My first blog post of 2020 is delving into a very topical subject which is close to my heart and that’s mental health. This is a huge subject matter everywhere you look at the minute: it’s discussed heavily on daytime shows, in the news and on social media. And all of us have probably been affected by mental health problems at some stage in our lives, or at the very least we have known someone who has. Which is why I’d like to discuss an increasing topic in the interior design industry of adopting a more holistic approach when designing a space, where health and wellness is given a pivotal role.
I’ve seen an increasing number of Interior Designers over the last number of years incorporating a strong ‘wellness’ design ethos into their brand, where they ensure an interior not only looks good and functions well but also meets the physical and emotional needs of their client. The days of dotting a few scented candles around a room and considering this a checked box under ‘relaxing’ are gone! Our pace of life has changed, our stressors are more complex and we’ve become much more socially conscious, which also means our built environment and living spaces need to nourish our bodies and minds in a completely different, more meaningful way.
Ugh! Sounds complex, right?! It doesn’t have to be and I’m going to show you how I created a living space that placed wellness and positivity right at its core. AND it doesn’t look like something from a kids TV show, with bright garish colours or an urban jungle with hanging plants in every corner of the room! It’s possible to create a ‘mindful’ space that still very much encapsulates contemporary design.
THE MOOD BOARD
I always love the opportunity to whip out a mood board, huh? This design started life as very much a nod to all things retro (but obviously I kept it classy – NO Lava lamps, sorry!), and then evolved into a space that was centred around health and well being. You see, we’re already hitting on one of the things you can do to incorporate a wellness design ethos and that’s to include vintage pieces. Anyway, let’s take a look at the concept:
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Let’s break this down: I’ve suggested a bubblegum colour palette with teal, tangerine, blush, light blue and grey. The teal colour is pivotal in this design especially from a health and wellness point of view because of its connections to nature (water, ocean) but it also represents balance and emotional stability. Obviously if you’re an Interior Designer you’ll be referencing aspects of colour psychology in your design when it comes to mindfulness, and my inclusion of tangerine was very intentional from a psychological standpoint. It’s warm, bright and cheery. It embraces positivity and I’m allllll for that. Word of warning, though! Just because it has positive connotations this doesn’t mean you slap tangerine on all of the walls. No, no! I’m going to be much more subtle than that. Plus, colour is so subjective too and you should always refer back to the brief and the needs of your client to ensure that they actually like the colours you’re suggesting.
We’ve got dollops of pattern in this design too because depending on the pattern, you can help to stimulate the senses (just like colour). Polka dots and botanical prints, especially flowers can be HUGE mood enhancers, so I’ve made pattern an important function in this room for this reason.
The plants are an obvious nod to Biophilic design, which isn’t a new concept but in the current ‘mindfulness’ climate and in the context of my design, plants are a must because of their connection to nature and the impact they can have on our physical health. I recommend checking out Oliver Heath, who is a well known proponent of the benefits of Biophilic design, if you’re interested in learning more.
Organic shapes are also a useful addition to a design scheme that centres on health and well being, which is why I’ve chosen the round light shade but I was mainly drawn to this because of its rattan material. Yep, natural materials are a biggie when implementing a design of this nature. It’s all to do with our connection to the natural world and feeling a sense of belonging.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT HOW THIS ‘MINDFUL’ SPACE COULD LOOK IN REALITY VIA THE POWER OF 3D VISUALISATION!
A considered space with an emphasis on health and well being – click the image to view full resolution
DANG, how amazing and uplifting is this space?! I’ve used a soft chalky grey on the walls for a calming and serene vibe, which is looking very bright because of the amount of natural light in this room. Natural light is fundamental to the design of a space that promotes health and well-being. There’s so much data and research available on the benefits of natural light (and being able to see the surrounding landscape) on mental health, so I made sure this room was receiving lots of light.
The rug was a risk, not gonna lie! But I feel it works well in this space for its cheery disposition and the fact that pattern is pretty much restricted to the rug, cushions and throw (and those glorious tiles!), that I felt it was worth including. The Art is another major player in the design of this space when it comes to injecting positivity and whilst the typography is very blatant, I absolutely adore it. It’s basically a mantra; an affirmation and heck, if it helps lift your spirits on tough days, then great. The same goes for the print of the empowering female. We can be greatly affected by strong, positive imagery and I think it’s so important to incorporate this in our living environments, where we can benefit from it on a daily basis.
The vintage chest of drawers and wall light fittings are supposed to be pre-loved in the context of this design. They are representative of being less wasteful and taking a more ethical approach to contemporary living, which reinforces a sense of belonging and contributing to a more sustainable environment. The chest of drawers has also been upcycled with new brass knobs and painted drawer fronts!
You can clearly see the plants dotted around this space, from a Snake plant (on top of the chest of drawers), to a Banana plant (to the right of the sofa) and a little Succulent perched on the shelf above the wood burning stove. Plants not only inject colour and texture into this space but they also represent life and a connection with the outside world.
And yes, I’ve recently witnessed first-hand the benefits of having plants in my home!
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I wanted to show that you can also adopt a strong ‘mindful’ design ethos but still implement minimal aesthetics. The makeshift fireplace is definitely clean and crisp which balances out the geometric tiles wonderfully. They’re an added mood enhancer that I feel work very well in this space without being too fussy or ‘in your face’.
A minimal fireplace is balanced with the use feature tiles – click the image to view full resolution
I’ve changed the clock for a more refined Starburst mirror, which adds a luxe injection, alongside the brass watering can and vase. Warmth is added via the wooden floor, the basket, rattan light shade and lush throw on the sofa. All of these different elements help to create a soothing, comforting space in which to relax and unwind.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my design! Are you an Interior Designer who practices ‘mindful’ design principles? I’d love to hear from you and learn more about your work and and possibly do a little Q&A on the blog! Leave a comment below or contact me to discuss further! Or maybe you know of Interior Designers who are creating amazing spaces within this genre? Let me know in the comments!
SHOP THE LOOK
Minimal Abstract Print, Society6;
Starburst Mirror, Dunelm;
Tall Vase with Motif, H&M;
Rattan Light Shade, Habitat;
Palm Tree Coral Cushion, Habitat;
Arrows Pale Blue Cushion, Habitat;
Typographic Print, Society6;
Power Print, Rockett St George;
Small Metal Tray, H&M;
BUY THE 3D MODELS USED IN THIS DESIGN
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4 responses on "Using Interior Design to Improve Health & Well Being"
Hi Anita, I think the space you have created is both calming and exciting – a tough gig to get right. Our homes are our sanctuary so must be designed and decorated with the person living there uppermost in our minds. I have clients who love calm and tonal, those who want ‘Hamptons’, others who want Scandi minimalism and then my maximalists who love a riot of colour and pattern. I interpret what my client loves in the most functional and stylish way to suit them. If you love your home and love being there, that’s a great support to some mental health issues, I’m sure. Great article. Great space. Cheers, Penelope
I really enjoyed reading about interior design for wellbeing – I believe this will be a growing discipline as mental health is an issue that is being talked about more and more. Our environment does give an emotional and physical response and plays a part in the way we feel.