People often think I am a bit odd when I compare making design decisions to behaviorism.

Yes, I am referring to Behavioral psychology - the theory of learning based on the idea that behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning (training) - applying positive or negative reinforcement to a behavior you either want to strengthen or minimize (a rather loose definition of).

In spatial or visual terms, as it might relate to Interior design ... how we enhance or minimize the impact of a detail or gesture in a space through the design decisions we make, allows a space to "speak" or elicit a desired behavioral response.

For example: In a basement / lower level renovation, I might want to visually add height to the walls ... One quick fix trick I often use is painting the baseboards (especially when they are the skinny, non descript sort) the same colour as it's adjacent walls. Similar to how a belt can forshorten a body on a little frame (by cutting it in half), so can the "line" of a baseboard meeting a wall - making it look stout. Painting the base and wall the same colour, minimizes the impact of "line" (white base, coloured wall - providing a contract).

Return to Expert Advice articles

How to maximize a smaller space to feel as spacious as a previous home!
The complete design checklist for anyone renovating or building a new home!
Decorator or designer, what's the difference and how do you know which you need?