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How to Design Functional Mental Health Spaces

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 22% of Australians (roughly 4.3 million) had experienced a mental health disorder in the previous 12 months. 

For this reason, whether it be at home, in the office or at a medical facility, it is important to design functional mental health spaces that can enhance one’s mood and productivity levels, while congruently reducing their propensity to depression and anxiety. 

Here are some ways you can do that. 


How to Design Functional Mental Health Spaces

1. Use functional furniture 

When creating mental health spaces you want to make sure that you’ve got all your bases covered. It helps to choose furniture that has added features such as being durable and easy to clean. 

This is going to be particularly important for the furniture that gets used the most such as beds. Studies have shown that a chronic lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your mental health, which could lead to depression and risk-taking behaviour. 

For this reason, you should invest in a bed with a good quality mattress. You might want to try the Mental Health Mattress, which is regularly used in medical facilities. 


2. Flood rooms with natural light 

When designing mental health-friendly spaces, it is important to let natural light flood into a room as it plays a vital role in regulating our circadian rhythms and boosting mood.  

Where possible add large windows, skylights, and strategically place mirrors in a room to allow reflective light to bounce through it. At the same time, avoid using heavy drapes or window treatments that block sunlight. Instead, opt for sheer fabrics or blinds that allow light to filter through. 

Too much artificial light coming into a room can be a bad thing. It can trick your brain into thinking you are at a different time of the day, which could end up affecting your sleep cycle. 


How to Design Functional Mental Health Spaces

3. Cut out the noise 

Research by the World Health Organization suggests that excessive noise can be a contributing factor to mental health problems

Therefore, for those suffering from this affliction, it is a good idea to create functional spaces that keep noise to a minimum. 

Some of the best ways to reduce noise disruption in a room are to double-glaze windows, soundproof the walls with acoustic panels, fit a door sweep and add more furniture to avoid sound bouncing around a minimalist space. 


4. Regulate Room Temperature  

Feeling too hot or too cold is not conducive to sleep, relaxing or being productive. Subsequently, it is prudent to take steps to regulate your room temperature. 

A good solution is to install reverse cycle air-conditioning, which can keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer months as required. Just find one that is not too noisy as it could be counter-productive to the welfare of the mental health sufferer. Ideally, a good temperature to keep a room at is between 22.2°C (72°F) and 25°C (77°F). 

You should also consider insulating the walls, replacing drafty doors and windows and creating a good airflow to ensure the temperature stays at a pleasant level. 


How to Design Functional Mental Health Spaces

5. Declutter 

Clutter has been identified as a trigger to increased anxiety and stress levels. Hence, to create an environment that is mentally soothing you should prioritise keeping rooms tidy and decluttered. 

This is a balancing act because, as mentioned earlier, furniture can be used to reduce excessive noise levels. However, if you can create a tidy and well-organised room, it can create a sense of serenity and calm. 

Investing in storage solutions like shelves, containers and baskets can make a lot of difference to the overall look and feel of a room. 

6. Incorporate biophilic elements in the room’s design 

Biophilic design is a concept where natural elements are integrated into indoor spaces. It is being increasingly used as a feature when creating functional spaces because studies have shown it can enhance one’s cognitive function and reduce stress levels. 

Try to introduce a few biophilic elements such as indoor plants, natural materials like wood and stone, or even nature-inspired artwork into your decor. 

Overall, these elements evoke a sense of connection to the outdoors, which can promote a more relaxed and balanced state of mind. 


Jenny Kakoudakis

Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.


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