The impact that interior design has on our health and wellbeing is valued now more than ever. We have never spent so much of our time indoors, and since the pandemic we have been forced to form a deeper connection with our homes.
Whilst wellbeing focused interior design is not a new topic of conversation in the design world, the subject has gained huge momentum in recent years as stress and anxiety consume more of our lives.
What does Wellbeing in Design mean?
Wellbeing in design recognises the need for residential and commercial spaces that mimic the natural world to positively impact our emotional state and physical health. It is interior design that puts wellbeing principles at the heart of the creative process.
These healthy design principles span materials, textures, lighting and colour therapy – all important aspects of Biophilia (a love for nature).
In this article, we will explore what makes for a calm and happy space.
Biologist Edward O. Wilson defined the term Biophilia to refer to the ways that humans seek connection to nature. Biophilic design is about integrating natural elements and systems into the built environment. Elements like natural daylight, water, air flow, plants and organic materials play a big role in the biophilic design of our homes and workspaces.
The simple act of bringing greens, plants, natural lights and textures into a space can have a powerful impact on our wellbeing and mood. Studies have shown that plants make us more productive and being close to water improves our mental health, so why not experiment by bringing the outside in. Invest in a healthy collection of plants to improve air quality and reduce stress.
Flowers are another simple addition to make you feel happier.
“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful”
– John Maeda
Using organic materials and natural textures in Biophilic design is an important aspect of feeling more connected to nature. As humans we are drawn to tactile and sensory experiences. The textures we use to furnish our homes can have a significant impact on our comfort, joy and sense of wellbeing.
Stone, wood, cotton and wool can all help to create a sense of calm and of being more grounded. For example, swapping laminate for wooden flooring and acrylic worktops for natural stone surfaces can create a feeling of harmony with the natural environment. Layering different natural textures with throws, rugs and cushions can also add more warmth and comfort to a space.
It is very important when designing to consider how a place will look and feel, that the right balance and harmony of textures are used together to reflect the characteristics of colour and those using the space.
Consider how you might like to mimic nature through your soft and hard furnishings.
Whether it’s natural light or smart lighting design, when considering Biophilic design and human wellbeing, interior lighting should mimic the patterns of daylight and our circadian rhythms. It should allow our bodies to synchronise with the environment, encourage vitality and promote better sleep patterns.
While you can’t beat natural light for a wellbeing boost and healthy dose of vitamin D, artificial light can still be effective in replicating a time of day or mood. Ceiling lighting, side table lamps, candles, dimmable controls (and even new circadian lighting) are all helpful components to create a positive ambience and help you to switch off from productivity and alertness.
Colours that are used in interior design can really affect our wellbeing and trigger different emotional responses in us. The impact colour has on the mood of a room is very well documented. Interior Designers reference the colour wheel that dates back to the 1800s when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published Theory of Colours.
For example, red can be anxiety-inducing but also represent passion, while blue is fresh and serene but conversely, can be associated with sadness.
Sherwin-Williams have announced that their colour of the year for 2022 is Evergreen Fog. Green has such a calming and soothing impact as it mimics the natural world. Given the last couple of years it’s no surprise that this soft and soothing green is on trend.
There is also something to be said for a neutral palette to create a calming and relaxing effect. No wonder the Scandinavian look is so popular! People are in need of mindful, restful and balanced spaces.
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Want to know more? Read my blog on sustainability in design here.
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