The pandemic has shown us, more than ever, the importance of interior space for emotional balance and mental health. A post-pandemic study in Mexico analyzed the trends and effects of interior design elements on emotions and mental health, starting from the hypothesis that a properly designed interior space can induce positive emotions.

Research premises and methods

The lockdown imposed with the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 led to the appearance of several problems, in addition to the fear of illness: psychological problems such as stress, depression or the feeling of loneliness, organizational problems in indoor spaces not prepared for daily, professional and educational activities conducted simultaneous inside, but also questions about the emotions, positive or negative, that interior spaces cause.

The study carried out in 2021-2022 by Lucía Martín López (School of Architecture, Art and Design, Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico) and Ana Belén Fernández Díaz (Faculty of Architecture, Anahuac University, Mexico), published this year by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, makes the connection between COVID-19, mental health and interior design.

The study proposes a methodology to design interior spaces that generate positive emotions through color, texture, furniture and decorations. It includes 147 qualitative surveys, based on the marketing research methods Likert Scale and Customer Satisfaction Score. And based on the fully registered answers, several useful graphics in the design of interior spaces have been created.

The trends highlighted in this study form a basis for further in-depth research into the design of interior spaces that contribute to people’s mental health, offering insights into creating spaces that stimulate well-being and positively influence our mental health and everyday life.

Interior design elements beneficial for mental health

The results of the study carried out by the two Mexican researchers highlighted the following aspects:

  • Constant trends: Pre-pandemic years (2016, 2017 and 2019) and pandemic years (2020 and 2021) are dominated by light colors, wood and natural elements. 2018, on the other hand, was a year in which the most sought after was the industrial style with materials such as concrete or steel in darker colors. And trends in furniture have been maintained. Respondents still preferred natural wood furniture, in light shades.
  • Colors differences: The five most appreciated colors by the respondents were: grey, brown, white, blue and beige. They are followed by green, yellow, purple, red and orange. Magenta and black are the least liked colors. The difference lies in the fact that the same respondents who selected, during the pandemic, light and neutral tones, in previous years included, in addition to neutral tones, some more intense colors (turquoise, saffron, vibrant pink or olive green).
  • Textures differences: During the pandemic, people preferred natural textiles and wood (cotton, linen, wool, walnut, poplar, etc.), while in previous years prints predominated, geometric in 2016 and 2017, floral and botanical, in 2019. The most frequently texture named by the respondents was the textile material, followed by wood, paint, stone, plants, wicker and, finally, ceramics and wallpaper. The most popular textile material among respondents is cotton, followed by polyester, with velvet being the least valued.
  • Decorations differences: In the pre-pandemic years, the trend was towards decorative elements in gold material without clear functionality. During the pandemic, the focus was mostly on objects with which respondents created an emotional relationship, either with the objects themselves (personal or art collections) or because they allowed them to connect with other people (technology). Favorite decor items include candles, figurines, books, mirrors, photographs, flower vases and pots, cushions and lamps.


Conclusions: People find balance and well-being through neutral colors, natural materials, without harshness or overloaded elements, which proves a predilection for tranquility and nature. At the same time, emotional connections are extremely important for mental health, evidenced by respondents’ preference for objects with sentimental value and emotional resonance. At the same time, generous and airy spaces, for family activities or meetings with friends, generate positive emotions and sensations, which is exactly why bedrooms and living rooms have emerged as comfort refuges during the pandemic time.