The positive psychological properties of wood have also been recorded in care homes, with an increase of interaction between residents and greater awareness of their surroundings, reported with the introduction of wooden trays in dining rooms. A report by Lund University from 2013 states that wood can elicit an emotional response from the elderly too.
A project by Wood2New from 2017 explored human perception and the psychological aspects of interior wood use. The study found that wood’s air purifying, moisture balance and hygrothermal capacity, along with its acoustic properties, are strongly linked to users’ wellbeing. Interestingly, the perception of wood as an ecological material, compared to plastics and metals, also contributed to the sense of wellbeing wood interiors provide.
In 1956, the ‘father of stress’ and author of The Stress of Life, Hungarian-Canadian scientist, Hans Seyle, wrote: “Stress is essentially reflected by the rate of the wear and tear caused by life.” Life – the majority of which we spend indoors – is and always will be, filled with stressful situations. When we design indoor environments, mitigating the stress of its users should be a priority, and when it comes to materials, wood is perhaps the best tonic to life’s wear and tear.