Encouraging Wellness Through Interior Design
Most of us are aware that our environments have a direct impact on how we function and feel. Environmental Psychologists have been studying this since the 70s. I was really curious about this as a young adult, as I had observed the effect of my environment on my own well being as a teenager. As a result, when I was in college studying psychology I read many books on the topic to find out more.
Environmental Psychologists, Mehrabian & Russell developed the Pleasure-Arousal-Dominance hypothesis in 1974. They hypothesized that humans have three primary emotional responses to space: pleasure (positive feelings), arousal (excitement or challenge), dominance (control over their environment) and that they are most satisfied when all three emotional needs are met. Not only do humans have an emotional response to space, but their behavior is directly impacted by their emotional impact.
When people are subjugated to a drab environment, they are less productive and engaged. Conversely, environments that are more aesthetically appealing and functional allow people to be more productive and engaged.
Now that we’ve examined the why, let’s look at a few ways to promote wellness at home!
1. Bring the Outdoors In
One of the easiest ways to promote wellness in your home is to bring the outdoors in through the introduction of plants, natural materials and natural lighting. The use of indoor plants at home- along with air purifiers and filtration systems- help create healthier, fresher air to breathe.
Many air filtering plants are very easy to care for and are a great introduction to indoor house plants. We recommend Sanseveria and Golden Pothos for those with low light or that have found themselves with dead house plants in the past. Other fantastic air filtering plants are English Ivy, Boston Fern, Rubber Plant, Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Chinese Evergreen, Gerbera Daisy, Dracina Marginata, Dracena Maceagana, and the common Spider Plant.
The image above is from our Industrial Glam Master bedroom project and it features many plants! This image includes a Sanseveria, Golden Pothos and Orchid.
Many of you probably suffer like I do during a rainy day or in the winter- when natural light is more scarce. It is clear that the lack of natural light can negatively effect our mood and our circadian rhythms during these dreary days. Natural light also assists our circadian rhythms- allowing us to have focused energy during the day and to relax in the evening. A lack of natural light can cause disruptions in these rhythms leading to energy and sleep dysfunction. These rhythms are often disrupted by screen time- which is a necessity for many of us in our professions. It is vital to make the most of natural lighting in our interior environments and we encourage leaving shades open and placing draperies off the windows to maximize natural light.
Artificial light can also be used to promote wellness. Diffused lighting has a gentle, calming effect for most and lights on the blue spectrum can lead to increase productivity- making them effective in workspaces.
This image is from our Cozy Natural Sunroom project where we featured draperies that sat off of the windows to maximize the natural light in the space and the adjacent kitchen and breakfast room area.
3. Natural Materials
The use of natural materials is a fantastic way to create an environment that feels connected to our outdoor spaces and allows us to feel grounded. Natural materials can create a feeling of peace- use wood, bark, moss, stone and natural fabrics with lots of texture to create a nature inspired retreat in your own home.
In this breakfast room and kitchen we updated the space with a marble backsplash and warm wood planked ceiling to connect the space to the outdoors.
4. Natural Color Palettes
It isn’t necessary to go neutral in order for your home to feel inspired by nature. Nature is rich with color- color that can create excitement, soothe you, inspire you and ultimately help you live a more productive life. Think about what places in nature make you feel the way you desire to feel- is it a lush green meadow or a soothing Caribbean beach? Color is a large aspect of how your space can influence your mood.
When designing our Coastal Glam Master, we determined that our clients wanted a soothing space and that they felt most soothed by cool colors that were reminiscent of the beach. We used this to select the rug which was the inspiration for the entire room.
5. Spaces for Wellness
Creating space for activities that promote wellness is essential for self care. If you relax by reading, consider what environment you prefer reading in. Do you like a quite, cozy book nook or a light and airy seating area? If you recharge through your daily yoga practice, leave space to easily practice yoga and meditate. When your home is set-up with activity zones for specific activities- it can be easier to make wellness a daily habit.
This bright sitting room was created with the primary intent of being a retreat for our client to read and enjoy the natural light from the front windows.
I hope these tips help encourage you to promote wellness in your home and life! I believe that everyone deserves an environment that helps them live their best life.