What are some simple changes people can make to make a living space more aesthetically pleasing? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Ingrid Fetell Lee, Author of Joyful and Founder of The Aesthetics of Joy, on Quora:

There are lots of simple things you can do to create a living space that feels aesthetically joyful. Here are a few that I recommend trying:

  • Add a pop of color: Bright colors are universally associated with joy, and studies show that they can have an energizing effect. It doesn't need to be a lot of color (you don't need to paint your walls if you're afraid of a commitment, for example), but adding a few colorful pillows or a throw or painting an old piece of furniture can have a disproportionate effect on a space. Also, it doesn't need to be a specific color - the key is that it's saturated (pure) and bright.
  • Introduce greenery: Countless studies show that nature has a profound effect on our minds, and that we consistently underestimate that effect. Houseplants bring the outside in, reducing stress and irritability, which not only makes the living space more pleasant, but might also contribute to a feeling of social harmony in a home.
  • Round the edges: In studies, sharp, angular objects create activation in a part of the brain called the amygdala, while rounded objects set us at ease. Incorporating round objects -- tables, mirrors, and light fixtures -- create a more relaxed and playful feel in a home.
  • Create symmetrical arrangements: Symmetry is one of our deepest hardwired aesthetic preferences. Researchers speculate that we love symmetry because it creates a feeling of order that makes it easier to spot threats or opportunities in our surroundings. Add symmetry by arranging pairs of objects around a centerline, or by displaying collections in balanced, grid-like compositions.

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Published on: Sep 20, 2018