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interior design, interior applications, wood, health, well-being, post-secondary students


Reaching Canadian shores in March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic relentlessly continues to impact life on a global scale. Post-secondary students have been especially hard hit throughout the pandemic, with the doors of many institutions still closed 20 months after the initial lockdowns. They have had to self-navigate the difficulties of remote learning while grappling with several negative health concerns associated with extended periods of time spent in artificial environments, such as social isolation, mental fatigue, increased stress, and low levels of motivation. This study seeks to determine how interior applications of wood can be used to improve the health and well-being of post-secondary students impacted by the pandemic. To do so, qualitative research was undertaken in the form of a remotely administered questionnaire. Eleven post-secondary students in the GTA were anonymously recruited to take part in the study. Analysis of the results indicates that wood in the built environment is consistently perceived by students as being beneficial for their overall mental state, in the recovery of mental fatigue, and in regulation of stress and motivation levels. Based on the results of the study, the following 5 recommendations for interior designers have been developed: 1) Less is more, 2) Experiment with various wood stains and species, 3) Use organic curves to promote restoration, 4) Provide a healthy balance of private and public spaces, and 5) Design with multisensory stimulation in mind. These recommendations will inform the design of a physical restorative space for students to recover from mental fatigue and psychological stress.


Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design (FAAD)

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.