Reading time: 2 min – Spotted on Five Thirty Eight
What makes a pleasant, comfortable and cozy house ? Natural and warm colors, plants or even soft plaids are as many answers as there are opinions on the subject. The appearance of an interior affects how we feel, but it’s hard to find the specific aesthetic that responds to that feeling. Studies have looked into the question to try to identify the factors that make a house a space of well-being .
In 538, during a furniture fair in Milan in Italy, teams from Google and Johns Hopkins University attempted an interactive art installation experience. Equipped with a bracelet capable of monitoring multiple biomarkers, visitors discovered a series of living and dining room models with similar furnishings, but with different mood themes. Color, lighting, smell and texture of the fabrics varied with each exposure. Participants were then asked to indicate the rooms where they felt the best.
By comparing the answers with the data collected by the bracelet, the scientists observed that “what people thought they liked or were most comfortable with did not match what their biometrics indicated” , explains Tasha Golden , research director for the International Arts + Mind Lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Well-being under the influence
Objective studies focusing on subjective concepts like comfort produce strange results. Exploring individual and cultural tastes, however, can help scientists better understand the brain and obtain results on what makes a interior is cozy and comfortable. Lindsay Grahamn, research specialist at UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment, has conducted research into what types of architectural environments people relax. There may be several factors in aesthetic judgments.
“We see things in Instagram ads which are beautiful and maybe they correspond to a part of us or what we want ” , she says. On the other hand, if what people find beautiful does not match who they are, then this type of interior will not be able to fully satisfy them. So there is a difference between what people think they should like and what makes them feel good at home.
In the same vein, Anjan Chatterjee, professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, found that what makes you comfortable varies by location. For example, those surveyed said indoor spaces were more cozy if they contained outdoor elements like plants. As for exteriors, they consider orderly gardens such as those in the English style to be more welcoming. Obviously, the culture in which people live influences personal needs, especially when it comes to space.
For Bevil Conway, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health who studies the way our brains perceive color, so there is a limit to this kind of study. According to him, what scientists are doing in this work is testing how well populations conform to preconceived ideas of what is cozy and pleasant.
Today, what science can say about it, c is that there are noises, 1845690 like that of water , considered soothing by a wide range of people. It’s not universal, but widespread enough to say it’s a truth for many people, says Tasha Golden. For his part, Anjan Chatterjee adds that when we are faced with something that we find beautiful, the parts of the brain associated with the reward system are triggered.