The Psyche and Contemporary Interior Design

Living in an urban environment, we cannot help but become influenced by what is trending in interior design. It is not surprising, therefore, that urban homeowners go for contemporary interior design in their living spaces. The Singaporean current landscape in interior design still caters to the previous years’ trend, though there are indicators brewing of a change in contemporary interior design. You just have to open the pages of a home magazine or view the advertisements on TV to see the changes coming.


Of all the interior design trends in Singapore, dominant is the Scandinavian look with woody interiors and muted colors. The surging new theme makes use of brighter colors and what was once less popular themes may emerge as the favorite theme among homeowners. The change of themes shows the symbolism and psychological influence coming out in contemporary interior design through the use of lively colors, the emphasis on the environment and nature, and functionality.

No matter where we live, whether it be in an apartment, in a condo, or a two-storey house, how we experience our living space is the most important feature of contemporary interior design.


The current rage in interior design
If we take a closer look at the interior designs we see in magazines and other media, we will notice a mixture of themes and materials. For instance, there is confusion between what is contemporary and modern interior design, and in these two there might be an overlap of elements. But, the fact remains that the use of these interior design elements, separately or interwoven, makes our living comfortable and suitable to our tropical climate.

• Influence of nature and environment. People now are conscious of ecology and the relationship of man and nature. We see this theme in corporate’s efforts to connect with the environment and the community. Homeowners and designers are catching on the theme and using it in interior design concepts.

Nature’s influence is not a departure from the Scandinavian concept of interior design, but a retro to the Balinese style. This influence makes the use of natural materials, like uncut and unpolished timber, as the key feature of the contemporary interior design. And, not surprisingly, the use of minerals is becoming fashionable as decorations and centerpieces: bowls of pyrites, chunks of quartz, and semi-precious stones on doorknobs.

• Geometrical features. Geometric patterns are making a comeback from the swinging ‘60s. We see these geometric patterns on floor tiles and walls and they are not just confined to the living room. The patterns remind us of the minimalist influence which was strong in previous years. Whatever is the influence of using geometric patterns, it gives us richly-textured walls that appeal to our aesthetic taste.

• The resort-like style. This style is an attempt to blend the outdoors with the indoors. In this style, we see white with blue as reminiscent of the sea, and which are compatible with mosaic, murals, terra-cotta tiles, wrought iron gates, and rough stucco areas. You may want to modify the white and blue color theme reminiscent of the calm blue sea and mix it with natural colors to add a rich charm to the theme.

• Eclecticism. This style is the favorite of the rebellious and those who want to be different. The style defies conformity and removes all design parameters and criteria. Before you go for this style of contemporary interior design, give it a pause. Putting anything together can appear a messy mishmash and will lose its meaning. While this look makes you original (nobody can imitate you), you still need to follow a degree of an aesthetic norm.


Using symbolical elements in your home design
Whatever style you choose for your interior design, the choices you make in color, materials, textures, and fittings are psychologically dictated and contain symbolism that you are not aware of. While they are pleasing to the eyes and gives you comfort, they contain layers of meanings that define you and perceived by your visitors.

• The use of our senses. Our senses give us the quality of the experience we get from our home. Our senses tell us if our living space is comfortable, pleasing to the eyes, and textures which appeal to our sense of touch. We, therefore, go for an experience that engages our senses and uses these to make informed decisions.

• A Space that speaks of time and movement. A theme draws attention to a particular time: is your design modern? Antique? Or a mixture of both? Space is equally important as it gives you and your visitors the “feel” of the room. A well laid out floor plan gives a sense of fluidity and freedom to move. When you do your floor plan, consider the space and your movement, the furniture arrangement, and the use of white space as a breather.

• Mental faculties of memory, reason, and imagination. The objects in our room carry mental associations. The memory of our mother’s dishes, tables, souvenirs from past trips, and frames of memorable events. These objects give us a sense of loyalty and continuity. Reason, however, comes in when deciding where and how to position these objects; how to organize these objects so as not to appear cluttered. Here is where your imagination comes in and brings out the creative aspect in you.

• Emotions. We always look forward to going home and relax in our cozy room. And we would like to feel alive and alert whenever we go home. For instance, choosing pink for throw pillows against a pastel-colored sofa gives life to a room. Colors do wonders to our psyche. Other elements contribute to how we feel: low ceiling against high ceilings give different effects on emotions, as do lights.

Contemporary interior design allows us freedom in our choice of interior design and decoration; it gives us a degree of satisfaction in creating and in living in it. Every now and then, we may want to become a bit adventurous and experiment with a few arrangements to make things a bit unusual.


The bottom line, it is the totality of the design and the interweaving of the elements that make for the “feel” of the room. And, it is the “feel” of the living space that makes us want to come home each day and relax.