The Impact Of Layout And Space On Mental Health

June 11, 2024

Contrary to popular belief, the role of interior design goes beyond just adding pretty things to a room. There’s a far deeper reason behind mindfully planning one’s space and design elements. What’s that, you ask? Surprisingly, it’s your mental health.

The environment you live in greatly reflects your state of mind. Whether you’re holed up in an apartment complex or have a massive house all to yourself, the importance of your floor plan, spatial arrangement, colours, and light regulation cannot be stressed enough. In this quick read, we’ll walk you through some interesting effects of layout and spatial arrangement on your mental health. This way, you’ll know the do’s and don’ts while curating your space. Let’s get started, shall we?

Different Interior Design Layouts And Their Effects On Your Mental Health

By Floor Planning:

1. Open Floor Plans

Imagine having a combined living, dining, and kitchen area - with you whipping up your signature dishes and sharing a laugh or two with your kids over in the living room. Sounds fun and interactive, doesn’t it?

As the name suggests, open floor plans knock down physical barriers by eliminating walls separating one designated space from the other. Such a plan contributes to a sense of spaciousness, reducing feelings of isolation, claustrophobia, and anxiety. If you are someone who is prone to either, an open floor plan can be a total game-changer for you. 

Listed below are some effects of an open floor plan on your mental health and well-being:

i) Increased Social Interaction

Humans are social beings, and interacting with friends and family is crucial to our health and well-being. Open floor plans promote a sense of community and togetherness, making it perfect for bonding with family and friends. This can add a real feel-good factor to your daily routine.

ii) More Natural Light

With fewer walls and partitions, it allows for better distribution of natural light throughout the home, keeping your body’s circadian rhythm in check.

iii) Flexibility

You read that right! Given the way that the space is configured, each zone has a multifunctional potential, allowing you to have more control over your environment. This is perfect for individuals living a fast-paced life and always having their schedules full.


2. Closed Floor Plans

Do you have a lot on your plate? Are the pressures of work getting to you? Closed floor plans are here to save the day! Sometimes a quiet and peaceful retreat is all we crave, and these floor plans certainly live up to the task. These layouts typically involve more walls, slides, and partition curtains to define and segregate spaces for enhanced privacy and cosiness.

Here’s how closed floor plans affect your mental health:

i) Enhanced Privacy

While some might argue that boxed-in spaces contribute to a space of alienation, closed floor plans are actually quite great for alleviating environmental stressors. Many studies have revealed that having a private and secluded space significantly reduces cortisol levels, making it a great choice for individuals who are always overstimulated by their surroundings. This goes for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ii) Less Distractions

Having regulated lighting, temperature, and noise levels from room to room can be greatly beneficial to one’s cognitive development, memory, and decision-making. The clear and distinct boundaries between rooms also help compartmentalise one’s activities.

iii) Improved Speech Intelligibility

In enclosed rooms, sound waves are less likely to reverberate and echo as opposed to large open spaces. This leads to controlled acoustics, speech intelligibility, and clarity in communication. There’s no need to compete with distracting background noises anymore in this case.

By Style:

3. Biophilic Design

A biophilic design grounds you in nature’s goodness, providing a much-needed respite from the urban jungle. Steeped in all things nature-related, a biophilic layout aims to be one with nature, having some amazing benefits for your mental health. Here are a few:

i) Stress Reduction

The heavy use of natural materials like wood and stone, an abundance of indoor plants, and nature-inspired artwork have been linked to lowering many physiological stress responses such as increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and cortisol levels. Such spaces are great for people with stress-related mental disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic disorders.

ii) Restorative Effects

Biophilic environments have restorative effects on mental fatigue and overload, which can be quite a blessing for people who are prone to burnout. Spending time amidst greenery, light and airy spaces, and an overall environment that draws you close to nature will allow you to relax and replenish mental resources.

iii) Connect With Nature

No matter how hard we try, it’s difficult to shrug off the innate and primal human desire to live in natural environments. A biophilic setting fosters a deep sense of connection with nature, associated with a simple yet more fulfilling and novelty-seeking way of life.


4. Minimalist Design

Minimalism is all about stripping down your home to its core functions, embracing simplicity, and doing justice to the notion of “less is more.” A minimalist interior design revolves around simple forms, clutter-free spaces, toned-down colours, an abundance of natural materials, and of course, functional areas. While it may sound nondescript and uninteresting at a glance, it has multifaceted benefits:

i) Promotes Concentration & Mindfulness

By doing away with clutter and excess distractions, a minimalist style of interior design promotes concentration and mindfulness. An open and clean environment leads to clarity of thought and limited visual stimuli competing for attention, making it another great choice for children and adults with AD, ADHD, and other similar disorders.

ii) Calming Effect

By harnessing the power of neutral colours, clean lines, and tidy spaces, a minimalist interior is a miracle worker for those suffering from stress-related conditions. These interiors generally promote a sense of peace and relaxation.

iii) Improved Sleep Quality

Several dependable studies have revealed how cluttered surroundings are responsible for elevated stress hormone levels and lowered melatonin production. These two combined can be a disaster for your sleep cycle. Thankfully, minimalism does away with this sense of unease, providing you with a cleaner and sleep-friendly ambience.



In today’s world where most of our time is spent indoors, indoor planning and mental health go hand in hand. Beyond aesthetics, the paramount importance of spatial arrangement and design elements has a considerable impact on our psyche. By understanding these subtle and nuanced designs and elements of our home, we hope you curate a space that’s conducive to your mental health and well-being.

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