In our increasingly challenging and, let’s face it, stressful modern world, we’re relying more and more on our homes to serve as refuges or sanctuaries where we can properly relax so that our physical and mental health are sustained/restored. Interior designers are well aware of this fact and their methods now generally pay much closer attention to the human element (along with the various practical and aesthetic concerns).
This type of all-encompassing approach has been termed wellbeing design, holistic interior design or simply health interior design. Whatever you want to call it, the philosophies of this evolved form of professional styling come with loads of useful “home hacks” that any of us can employ in our houses and apartments to improve general wellbeing. Here are seven of the most popular and easy/inexpensive to accomplish ones…
You’re probably sick of being told to declutter, but it doesn’t have to be the whole property. If you can reduce the items in your main relaxation area to the bare minimum, you’re off to a terrific start. Wellbeing design doesn’t promote decluttering merely for the calming effect of looking around at a neat room. Decluttered spaces are easier to keep free from dust, mould and creepy crawlies, meaning there’s also a direct benefit to your physical health.
(Our previous blog on maximising storage could be handy here.)
Increase the Amount of Light
Given that humans need sunlight to live, it’s amazing how much of our life is spent sitting in darkened cubes. Holistic interior design reminds us that letting plenty of natural light into a room translates into feeling good. Options range from skylights to new window coverings to just rearranging the furniture so less sun is blocked and more falls where you are.
Increase the Number of Plants
It’s a similar story with plants. They produce precious oxygen, so why don’t we surround ourselves with them? Often, it’s a time thing. But caring for indoor plants, besides being a relaxing activity in itself, rewards the carer with the feeling of “bringing nature inside”. Which is why our little green buddies are a big part of healthy interior design.
Switch to Warm/Soothing Colours
When it’s time to repaint or for a major purchase like a lounge suite or set of curtains, consider warm colours like brown, red, orange and yellow. Or soothing colours like pistachio green, sky blue, lavender and powder pink. Whichever fit your personal preference. (There’s a heap of wellbeing design theory on this topic if you’re interested!)
Use Natural Materials
When you’ve got the option, choose wood and wool over plastic and manmade fibres. Slate tiles over artificial flooring, etc. This goes back to what we were saying earlier about bringing nature inside. Holistic interior design research has shown that natural materials really do have a positive psychological effect. And wool is the embodiment of the Danish ideal of cosiness, hygge, which has won fans around the world
Focus on Handmade Objects
You know how supermarket cakes have zero aftertaste but lovely homemade ones stay with you? It’s the same with factory-produced furniture/ornaments versus handmade. There’s something about the latter that tends to delight the eye, even more so for their imperfections (see the slightly tricky Japanese concept of wabi sabi), and we are usually less likely to grow bored with them over the long term.
Add a Dash of Retro Fun
Pretty self-explanatory, this tip. We don’t want our home refuges/sanctuaries to be overly solemn, so healthy interior design allows for fun elements. The retro sphere is often a rich source of such things. Maybe that vintage clown poster on the wall doesn’t *quite* match the rest of the décor. If it brings you joy every time you see it, that’s all that matters.
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