When we think about health, happiness and wellbeing, we often think about our diet, our activity levels or the company we keep. However, one of the fundamental and often underestimated factors affecting all three is the environment we choose to situate ourselves in.
It’s a widely accepted fact that our living space can influence our emotional state of mind in both a negative and positive manner. Where we are and what surrounds us contributes to our moods, emotions and even our daily behaviors. Therefore, it makes sense that interior design and wellbeing go hand in hand.
Wellbeing is that desirable condition where we thrive both physically (health) and mentally (happiness). Interior design cannot treat illnesses, but it can contribute to preserving and improving our physical and mental health.
Following are the ways you can give you home a wellness makeover:
• Use indoor plants: Having lots of greenery in a home is an obvious and easy stimulant to our overall wellbeing and health. They improve the air quality (by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen) and regulate humidity. They also provide a natural mood-boosting lift and according to some studies can even reduce stress levels, increase memory retention and concentration, and filter out VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and some pollutants. Orchids or aloe vera are great for the bedroom as they emit oxygen even at night. Small succulents for the home office, snake plant or dracaena for the living room, and herbs for the kitchen are an ultimate wellness kick. For the bathrooms either, bamboo, ferns, or a philodendron can transform that space into a wellness retreat in an instant.
• Pay attention to humidity levels: Air humidifiers are one of the most important items in home. It adds moisture back to the air, prevents skin from being dry or dehydrated, reduces the risk of infections and the transmission of viruses and bacteria, and is also great for sinus health.
• Designate a zen spot: A small corner nook in living room next to the windows, so there is ample natural light. There is a comfortable lounge chair, with a small footstool, and the coziest shrug on it. There is a tall, sleek reading lamp next to it, as well as a small table with books, a candle, and the sound system. This can be where you read, journal, or watch Netflix. This could be your zen spot. It is very important. It’s a happy place, one where you go for relaxation and winding down.
• Comfort above all: Aesthetic and comfort are equally important and definitely go hand in hand, but there are a couple of things where comfort should definitely be a priority: like with the bed mattress, bedding, and the chairs. Selecting a good mattress is a serious matter, the quality of our sleep can depend on it. The pillows should be tough, but comfortable at the same time. The fabrics should be natural fabrics like cotton or linen for the bedroom.
• Declutter: Clutter can cause anxiety, discomfort, and it should have no place in your home. Try keeping your home organized and clutter-free all the time.
• Use the power of scent: Various scents can impact the brain in very specific and unique ways. Some of them are invigorating, others are soothing and calming. Some of them can actually bring back memories and truly alter our mood. It’s a simple wellness trick that still has enormous benefits on our mood and wellbeing.
• Manipulate light sources: There are numerous studies that emphasize that natural light improves productivity, alertness, mood, and overall psychological health. Dark and dingy spaces can affect our mood causing it to down spiral and so make us less productive. Blue light boosts vitality and energy, so it’s important during the day, but can actually be pretty harmful at night and totally disrupt our sleep cycles. So keep it out of your bedroom and use dim lights instead.
• Pay attention to colors: The power of colors is well-documented and can be factored into the interior design. There are some color trends that are more or les generally accepted neutrals and natural colors are said to be calming, red is stimulating, green is associated with calm and balance, yellow is energizing, blue is cooling, black is dramatic.
• The small, finishing touches: The things that transform a space into a home are the personal touches. And that’s true for improving the wellness aspects as well. Find what small things make you happy and calm when you look at them, and then fill your home with them. It could be some personal photographs, a white design bowl with fresh fruit on the kitchen counter or fresh flowers on my coffee table.