Aesthetics and Functionality

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Do you believe what you see may change behavior?  Aesthetics engage our sight. We may identify with its beauty, coziness, charm. These words prime feelings.  Feeling that ‘sense’ of beauty responds with behaviors like hugging, tasting, smelling, or jumping up and down. There’s a flip side. Sight also triggers behavior responses for safety, avoidance, or adversity. Cozy to one may be a deep-seeded threat to another.

Interior design is an ideal way to nourish desires. When rooms or offices are designed without the user, it fragments personal needs based on opinions on aesthetics and functionality. Designer’s opinions are helpful to convey a feeling, a ‘look’, and to support the functionality of a space. Pinterest, Houzzz, and  blogs may be helpful resources to piecing together a design plan. There’s a story people buy into. The challenge is, when opinions design for you they design without knowing your behaviors towards sensory determents. Studies have established relationships between the physical environment and both work attitudes and wellbeing (Hammon and Jones, 2013).

When people ask my opinion on design my initial reaction is hesitation. Aesthetics is the criticism of personal taste. My occupational therapy experiences drive a realistic perspective on aesthetics. The effects vary behaviors in those day-to-day choices. When design or managerial opinions lead decisions on furnishing and surroundings, it may be costly. It’s risking activity performance.  A practical approach is to fist explore your activity elements, such as time demands, surroundings, habits, place, and attention-related needs.

The Lifestyle Assessment is a free resource to explore those elements – and more! Another helpful exercise is to start tuning into your reaction to color, form, scale, lighting. Don’t settle on opinion. An expert is always helpful. Keep in mind aesthetics effect behaviors. Know the lifestyle you desire then create a place with elements that support it.

Hammon, C., & Jones, LM. (2013). The effect on mood of a “living” work environment.. World Health Design. Oct., 70-79 Retrieved from


Design element for the Sensory -Craving user
Calming Space | A ‘nook’ aesthetic to self-regulate for energy conservation at work in consideration to achieve your best self if with an insatiable drive for enhanced sensory experiences.


Occupational design element for the over-responsive user
Attention to Performance | Organize information with varied textures, colors, gradients and grids in consideration to achieve your best self if exaggerated, negative responses is a typical sensory experience.


Office Furnishings | Color and movement by seat in consideration for your best self if muted or delayed responses to daily sensory events.


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