Why is it certain cathedrals inspire a hushful reverence when you enter the sanctuary? Why do you immediately feel more peaceful when you enter a spa? How does a dance club seem to inherently electrify your senses?

If a mountain can evoke awe and a river can inspire refreshment, why shouldn’t built environments affect our emotions as well? As it turns out, they do. 

Research shows that the design of our living spaces, our working spaces, and even our communities has real and significant impact on our mental and emotional health. 

Whether or not you’re aware of it, the design of your home affects your emotional and mental wellbeing. The architectural space, lighting, colors, and materials of your home contribute in nuanced but meaningful ways to your emotions and mental energy.


Achieving a positive emotional response to your home begins by attending to the design of the physical space itself. The importance of openness and balance can’t be understated. A tight space, or a visually clunky space, can create internal dissonance that makes people feel cramped or unsettled.

At Giraffe Design Build, we consider very purposefully the circulation patterns within your home. We’ll have conversations with you to understand how you move within your living space. If your traffic flow is unnatural or inefficient, it can cause distress — especially in the kitchen.

We also ask how you plan to use the space in shared rooms. We may recommend opening up some walls, or reconfiguring your space. 


The importance of designing for natural light cannot be understated. Studies have shown the tremendous psychological impact that natural lighting has on people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. Lighting reduces depression (especially important during Michigan winters) and increases endorphins. It brings the outdoors in and opens up a living environment, making the home feel spacious and freeing.


Your color choices have a tremendous impact on your emotional reactions to a space. Color theory can be a helpful place to start thinking about setting a mood — however, everyone has a different emotional connection to specific colors. People respond to colors like they respond to smells — we’re all different. You should choose colors based on your own individual reactions.

Most people tend to like the colors of nature, especially pale greens and grayish blues. Be careful not to paint your walls too dark, it will make your space feel tighter and more restricted. Many people tend to choose colors that are too dark for the room.


Are you looking for a space that feels warm and cozy, sophisticated and quiet, or bright and energetic? Materials play a major role in creating mood and evoking emotion. For example, wood evokes warmth, while slate and crown molding communicate sophistication. If you want a space to cuddle up in, you may want to fill your space with overstuffed furniture and fluffy cushions.

We work alongside our clients to find the best materials to evoke the moods they’re looking for. 

Giraffe Designs for Your Wellbeing

At Giraffe Design Build, our clients seem to intuitively understand that the design of your home affects your emotional wellbeing. Homeowners often come to us, not because there’s a functional problem with the house but because they need a qualitative difference in the way they experience their home. 

For example, Paula and Allen’s garage entry led to their basement — a drab space that made them feel tired every time they came home. After a long day of work, they wanted a place that would shed the cares and stresses of the day as they walked through the door.

Another family had a 1950s ranch house that felt cramped and tired. The contrast between the house and the delightful garden on the other side of the door was stark. They came to us seeking a design change that would bring the outdoors in. With their partnership, we were able to create a refreshing environment that felt more like a retreat than a fortress.

This intersection of design and emotional wellbeing lies at the core of Giraffe’s mission: to create inspired designs and environments, built with excellent craftsmanship, delivered with integrity and empathy, to delight people and planet. We approach every project with the keen awareness that our design will impact the people who interact with it. Our goal is always to design and craft spaces that bring delight.

If you’re looking for a design-build company that understands the impact of good design on emotional and mental wellbeing, let’s start a conversation. Contact us today!