Human Centric Design

Image by Helen Ross

In the world of design, the emphasis on creating spaces that resonate with the human experience has become more pronounced than ever. Human-centric interior design, also known as people-centered or user-centered design, focuses on crafting environments that not only look aesthetically pleasing but also cater to the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the people who inhabit them. By placing human needs, behaviors, and preferences at the core of the design process, this approach aims to create spaces that feel alive, inviting, and nurturing. 

At its heart, human-centric interior design is rooted in empathy and deep understanding of human behavior and needs. It seeks to build spaces that are not only visually attractive but also functional, accessible, and adaptable. From homes and offices to healthcare facilities and public spaces, the philosophy of human-centric design finds its application across various settings.

While some elements are best considered at the outset of build and design phase, all elements of Human centric design can be reviewed for improvement no matter your design journey point.  nd considering that Human centric design is inclusive, draws on biophilic design and is good for mental health and community well being, why wouldn’t you seek to draw on these ideas.  Here I’m sharing some of the key Principles of Human-Centric Interior Design.

  • Comfort and Functionality: Human-centric interior design prioritizes comfort and functionality. Ergonomic furniture, intuitive layouts, and ease of movement ensuring that people can navigate the space effortlessly.  Creating spaces that are easy to navigate reduces risk of accidents while moving through a space.  Technology such as appliances that are intuitive or lighting that dims with the day offer a more enjoyable experience.  Consider the pain points within your home.  Can they be removed or optimized with new storage, technology, movement or removal of an item?  That being said it is also important to remember that humans enjoy opportunity to navigate interesting spaces such as stepping stones, a winding path or a well crafted mechanical device.  When incorporating those elements, ensure they are at times where they will not hinder activities, but instead delight the occupant.


  • Natural Elements: Design elements such as natural light, plants, good ventilation, stone and wood have a positive impact on our emotions and well-being. Remember that our natural animal instincts still exist and incorporating these features helps create spaces that foster relaxation and reduce stress.  Pay attention to where your northern light enters (if you’re located in the southern hemisphere), potential views to greenery.  Add a water feature, pool or reference to one.  Layer in wood in even the simplest way such as timber handles on cabinetry or timber furniture.  For a more effective result, aim to reference local naturally occurring design elements.  For example, reference to a local waterway, soil colour, animal or plant fosters a feeling of connection to place.  
Image by Brizmaker via Canva
  • Sensory Engagement: Engaging all five senses can elevate the experience within a space. From the texture of materials to the aroma and soundscape, thoughtful sensory integration enhances the ambiance.  Layering in scents such as naturally scented candles or eucalyptus branches combined with music, a water feature or birdsong can be extremely relaxing.  By incorporating playful elements people are encouraged to interact with their surroundings, creating connection.  Remember that it is equally important to exclude unwanted sensory items such as the sound of traffic, odours from drains and unsightly views.


  • Customizable Spaces:  We are all unique in our needs and whether those needs are personal tastes or physically attributed requirements, empowering people to create an environment that aligns with their tastes and preferences makes them feel good.  Moreover, allowing them to adjust their environment as their needs change can reduce stress.  Think about the way you might individualize control over temperature, scents, lighting and sound.  Allow for spaces where people can come together as a group but also where they can hide away when they need.  This becomes more relevant when you account for age, mobility, or ability. Considering these issues can allow for a space that is inclusive and welcoming for everyone.


  • Emotional Connection: Great design evokes emotions and builds a connection between the occupant and the space. By incorporating elements that resonate with people’s experiences and memories, designers can create a profound emotional bond.  It may be in the form of a significant collection of books, a photo gallery or a memento.  Artwork that was collected at a special moment or of an important place is a lovely way to connect you back.  
Elska Interiors

Human-centric interior design represents a paradigm shift in how we approach the creation of spaces. By putting people at the center of the design process, we move away from the notion of passive environments and embrace spaces that are alive, dynamic, and responsive to human needs. As designers, architects, and individuals seeking to create inspiring spaces, adopting a human-centric approach can lead to more harmonious, enriching, and fulfilling experiences within the built environment. Ultimately, human-centric design allows our spaces to enhance our lives in profound ways.

Elska Interiors

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