Today we begin a series on organizing your home. There have been many studies that show that visual complexity has an effect on our feelings.
As humans we have a tendency to react to sensory stimulation. Sensory information comes from sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Any of our five senses can be over-stimulated. The important thing to understand in your home is our stimulation threshold. That is how much is too much or not enough. It is important to reach a healthy balance.
As humans we are limited to the amount of information we can process at one given time. We can experience overload in a cluttered space. This overload causes stress. The tricky part is that we all have different thresholds. Under-stimulation can cause anxiety. If we have been living in an environment with high stimulation, then we may have adapted and enjoy the arousing and pleasurable environment. At that moment it would take a lot of stimulation to over-stimulate us.
If we are over-stimulated in our workplace, we will probably relax better in a home that has less visual complexity. If our career has us in a very sterile environment, we may look for more complexity to offer intellectual and spiritual stimulation.
People with attention deficit disorders will not have the same threshold as a person who requires less time to understand and retain information. There is also research and theory that an effortless attention can restore the capacity to pay attention. The best example of this would be to draw ourselves to nature in our surroundings.
If you want to determine if you have a high threshold for visual complexity, look at the following homes. Which one are you drawn to?
The first has a good deal of visual stimulation. The second blends with the environment and would offer less visual stimulation.
There are many elements that add visual stimulation to a space. “Stuff” is one of our bigger problems. From kids’ toys, mom’s books, dad’s video games… These all add to visual complexity when left out. Furniture, accessories, window treatments and wall hangings as well as lighting can add to visual complexity.
Now that we have looked at the importance of balance, I’ll offer solutions in achieving visual balance by eliminating clutter. (More to come, tomorrow!)