5 mood boosting Scandinavian design hacks to try for your home

Author: Hanna Lofgren   Date Posted:2 September 2021 

The feel good home - How to boost the mood by design

There's no place like home. In fact, there are very few places other than home at the moment for those of us going through the waves of lockdowns. With more home-time than ever, this space has taken on a whole new importance. The refuge from the outside world has had to transform into an all-in-one online hub for work, hobbies, socialising and entertainment. Perhaps a school and a daycare center, too. Is it reasonable for us to ask even more from our good old quarters? Could home design be used to help lift up the mood? 


Image: OYOY Living Design

Can design make us happier?

It may sound a bit bold to claim that home design is able to reduce or induce your stress levels. Can the items in a room really make you feel different? In fact, both mental health and design professionals have for long agreed on this. Interior design is not only about making a space beautiful, but happier and healthier as well. 

By using neuroscience to explain our aesthetic experience (neuroaesthetics), it has been established that viewing art gives us a kick of dopamine that our brain associates with the feeling of falling in love. Pretty powerful, hey?

If both your home and mood could use some pick-me-up, these ideas may help you get started

1 Splash of colour 

When it comes to mental wellbeing, the most important design element is colour. Warm tones of red, yellow and orange evoke higher arousal emotions, such as passion and love. Cool colours are linked to calmness. Blue, for example, has been shown to slow down heart rate and blood pressure, having a calming effect on both body and mind. 

Scandi interiors are traditionally built around natural, monochrome tones with bright and clean white, off-white or grey backdrops. Cool, calm and composed. Lately, a more colourful approach with a healthy dose of hygge has been emerging, sometimes referred to as “the new Nordic”. There, pops of colour are often added using soft furnishings, textiles, artwork and décor items.

Palette of cool coloured design pieces (top left to bottom right: Marimekko Pikku Koppa serving Dish, iittala Aino Aaalto Highball Glasses, Pappelina Svea Rug Turquoise, Marimekko Suur Unikko Fabric, Design Letters Favourite Cup, Pappelina Sunny Indoor/Outdoor Cushion)

2 Curves are good

Form is said to be the emotional connection of design. The shapes of furnishings and other artefacts in the room can have an effect on your mood, too. Sharp, pointy forms may add to the levels of anxiety, whereas curves and rounded edges are more likely to allow our nervous system to relax. 

Round forms can also be used as a form of persuasive design. A round table is an implicit invitation to come together and connect. Arranging seating around it instead of a TV, may enhance communication. 

Round decor items add a sense of softness (top left to bottom right: OYOY Living Design OY Coffee Table, OYOY Living Design Ceramic Rainbow Tray, Normann Copenhagen Block Table Round, OYOY Living Design Kyoto Cushion Round, OYOY Living Design Sit On Me Pouf)

3 Make some space 

One of the links between your home space and mental wellbeing has to do with spatial perception. Opening up some space may help to create a sense of freedom. 

The well-known mantra in Scandinavian design thinking is “less is more”. This goes as much for the simplicity and clean lines, as for creating plenty of space to move in. A form is to follow function, and every item must earn its keep. 

The quickest way to create a minimalist feel and to clear the space of clutter is to ask yourself: "Does this object improve the look and feel of my space?" If not, it is time to cut the ties or at least think of innovative, space-savvy storage solutions, another key feature of a Scandi home.

A range of modern Scandi storage solutions (from top left to bottom right: OYOY Living Design Lojo Shelf, OYOY Living Design Gomi Storage Baskets, OYOY Living Design Storage Boxes, We Do Wood Foursquare Shelf Oak, OYOY Living Design Maki Basket, We Do Wood Loop Shelf)

4 Embrace the nature connection 

Yet another technique to elevate the mood by design is called biophilic design. It’s all about embracing the connection to the natural environment. Bringing outdoor elements indoors is considered to create an atmosphere of harmony and relaxation.

Honoring nature by the use of natural materials such as wool, linen, sheepskin, timber and rattan is quintessential in Scandi interiors. It can be easily enriched with something as simple as bringing home fresh flowers or plants, twigs, or pieces of driftwood or rocks. A dash of forest green can be added with cushions, throws, blankets or perhaps a duvet set. 

Adding a touch of nature with natural materials and forest greens (from top left to bottom right: OYOY Living Design Inka Tray, Skandinvisk Skog (Forest) Scented Candle, We Do Wood Nomad Chair, OYOY Living Design Hagi Pot, OYOY Living Design Cork Trisse, Klippan Bjork Wool Blanket Forest Green)

5 Light and bright

Thanks to the long dark winter months, Scandis are experts in how lighting can affect our psychological well-being. Letting in as much natural light as possible - when possible -  helps to create a bright and airy space. In order not to block the light, window treatments are best kept to minimum.

When daylight is limited, a clever use of indoor lighting is essential in setting the mood. A whole number of factors including colour temperature and the intensity can affect the mood. In general, warmer colour temperatures evoke feelings of being “at home,” while a cooler colour temperature encourages a more alert state of mind.

A selected range of lights and votives available from Nordic Fusion (Normann Copenhagen Amp Lamp large, Normann Copenhagen Bell Lamp, iittala Kastehelmi Votive clear, Normann Copenhagen Amp Lamp small)

You’re not alone 

If longing to make changes in your surroundings, you’re certainly not alone. According to fresh statistics, more than one in three Aussies is planning to use some of their savings on their home within the next 12 months. 

What each of these millions of individuals needs to feel good and what exactly makes a home an inspiring space for them differs of course greatly from one person to another. The first and foremost question to ask yourself is, how your home makes you feel right now.


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