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Beyond aesthetics: Interior design as a catalyst for well-being

Forget the picture-perfect spaces dominating your Instagram feeds. The true impact of interior architecture goes beyond beautiful aesthetics. Take a moment to think about spaces you've entered: did they instantly energize or calm you? That feeling doesn’t happen by chance. You’re experiencing the tangible impact of interior design on our physical and mental well-being.

Through careful consideration of factors like ergonomics, lighting, and sustainable design principles, interior designers can craft environments that nurture physical and mental health, enhance productivity, and foster a sense of comfort and belonging.

Below are all the ways an interior designer can lift the quality of life for the clients they serve.

Ergonomics: Designing for comfort and health

Ergonomics, the science of designing spaces and products that fit the human body and its capabilities, plays a key role in reducing physical strain, prevent injuries, and improve overall comfort. These examples of ergonomics in interior design can make a great impact.

  • Furniture selection: Choosing furniture that offers proper support and adjustability based on individual needs can significantly impact posture and musculoskeletal health.
  • Layout and accessibility: Designing spaces with clear circulation paths, adequate spacing, and accessible features ensures ease of movement and navigation for all users.
  • Workstation design: Optimizing workstations with appropriate desk heights, chair adjustments, and ergonomic accessories can significantly enhance comfort and productivity. 

Lighting: Illuminating more than just space

The roles of light serves a fundamental purpose in any space. Different lighting techniques and strategies can evoke emotions, influence mood, and even impact physical health. Interior lighting design can inspire a creative and healthy space.

  • Natural light: Maximizing access to natural light is crucial for regulating circadian rhythms, promoting alertness, and improving mood.
  • Task lighting: Providing targeted lighting for specific activities, like reading or working, reduces eye strain and fatigue.
  • Color temperature: Using warm lighting creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere, while cooler tones can enhance focus and concentration.
  • Dimming capabilities: Offering flexible lighting control allows users to adjust lighting to their individual preferences and needs.

Sustainable design: Creating healthy and eco-friendly spaces

Sustainable design principles address environmental responsibility and create healthier and more resource-efficient spaces.

  • Material selection: Opting for low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) materials and finishes reduces exposure to harmful chemicals that can impact air quality and health.
  • Thermal comfort: Utilizing energy-efficient building materials and systems improves thermal regulation, reducing reliance on artificial heating and cooling and creating a more comfortable indoor environment.
  • Biophilic design: Integrating elements of nature, such as natural light, greenery, and organic materials, has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and promote overall well-being.

Tailoring spaces for specific outcomes

Healthcare: Hospitals, clinics, senior care facilities, and therapy offices are increasingly embracing design principles that promote healing, recovery, reduce stress and anxiety.

Education: Schools and universities employ design strategies like flexible furniture, collaborative spaces, and natural light access to encourage active learning, creativity, and social interaction, ultimately impacting academic performance and student well-being.

Learn how Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s new, state-of-the-art medical training facility, designed with well-being in mind, boasts a prestigious silver WELL certification.

Workspaces: Today’s modern office design prioritizes employee well-being with ergonomic furniture and access to daylight and nature. These elements combat fatigue, improve concentration, and foster collaboration, leading to enhanced productivity and employee satisfaction.

Retail: Sensory experiences play a critical role in retail design. Strategic lighting, color palettes, and product placement influence customer behavior and emotional response, creating engaging and memorable shopping experiences.

Hospitality: Hotels, resorts, and restaurants leverage wellness design principles to evoke specific emotions and create lasting memories for guests. From calming spa environments to vibrant social spaces, interior design sets the stage for relaxation, connection, and overall enjoyment.

Community Centers: Libraries, museums, and other community hubs utilize design to foster inclusivity, engagement, and a sense of belonging. Accessible features, flexible spaces, and welcoming aesthetics encourage interaction, learning, and community.

How to become an interior designer

Earn a degree in interior design

Formal education through an interior design university degree is the initial step to becoming an interior designer. Enrolling in an accredited program provides the necessary foundation in design principles, software proficiency, and drawing skills. While some states allow for entry-level positions with an Associate's degree, a Bachelor's degree is often favored by employers, particularly established design firms.

Gain practical experience with an internship

While internship opportunities vary, Ohio University's online BFA in Interior Architecture program includes a 200-hour internship requirement. This immersive experience allows students to explore various aspects of interior design and gain practical knowledge within a specific design discipline.

Showcase your abilities with a compelling portfolio

Building a strong portfolio throughout your education serves as a powerful marketing tool that leads to career success. It conveys your design aptitude, creativity, and problem-solving skills to future employers and clients.

Consider joining an industry association

Joining organizations like the American Society of Interior Designers or the International Interior Design Association can have many benefits. Enhance your skills with continuing education, create valuable connections through networking events, and gain industry recognition through awards and certifications.

What degree do you need to be an interior designer?

While there are different paths to becoming an interior designer, a bachelor's degree, specifically a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Interior Design, is generally considered the best route for several reasons:

Foundational knowledge: Comprehensive curriculum

OHIO’s online interior design program offer a broad and in-depth curriculum covering essential design principles, space planning, technical knowledge, business practices, and design history.

Specialized skill development

Ohio University's interior architecture program covers specialized areas like lighting, ergonomics, building systems, and sustainability, expanding your professional skillset.

Professional preparation in interior design: Portfolio development

Over the course of your education, you will build a portfolio showcasing your design thinking, technical skills, and creative abilities. This portfolio becomes invaluable for securing internships, jobs, and potential clients.

Internship opportunities in interior design

Internship opportunities are essential, connecting you with real-world design firms and professionals. This practical experience provides valuable insights into the industry, builds your network, and refines your professional skills.

Long-term career advantages of interior design

A bachelor's degree unlocks access to advanced degrees like Master's in Interior Design, specializing in specific areas like healthcare design or sustainable design, leading to further career advancement and specialization opportunities.

Versatility and flexibility

The comprehensive education and diverse skills acquired through a bachelor's program equip you to adapt to various design fields and project types, offering greater career flexibility and resilience.

Design your interior architecture career

The increasing awareness of the impact of interior design on well-being underscores the importance of education in this field. Interior design programs, like the OHIO Online Interior Architecture Degree program equip students with the knowledge, skills, and design thinking necessary to create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities.


February 19, 2024
Staff reports