When designing your home, you usually focus on personalising the aesthetics and making the space more functional. You do it to improve the quality of your life and make you feel at home. But, to perfect your home design, you (and your designer) should address your needs at a psychological level. Instead of looking for things that make a house a home, ask yourself: what do you need to feel at home?
What you need to feel at home — according to psychologists
If you’ve taken a psychology class before, chances are you’ve studied Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. According to this theory, humans are motivated by:
- Biological and physiological needs
- Safety needs
- Love and belongingness
- Esteem needs
- Cognitive needs
- Aesthetic needs
We understand that applying Maslow’s theory to home design sounds a tad too esoteric. But, if you continue reading, you will realise that it makes sense and it can benefit everyone who’s planning to build/renovate their home soon.
Your biological and physiological needs
Living in your home during construction is impossible because it's hard to do your daily tasks. Cooking, washing the dishes, and taking a bath are nonviable when the gas, electricity, and plumbing aren't fixed. It's difficult to sleep when you don't have a clean and quiet bedroom. A home during construction is not conducive to living, which is why most renovators move out.
You won't feel at home when the place you live in fails to address your need for fresh air, food, water, warmth, sleep, and shelter.
Your need to feel safe
You feel uneasy when you think your safety is compromised. As a solution, you change your locks, install security systems, and add window treatments. You make an effort to make your place safer and more private.
However, safety isn't only about protection from outsiders. It is also about minimising accidents that harm your loved ones. Families who have small children appreciate child-safe design features. Homeowners who plan to age in place prefer accessible home features.
Ultimately, you want a home where you and your family are secure.
The need for love and belongingness
Your home should address your need to feel like a part of a group. It is the reason why you buy a dining set that accommodates all members of the family. It is why you purchase a comfortable sofa set in the living room, where you and your guests can hang out and relax.
A place where you, your friends, and your family get together feels like home when you feel loved and a sense of belonging.
You esteem needs
According to Maslow's theory, we have two needs to boost our esteem. First is an appreciation of ourselves: our achievements, dignity, and independence. The other is the admiration we want to hear from others like when they lift our status, make us feel prestige, and recognise our reputation.
For example, homeowners who are proud of the result of your renovation tend to invite friends and family over for a housewarming party so they can see how beautiful the results are. They are pleased with the results and they feel happier when they hear positive feedback from the people they have invited.
Your cognitive needs
In your home, you need a place where you can think, work, and relax. It's nice to have a spot where you can take a break from the stress in life.
Wouldn't you feel happy when you have a room or corner dedicated to your work or hobby? Isn't it great if you can sit in the backyard and unwind when you need to?
Your Aesthetic needs
There is a need to design and style your home to make it aesthetically appealing to you. You create the sensation of being at home. You try to achieve beauty, balance, and form to perfect your home design.
The need for self-actualisation
Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a home that reminds you of who you are, what you’re capable of, your talents, potential, or previous experiences?
It’s the reason why artists display paintings, sculptures, and amazing art in their homes. Why homeowners who love the beach have coastal-inspired decor. Why people who love to travel display the souvenirs they’ve bought at home. Or, why home cooks dream of having a massive, functional kitchen at home.
In many cases, this reflects your religious and spiritual faith. It is nice to explore and express your belief in your own home. These elements motivate you every day.
It also describes your home's connection with nature. It's the reason why many Australian homes have indoor-outdoor areas with lavish gardens. It is why we use daylight and breezes to naturally heat up and cool our home. We exist thanks to Mother Earth, and it's only right that we welcome her in our homes.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory that’s relevant to home design because it reminds us to attune the place we live with thoughts and memories that remind us of home. It’s the key to transform your humble abode into a warm home.
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