The environments we spend time in will no doubt affect our wellbeing. It’s vital, then, to factor in positive changes in the domestic space to nurture that sense of peacefulness and wellbeing. We’ve teamed up with Jo Dyson, renovation and interiors expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show and co-founder of Mae House Design, to bring you these; our 5 IDEAL ways to incorporate wellbeing into interior design.
It’s widely accepted that colour impacts our mood and how we might feel in a space. Darker, richer shades make a dramatic impact and might be best used in a cosy snug room or bedroom to make us feel warm and cosy, while paler colours might make us feel more awake and focused. Greens can bring tranquillity and harmony to a space, and cool, calming shades such as blue promise peace, balance and order.
Don’t settle on the standard treatment for walls and woodwork – perhaps you might also consider painting the ceiling as well as the walls in a darker shade to help that feeling of cosiness or paint the woodwork in a darker shade than the walls, rather than opting for conventional white woodwork?
There are several improvements which can make your living space an inviting and happy place to be. High on the list of priorities should be taking the time to think about how you can filter more natural light into your home.
Exposure to daylight has been linked to improvements in our wellbeing and mood. Consider how you can get as much natural light into your home as possible; this could be by removing walls, adding extra windows, skylights, making hallways and openings between rooms wider, making any partitions glazed to allow light through. Spend time in your property so you know where the light falls at different times of the day, and reconfigure the rooms accordingly.
Consider how you light your home artificially, too. Creating a different atmosphere in various rooms at different times of the day is a superb mood regulator. So, think about the types of lighting you’re installing and the atmosphere these will create. LED bulbs, for example, offer three main choices: soft/warm white, bright/cool white and daylight. For a cozy, relaxing space use warm white. Deploy dimmers liberally, and not just for the main living areas; they’re equally important in bedrooms and bathrooms.
Also layer your lighting; mixing ambient light to provide general illumination with task lighting for functional jobs above the kitchen worktop or vanity unit in the bathroom, with accent lighting to direct the light onto a feature piece of art, for example. To achieve this, mix ceiling spotlights with wall lights, floor standing and table lamps, and put these on a 3 – 5 gang switch so you can control them all from one central switch as you enter the room. It’s all in the detail.
When it comes to planning the spatial layout of a home and its rooms, there are several aspects to consider; from extensions, reconfiguring and furniture arrangements, to window and door placements and openings, to general flow and circulation spaces, it all matters. When thinking about positioning within a space, balance bears more significance than symmetry. For instance, natural elements are rarely symmetrical, but the right placement and balance of objects in our spaces can help us feel at ease. Your seating layout also influences how social your space is, so position chairs in groups or sofas facing one another to encourage interaction.
Despite the popularity of artificial plants, it’s the real ones you want to be prioritising; brilliant for their air-purifying, visually inviting and calming qualities. Peace lilies, ferns and palms, in particular, can clean the air of toxins and pollutants.
Home designs that ‘bring the outside in’ can soothe a tired mind. Use a similar colour palette to help create this feeling of a continual space too. If you have an outdoor space, include bee friendly plants, such as lavender and rosemary.
If you’re redesigning a space, think about how you might be able to improve the acoustics within it. For those of us who have neighbours close by, being able to block out unnecessary noise will help create a calm, productive and happy living space. If you’re doing a loft conversion, for instance, and share a party wall with a neighbour, ensure you put the best sound insulation in if you’re joining a neighbouring loft conversion.
You can also achieve some sound-proofing through the addition of double glazed internal doors or wall dividers, wall cupboards or freestanding screens to reduce noise travel. Introduce designated zones for phone calls and work, identify a collaborative workspace and introduce elements such as acoustic ceiling tiles or carpeted floors and proper insulation between the floor joists and stud walls.