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A Guide to Mental Health Furniture in Australia


Mental Health Furniture

A room's furniture pieces and overall arrangement may seem insignificant in influencing your mental health, but the truth is that it can have a big impact.


From the home-like impression the furniture set gives off to the comfortable and soft feel of the furniture’s upholstery, the ways that furniture can have an impact on mental health are truly vast and varied.


That said, it can be difficult to wrap your head around the process of carefully selecting furniture for your craft, whether you’re working in a private psychotherapy clinic or a counselling room.


But if you want to provide a safe and comfortable space for your clients, it pays to be mindful of your furniture choices.


Need some tips and tricks to do it? Or simply looking to know the benefits of mental health furniture? We got you.


This mental health furniture guide will outline ways to decorate a space that’s perfect for relaxation and serenity. It’s perfect for Australian professional mental health spaces.

Let’s begin!


What is Mental Health Furniture?

Mental health furniture refers to types of furniture that are designed to help patients in mental health facilities feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe.


These types of furniture, in essence, create an environment that can help patients feel at ease and is generally conducive to facilitating the healing process. They are also often designed to be extremely difficult to dismantle, preserving the safety of staff and patients alike.


Some examples of this furniture type found in Australia include: sensory furniture, anti-ligature chairs, and mental health beds.


mental health furntiure

Why is Mental Health Furniture So Important?

In our daily lives, we utilise furniture in a variety of applications. We sit down on chairs and sofas. We put our belongings on tables and shelves. We sleep in our beds every night.


When it comes to comfort and general livability, the role of furniture is undeniable. And when it comes to the realm of its impact on mental health, furniture’s significance can become even more profound.


How so, one may wonder. Here are the various impacts of mental health furniture for the common person:


It Can Influence Stress Levels

The design and colour of the furniture you end up picking can either promote feelings of relaxation or detract from it.


As such, it’s important to choose furniture that makes mentally distressed patients feel protected and safe.


It Can Facilitate Interaction

For people in the psychotherapy practice, it’s important to get your patients to open up to help them overcome whatever’s causing them grave mental distress.


With the wrong furniture styles and choices, such as bold and clashing colours or a distant furniture arrangement, you could make your patient feel overwhelmed and unwilling to open up.


On the flip side, certain furniture pieces like circular foam chairs and non-intrusive designs can make it easier for people to be more willing to share their emotions.


It Can Accommodate Specific Needs

Patients who are sensitive to harsh lights, loud sounds, and confined spaces can feel stressed out in layouts with an unideal arrangement.


On the contrary, utilising mental health furniture to decorate your space can help these people feel more secure and less on edge, giving them the environment to help them truly open up their emotions.


Key Characteristics of Effective Mental Health Furniture

Choosing the right mental health furniture isn’t merely a matter of picking an aesthetic-looking piece from the store and plopping it down your clinic or office.


It will need a whole lot of consideration and thought for it to effectively assist you and your patient in going to the right conclusion.


Here are some characteristics you should pay attention to before buying mental health furniture pieces.


Ergonomic and adjustable

Comfort is a vital component that needs to be upheld when picking furniture. No one wants to experience discomfort when they’re talking one-on-one or in a group setting.


As such, pick ergonomic and adjustable furniture that supports the body and avoids strain. By getting furniture that keeps individuals comfortable, both you and your patient can focus your attention on the more important things, particularly helping them undergo the healing process.


One way everyday Australians can incorporate furniture that supports mental health into their daily lives is ergonomic office equipment. From adjustable chairs to stand-sit desks, these tools help to preserve short and long-term comfort, which can be instrumental in supporting mental health.


Sound-absorbing

Echoes coming off the walls and chatter coming from the outside can distract from the healing experience.


Upholstered materials with soft fabrics like suede, microfibre, and corduroy can be excellent in helping reduce reverberation, voices, and various other sounds.


Whether your professional mental health space is in an urban metropolis or the middle of the Outback, there are always some disturbances to mitigate. Sound absorbing furniture can help with this, as can general soundproofing in the room.


Durability


Mental health furniture should also be high-quality and durable. Patients can feel turned off by the sight of wear and tear, scratches, and other forms of damage in their seating.


As such, be sure to pick a furniture piece made of highly durable material. Wood and leather are good for sofa bases. If the plush is starting to give way, then seek to replace them.


Calming design


Of course, your patient’s psyche comes first when choosing your office’s furniture.


Having design elements that clash with one another can make it more difficult for people to open up and express themselves effectively.


As such, be mindful when choosing design patterns in your office. Pick furniture that has neutral tones, soft edges, and unobtrusive designs. These types of furniture tend to be the most conducive to a productive and open healing process.


Green elements

Natural elements like plants and flowers can help reduce feelings of stress and increase feelings of happiness.


As such, be sure to incorporate natural elements into your overall design, or at least keep your furniture looking as natural as possible.


The type of plants you include doesn’t particularly matter; as long as you have some green elements in your room, you can help to support the responsiveness and openness among your patients.


Considering incorporating native Australian plants to help your mental health space feel more like home for your patients.


5 Tips on Arranging Mental Health Furniture

Just as important as the type of furniture you put in your office is the way you arrange them. Here are some tips on arranging mental health furniture to help patients feel more at ease in your environment.

  • Don’t overcrowd your office: Leave some room for patients to freely walk in and out without much obstructions.

  • Consider patient proximity: Be mindful of how close you will be with your patient when discussing.

  • Create zones: If you use your room for various types of sessions, make specific zones that reflect that. For example, you can make a one-on-one zone in one corner and a group session zone in another.

  • Colour coordinate furniture: Choose furniture with colours in mind—use light, neutral tones as much as possible.

  • Reduce harmful regions: If you have furniture with sharp edges or trippable characteristics, place them in a corner to avoid or reduce the risk of patient injury.


Be sure to also keep the room’s aesthetic in mind. There are a lot of ways you can arrange a practitioner clinic, and it’s your office at the end of the day. Don’t hesitate to infuse your own personal flair when designing, but always bear in mind the patient’s needs as well.


Happy designing!


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