Therapeutic Interior Design?

I’ve said it half as a joke a few times lately, but let’s face it: Waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and therapy offices tend to be far from cheerful places. I think it could help in some way if these spaces were designed to put people more at ease. I’ve heard of some long-term care facilities undergoing redesign to look more homelike instead of sterile, and I think this is a very positive step. I’d certainly not be my most cheerful self if what amounted to my home didn’t look like one!

I wouldn’t ask for the advice of actual interior designers. I at least wouldn’t give one complete free rein. If you ask me, they tend to design spaces that would look nice on a magazine cover but I wouldn’t want to live in at all! I don’t want to live in a magazine cover. I want to be comfortable. I want comfortable chairs. Cheerful decor that isn’t in-your-face cheerful like a kid’s playroom (unless it actually is in a kid’s playroom) but also doesn’t feel “too fancy” to me, like something that would be at a grandparent’s house and I wouldn’t be allowed to touch it.

The entire environment of a mental health client is important to consider, especially if they’re staying somewhere for long-term care and the place is essentially their home for that time. I want people to feel comfortable. I wouldn’t want to live somewhere where I’m not. I know many facilities unfortunately suffer from a lack of funding, and interior design is far from the top of the list of priorities if there isn’t much money to go around. But I think it’s something to consider.


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