist Dr. Harald Deinsberger-Deinsweger. For nine years he has been advising builders with his institute housing spectrum in questions of living psychology.

The house: What is residential psychology concerned with?

Residential psychology explores the interplay between the house and its residents. Spaces can determine our behavior and well-being, often much more than we consciously perceive. You can narrow us down or give us opportunities. They can also make us more aggressive than we actually are, or they can help us relax.

Can a room put you in a good mood?

Not directly. But you can create the basis for a good mood to be more likely. You cannot create feelings with buildings and rooms, but you can build rooms in which it is easier to relax. Such spaces are also health-promoting in the long term. It is unfortunately not possible to rule out a bad mood from the outset. However, there are spatial aspects that can, for example, intensify or even provoke depressive moods - but also those that can reduce them.


Monotonous environments can quickly overwhelm perception. If you don't want to paint your walls, you can, for example, set accents with colored decorations.

Photo: Dulux Germany

What would be important elements for this?

Let’s just relax. We like this state of affairs both in the private sphere and in the professional environment, because it usually makes you significantly more creative. To relax, the space that we perceive around us is important. If there are many elements close to nature, then tension eases more easily. This is shown by studies. So it is very useful to be able to perceive nature in the outside. For example, a patient who has a view of nature will get better faster than without such a view.

Can you help yourself with houseplants?

That works perfectly. We naturally need a certain amount of stimulus so that we feel good. These stimuli are a kind of staple food for our brain and soul. It developed with human evolution. In the earlier epochs of our developmental history in nature there was never a lack of impulses and stimuli. That is why we do not have an alarm system if there are too few stimuli - we do not notice it. But a monotonous environment can cause discomfort, sometimes even discomfort.

Isn't there a sensory overload today?

No. With the creative means in our environment there is no overstimulation. At most, too many stimuli can come from new technologies or the media. This is not possible with furniture, furnishings or plants. Aesthetically, one can have the feeling that the room is overloaded. But that doesn't make you sick.

Wohnzimmer mit gelber Wandfarbe
Wohnzimmer mit gelber Wandfarbe

Colors don't have the same effect on everyone. It is therefore all the more important to take your time in the color design and not to have the apartment completely furnished by strangers.

Photo: Dulux Germany

What does this mean for the design of our environment?

Take a city apartment where you can only look out of your window at a boring wall opposite. Anyone who sparsely furnishes the interior there damages his well-being and concentration: Such a monotonous environment tends to promote irritability. If you cannot freely choose your surroundings, you should at least design the interiors attractively, with varied colors, pictures and decorations.

Does that mean that the reduced architecture of modernity is psychologically unhealthy?

If it is in a varied environment, for example with lots of nature around it, then by no means. You should only change something if the monotony continues in the surrounding area. Otherwise, simplicity is fine if, for example, the outside space has something to offer.

Could a room painted green have a similar effect?

The use of green in the color scheme can also have a relaxing effect - similar to a natural environment. But it is much weaker and noticeably wears off over time. Really positive effects only arise when several colors are combined. An attractive color scheme also includes other elements.

What for example?

I recommend my customers to take the time to sit in the room to be furnished and to imagine it furnished: which colors do they see, which furniture? Which light would be pleasant? What would it take to make me happy to be there? With just a little time, almost everyone then develops their own, suitable ideas.

Wohnzimmer mit grüner Wandfarbe
Wohnzimmer mit grüner Wandfarbe

Classically simple in white or with color accents - which room corresponds more to people? Psychology says: combining several colors promotes creativity and well-being.

Photo: Dulux Germany

How does an apartment become cozy and cozy?

It has to match the person. This usually happens with personal things and with an individual design. This creates an emotional relationship with the room. It becomes "my" space. That is why my first recommendation would be not to have everything designed by others, but to do it myself, even if craftsmen do it. This strengthens housing satisfaction. This human need can be clearly recognized in puberty: the desire for individualization is particularly pronounced in this phase of life. Before that, the parents had almost always designed the children's room. But with the first step to growing up, the urge to perceive yourself begins, first in your own room. Even if it is difficult for the parents to look at this: From a psychological point of view, this is an important process.

Is there such a thing as the perfect room?

Theoretically, it could exist, but it then looks different every time, because both the respective environmental factors and the personal aspects are never identical. Simply copying room concepts because you think they are perfect is not advisable.

Is a well designed apartment expensive?

Not at all. Marble floors and fine wallpaper alone do not create good spaces. You can achieve a high quality of living with simple means. And you don't need a lot of square meters to meet the important human living needs.

Do you have any other recommendations?

An apartment should ideally have separate areas with different degrees of public and privacy. Firstly, an area where guests are received, which allows contact with neighbors. And then the intimate part where you can relax. Classically the bedroom or the bathroom. These functional separations are important in order to meet our living needs on the one hand for society and on the other hand for relaxation.

What are the most important living needs from the psychologist's perspective?

You can definitely formulate fifty needs. The most important are the stimulation of the senses, the opportunity to relax, the protection of privacy and the need for community, for self-determination and for design in your own home. The more of these are fulfilled, the higher the quality of living.

Can a room make you sick?

A room can only make you directly ill in extreme cases. But everything that affects our well-being can also lead to health consequences in the long term.

The architect: Dr. Harald Deinsberger-Deinsweger

Dr. Deinsberger-Deinsweger
Dr. Deinsberger-Deinsweger

Dr. Harald Deinsberger-Deinsweger is an expert in residential psychology.

Photo: Harry Schiffer

Dr. Harald Deinsberger-Deinsweger studied architecture and did his doctorate in psychology. For ten years he worked as a project manager for an architecture firm. Today he develops design concepts for workplaces and residential buildings with his company “Wohnspektrum” and leads the training in residential psychology at the AAP Austrian Academy of Psychology.

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