Interior Design for Health and Wellness
Coming from a nursing background, I've always been interested in the correlation between interior design and health and wellness. In the healthcare setting, the design focus is on indirect lighting fixtures, open and diffused natural light from numerous large windows, a quiet environment, and avoiding irritating stimuli. As this article explains, colors are planned to have the maximum impact for health and healing. Rich, earthen tones and raw materials create warmth; textural elements include a variety of living plants and exposure to nature. "The elements of design are chosen to mentally reinforce vitality and soothe anxiety."
When I changed careers to go into Interior Design, helping people live their best lives was still an important part of my life's mission.
"Dwell with Dignity designs and installs complete home interiors for families who desperately need an environment that will support health and wellness. We empower families to lead their best lives and to thrive in a safe, functional, and beautiful environment."
It was only natural to join Dwell with Dignity early in my design career. This organization focuses on design choices that support family health, healing and wellness, especially for kids. Here's some interesting research on design in home environments:
I had the pleasure of designing this home for a Dwell with Dignity family during my time with that organization.
Plants Make it Better
Research from TAMU shows that, "Keeping plants in a child’s learning environment enhances learning capabilities by helping them to focus and concentrate. This improves their ability to learn new things and makes it easier for them to absorb and retain information. Ornamental plants are conducive to generating a positive learning environment, reducing children’s tendency towards distraction and helping them to be better able concentrate on school work."
Following a Dwell with Dignity policy, I still encourage clients to add live plants throughout their home.
Natural Light Makes it Right
"A light-drenched room is a joy to behold, but did you know sunlight also reduces depression? Whether you get sunlight outdoors or through a window, sunlight is a mood lifter. In fact, more sunlight into rooms can boost happiness. A persistent lack of sun can trigger sadness or enhance anxiety. Sunlight also seems to energize and motivate humans at home and work." according to this article on from OSU.
I love leaving windows uncovered when possible or using light, airy curtains when privacy is necessary.
Organization Helps Everything
We've all heard Marie Kondo's advice on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Turns out, Marie is onto something. Clean, open homes with minimal clutter facilitate better moods. "Decluttering is the first step to creating spacious rooms and homes. Room layouts, furniture placement, storage solutions, and color schemes are significant contributors to a space that feels open and airy. One study identified...room organization [as] a major component of a peaceful, soothing home. Spaces that were easy to navigate and fostered social interaction reduced anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed."
Organization solutions are one of the most common problems I help clients solve. Here's one I'm working on right now, in fact. My client needs a folding table and more storage in her laundry room and has this existing nook that will work perfectly for that. And it will really help their family be more organized and less stressed!
Color is Key
Color is a powerful interior design tool that arguably has more impact on the mood of a room than any other factor. We know from studying color psychology, in both healhcare settings and in our homes, "Unconscious or otherwise, color can evoke emotions, inspire reactions, and change modes of thinking. It can excite or soothe your mood, raise or lower your blood pressure, and even whet your appetite! Whether it’s innate or learned, it’s undeniable that color has a vital impact on how we go about our lives."
The two powder baths pictured above are terrific examples of how very differently we instantly perceive similar rooms based simply on color.
Pink helps restore bone tissues, relieve stress and fatigue and helps with insomnia. It is refreshing and associated with calm, joy, nurturing, healing and tranquility.
Black creates an atmosphere of luxury . An excess of this color can be depressing, but when used in balance, it adds calmness, sophistication, elegance and cozy ambiance.
I was inspired to write this blog when I saw a similar LinkedIn article by my former employer, Dwell with Dignity, and was reminded of how vitally important Interior Design is, especially for those recovering from trauma and building new, healthy lives.
For the amazing work this organization does using Interior Design to improve the health and wellness of families all over Dallas, please consider donating to this worthy cause and/or attending their upcoming Thrift Studio! It's a great chance to score cool designer items for your home while helping families in need.
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Full disclosure here: I have this blog and my online store. I only share things I really dig. Well, some of the links you click are likely what’s known as “affiliate links”. So if you do buy something you love via the links, I'll probably earn a few bucks, at no additional cost to you. Win-win.