Your House is Full of Emotions Says Study on Room-Specific Feelings

Is the living room sad? The kitchen anxious? One new study seeks to determine how a room really feels.

A handy breakdown on how each room "feels," according to University of Texas, Austin.

Do you ever walk into someone’s house and get, well, just kind of depressed? Some might call it bad Feng Shui, but a new survey of “domestic ambiances” says that certain rooms really do have the ability to make us feel very specific, very tangible emotions. Led by a group of psychologists at U of T Austin, 200 people were given a list of 18 hypothetical rooms that typically exist within an “ideal” home, and asked them to pick two “ambiance descriptions” of each space. According to City Lab, one of the exact questions was, “as you enter each of the following spaces, what are the most important emotions or perceptions you would like to evoke within yourself and others?” The psychologists supplied 29 pre-selected words, which were available to choose from for those without linguistic creativity.

The results were pretty unsurprising. The top five “ambiances” for each room accounted for about two-thirds of the total descriptions, leading to a general consensus that suggests “both that people do have a sense about which ambiances they desire in each room and that these ambiance and room preferences are shared by others in the sample,” according to Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Oddly, one of the rooms that elicited the most uniform emotions was the master closet. As City Lab reports, more than “half the respondents used the word organization to describe it, followed by abundance and privacy. The term sophistication also made the top five, with a caveat that the researchers didn’t control for per capita ownership of argyle socks.”

People also seemed to come to a consensus that the entryway, front porch, and guest rooms were all “inviting,” and that the garage and utility rooms also made them think of “organization.” Unsurprisingly, the master bedroom seemed to elicit feelings of romance, as did the master bath. The only two rooms without a major consensus were the sitting room and backyard, which makes sense considering all the potentially bonkers ways a family could misuse a backyard.

The researchers let it be known that this study was merely a “preliminary” scientific attempt to chart a room’s emotional qualities (though they seem to have left out that Anthropologie has already been doing this for years). It’s also hazy as to whether this research quantifies how participants perceive spaces, or how they’d like to perceive, say, their own home’s foyer. The study also acknowledges that income, age, location, and culture play a pivotal role in how people perceive spaces. Not to mention access to HGTV and a good Pottery Barn catalog.


October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less

Since normalizing relations with Communist China back in 1979, the U.S. government and its companies that do business with the country have, for the most part, turned a blind-eye to its numerous human rights abuses.

In China's Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, it's believed that over a million members of its Uighur population are being arbitrarily imprisoned and tortured in concentration camps. Female Uighurs in detention are being given forced abortions and subjected to sexual mistreatment.

Keep Reading Show less

The vaping epidemic is like a PSA come to life. A recent outbreak of vaping-related deaths and illnesses has affected people from across 46 states. More than 800 people fell ill, and at least 17 people died from vaping. In Illinois and Wisconsin, 87% of the people who got sick said they used THC, and 71% of people also said they used products that contained nicotine. Symptoms of the illness included coughing, chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea, and fatigue. We finally might now why.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic believe toxic chemical fumes, not the actual chemicals in the vape liquid, might be the culprit. "It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases and toxic agents," Dr. Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said in release.

Keep Reading Show less