• Courtney Macoy

How Interior Design Impacts Health & Wellness (And What You Can Do About It!)

Interior design is not just about choosing pretty things. There aren’t many designers out there who would be successful if that was the only thing they considered when designing a space. There are other obvious considerations such as the client’s budget, if the selections will fit in the room, and the durability of the items, but something a little less obvious that needs to be considered is how the design will impact health and wellness. This is a broad concept and can include everything from physical safety (like making sure a client won’t hurt themselves on a sharp countertop corner) to how the colours and building materials make a person feel, both mentally and physically.

As you may have seen elsewhere on our blog, our mission is to create beautiful, feel-good homes. Feeling good in your home is ultimately the goal of good design. It’s a reflection of you and how you want to live. Your home should be your oasis and should bring you joy by providing what you need. Health and wellness aren’t just about doing hard things that we know are good for us- like exercising and choosing a side salad instead of fries- being healthy is also about doing things that support your mental health and make you happy! When it comes to your home, this means choosing accessories that speak to you, choosing colours that you love, and having a furniture layout that makes your space comfortable and functional.

We know that colour can greatly impact your mood, but it can also impact productivity and functionality. In your office space, you’d probably want colours that are energizing yet not anxiety-provoking, and in your bathroom, light and bright colours that allow you to see clearly when putting on your makeup. A room painted bright red may make many people feel anxious or agitated, while a soft blue will invoke more feelings of calm. Some people even feel happier and more relaxed when surrounded by neutral tones! Colour is also very personal. What makes you feel happy may bring back bad memories for someone else! Artwork is another great example of this. It can evoke an emotion, or transport you to another time or place, bringing back an old memory or providing feelings of hope for a better future.

Space planning is a very important aspect of interior design. It not only determines how you move and live within a space, but it also contributes to the visual appeal of the space, and whether you have a home for all of your items. Reducing clutter helps to ease stress and anxiety and make the space more functional. Coming up with creative solutions to your space-planning dilemmas can help to take some of the weight off your shoulders!

It’s also not a secret that a lot of chemicals are used in the products that make up our homes. These issues are gaining more attention, but navigating the complexities of how these chemicals interact and whether or not they’re actually safe has not gotten any easier. While going into detail about the variety of chemicals used in some products is beyond the scope of this blog post, we want to reassure you that these issues will be considered when designing your space. Avoiding unwanted and unnecessary chemicals in the home is no easy task. If you need any special considerations, do not hesitate to ask!

With all of that said, we don’t want interior design to overwhelm you. If you need help choosing something special for your home, or even the whole design concept for your space, let us know how we can help! In the meantime, here are some quick tips on things you can do to improve your health and wellness while putting together your space:

1. Choose a healthier and environmentally-friendly paint such as one that is water-based and is considered no-VOC. This reduces the strong paint smell and the chemicals that will off-gas into your home. A few paint lines to consider are Farrow & Ball Paints, Benjamin Moore Natura line, Pure & Original Paints, the Greenguard certified Sherwin-Williams paints, and Ecos Paints.

2. Avoid synthetic fragrances! Candles can be a great décor item, but look for ones made with 100% pure essential oils for the scent. If you use essential oils or would like to, diffusers are another item that can look beautiful! Many of them look like vases and you can hardly tell that it’s a diffuser. Phthalates are a well-known ingredient commonly used in synthetic fragrances. They have been linked to hormonal endocrine disruption and are best avoided! Many people experience headaches, skin rashes, or asthma symptoms from fragrances. And because fragrances are considered “proprietary information”, manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients that make up the fragrance (and there are thousands of possible chemicals!). Also choose candles made with soy wax or beeswax as these burn more cleanly, and don’t contribute to poor indoor air quality. Read more about phthalates here: https://www.madesafe.org/science/hazard-list/phthalates/

3. Using plants and greenery as décor has been a huge trend in design in recent years. With the increase of interest in gardening and non-toxic solutions, this trend won’t be going anywhere anytime soon! But using plants in your home is much more than a trend. It’s a timeless way to incorporate your personal style that stays with you from season to season. Plants help to purify and humidify the air, boost your mood, and provide a feeling of calm. They look great too!

4. If you’re concerned about your indoor air quality, investing in an air purifier may be right for you! You don’t have to sacrifice style, as many models look great too!

5. Reduce clutter by incorporating creative storage solutions and donating items you no longer want or need. Having a cluttered home can cause more stress and anxiety! Consider using furniture pieces that serve double-duty, such as a coffee table that lifts up and has storage space inside. Start with one space that tends to accumulate clutter and add some baskets, or a new piece of furniture that will provide what you need.

We love to help clients create a home that is not only pretty, but healthy too! If you would like us to incorporate any of these ideas into the design of your space, do not hesitate to ask! We’d be happy to choose some plants, organic bedding, add an air purifier, or anything else your heart desires!

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