We spend almost half of our time at home, and our surroundings have a bigger impact on our lives than we think. Perhaps feeling good here is sometimes taken as a given, or not considered when things like design, costs and practicality are in the mix of decorating decisions.
But thinking about how our interiors affect our health and wellbeing is really worth it. Home is where we create lots of beautiful memories with family and friends, and take time to relax too – it should be somewhere we feel at our happiest and healthiest, as well as a space we love to spend time in.
social spaces & you-time
Designing your rooms carefully can have great psychological and physical benefits. Eating together is one of the best ways to share experiences, feel included and cheerful at home. Do you have open-plan areas for activities such as cooking, dining and entertainment? A spacious, lively room at the heart of the home is perfect for family-time or socializing with friends.
Let’s not forgot the importance of those quieter rooms too. Spaces to retreat for reading, relaxation and of course, sleep, are just as necessary. Everybody needs their own time. Consider design that’s much more enclosing, cozier and comforting in these areas.
high or low?
Would you believe ceilings can have an effect on how we feel? Studies have shown that high ceilings can promote creativity and social interaction, while lower ones can help you feel more focused for activities such as studying or crafts. Of course, it’s not easy to change existing ceilings but this could be a factor to think about if you’re moving.
Image from The Ordinary Lovely
Something that often goes amiss is storage. Well-organized spaces reduce stress as things are much easier to find and tidy-away. Whether it’s cupboards, boxes, shelves or even more unique ideas, having somewhere to store the little things can make a big difference. But larger spaces for bicycles and outdoor equipment are great too. It’s much easier to feel calm and content at home knowing everything has its place.
Keep YOUR COOL OR KEEP WARM
Feeling too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer is something that’s all too familiar for us in Seattle. The World Health Organization recommends temperatures between 64 to 75 ºF for healthy living. But how can we promote a healthy temperature at home?
It can mean considering a whole range of things, from your type of heating to insulation and glazing. Yet an easy solution that’s often overlooked is your thermostat – better control of your heating could really help you to feel more comfortable as temperatures fluctuate throughout the day and the seasons.
Another big factor which can sometimes be worrying is damp. We naturally create moisture from breathing and our daily activities such as cooking, laundry and bathing add to this too. Moisture can be an enemy as it creates bacteria, dust mites and mold which lead to health problems such as asthma.
To safely take care of moisture, make sure you have good ventilation in your kitchen and bathrooms. Occasionally opening windows around your home can be a great help too.
Dealing with a noisy neighbor can be really frustrating and even lead to stress. Other noises from around your home might keep you awake at night or cause conflict too. If you’ve exhausted your options then you could consider soundproofing in the floor, walls and ceilings. Even curtains can help to reduce noise from outside and help you hear more clearly indoors. Having some peace and quiet at home shouldn’t be a luxury but granted.
Let Nature In
Cold, moisture, noise – we’ve talked a lot about keeping things out. Yet one of the best ways to feel happy and healthy at home is by letting nature in.
Natural light is a biggy. It can reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep and even help people recover faster when they feel poorly. Maximize it with large, wide windows and skylights. Open your windows regularly to let the fresh air in, improving your air quality and removing any impurities.
Consider your view too – do you have a beautiful garden, a wonderful city or the countryside to gaze out at? Being able to look into the distance is healthy for the mind and the eyesight. And just think about how much better it feels to be working from a desk facing a window – it can inspire your creativity.
Houseplants are healthy. They can help to purify the air as they naturally remove toxins. And of course they release oxygen, helping us to breathe more easily. There have even been studies to show they can improve mood, reduce stress levels and increase our attention span. Time for a trip to the garden center!
And one of the easiest ways to improve wellbeing in the home is to decorate with natural colours. Consider warmer hues in social spaces as they can create a cozy, optimistic feel. Soft blues and greens have a calming effect to help you feel restful and relaxed in retreat rooms.
Natural wood textures underfoot create a physical and psychological connection the outdoors and can set your mind at ease. Think blonde woods with a soft radiance for calming spaces or rich rustic and deeper antique tones in livelier areas. Wood floors bring a beautiful sense of nature into the home and can help you feel good too. Let nature in and feel happy at home with a naturally inspired wood floor