When it comes to the design of our homes, the focus is very much on the aesthetics and not so much on how the house will function over time or how it is going to enhance the wellbeing of those who live there. By shifting the way, we think about our living spaces from how they look to how they make us feel we can dramatically improve our day to day lives and enhance our wellbeing. Here are seven key areas to focus on when designing a home with wellbeing in mind.
When looking to improve your enjoyment of your home and enhance your wellbeing the first the functionality of your home, and this primarily relates to the layout should always be your starting point. Whether you are redesigning a room or an entire house space needs to work, or nothing else is going to make the slightest bit of difference.
Start with planning the types of rooms you need, the way the rooms work together and the way the furniture is arranged, then consider practicalities like storage, window locations and position of doors. It’s critical you plan your home to suit how you and your family want to live. The changes you make should solve real problems, things that affect you regularly and never be based on what you think you should be doing.
Once you’ve cracked the layout, you need to focus on the atmosphere or ambience. There are many layers to this, things like light, both natural and artificial, colour and acoustics are all going to have a significant impact on how the space makes you feel.
Colour can have a powerful effect on how our home makes us feel. When it comes to pickling wall colours that will enhance wellbeing, let how you plan to use each of the rooms influence your colour selection. The colour you choose to decorate your bedroom, for example, can actually play a part in the quality of your sleep, so it’s crucial to select your colour pallet carefully.
Warm colours will tend to create a stimulating effect, while cooler colours, such as blues, pale greens and greys will produce a more calming and relaxing atmosphere.
Good colour choices to benefit sleep are soft, muted shades. Darker tones such as deep plums or rich burgundies can create a very luxurious and cosy environment creating more of a cocoon-like effect. Try to stay away from high-energy colours like bright greens, strong reds, or bold, vibrant shades.
Lighting will have a dramatic effect on the atmosphere of any room. The trick is to get the balance of artificial and natural light right. Too much artificial light will result in a space that feels clinical. But if it is under-lit, everything will appear gloomy and uninviting.
When planning on how to light a room, don’t rely solely on overhead lighting. Secondary lighting such as floor and table lamps will not only help to dress a room but will also create atmosphere.
Think about what you want to light. Make sure you have no dark spots in the room. Avoid over lighting a room with too many fixed downlights – the result will be harsh and will tend to create glare. Instead, position directional fittings, so they light the walls to reflect light back into the room. These sorts of fittings can also be used to highlight architectural features or pictures in the room.
Make sure you use warm toned light bulbs. This will make the room feel cosy, and ideally, you should swap your switches for dimmers so you can control the light quality in the room, be it low light, ambient light to relax and entertain, or brighter light to read and work.
In a study carried out by UCLA where they surveyed 60 middle-class families in Los Angeles, 3 out of 4 of the family’s garages could not fit cars because of excessive stockpiling of stuff. The survey also found that managing possessions had led to increased stress hormones in mothers.
Embrace the Marie Kondo way and get rid of anything you no longer need, want or like. Then look at ways to create designated storage, it should be as easy to put something away as it is to find it. A place for everything and everything in its place is the mantra for success and a guaranteed way to enhancing wellbeing.
We often get asked for the one thing that would make the most significant difference to a home. We would have to say proper storage. If you have adequate storage, you will find you don’t need so much space. It really is the key to a well-functioning home. Well-designed storage will mean even a very modest space can be perfectly optimised.
By really thinking about where to put everything and making sure you give a purpose to the underused rooms and spaces in your home, you will be able to create more space without adding any square footage.
The most important rule to follow is to make sure you have as much designated storage as possible. The old saying ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ really is the key to success. Here are our top tips for bringing some order to your home.
Connecting with nature is a powerful tool when designing environments that make people feel relaxed. Even a visual connection with nature has been proven to reduce stress levels, blood pressure and heart rate and improve wellbeing.
Our ability to think more clearly improves too because we become more engaged and alert. And best of all our emotions, mood and happiness are all greatly enhanced.
If you have a garden, regardless of its size make sure you can access it easily.
The key to success is to create as unified as space as possible between inside and outside, blurring the lines by continuing floor finishes, wall treatments and roof structures between the two areas so you can’t easily define where the one space ends, and the other begins.
When you extend your living space outside, you gain additional living space and by carrying the interior finishes outside you create the illusion of both your internal and external spaces feel larger.
For apartments make use of window sills or balconies and bring some house pants into your home. Not only will they make your home look great but they also emit negative ions which can actually give us a euphoric feeling.
Meet the Experts
Have you got tickets for our upcoming Optimise Home event: ‘Where to begin with your interiors‘? It takes place next Tuesday 21st May in the Dean Hotel from 6-8pm. Over the course of the evening, Denise will be sharing her advice on how to achieve the look you want for the interiors of your home. We’ll be talking about colour and how to choose the perfect shades for every room. We’ll be discussing the importance of getting your lighting right and giving tips for how to create the right atmosphere. And we’ll be sharing insights on what you can do to make sure your interior design not only makes your home look great but actually improves your wellbeing.
Join us for a glass of wine and what promises to be a very informative, fun and interiors filled evening. Follow this link for tickets. We look forward to seeing you there.