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Want to Design a Healthy Home? Try Connecting to Nature!

Healthy Home Design Ideas

Taking your health and well-being in mind when designing a home is becoming increasingly imperative perhaps now more than ever. A healthy home nurtures your soul, allows you to connect with your family, and is a place of inspiration and rejuvenation.

Some Cool Healthy Home Design Ideas

When you live in a beautifully designed home that is created just for you, your environment will give back to you in ways you might never have considered. In fact, the design of health care, commercial and hospitality environments have long been focused on the benefits of health-focused design for quite some time. Why is commercial design so far ahead of residential design when it comes to healthy environments? Major companies want productivity and increased creativity and learned years ago that by providing a health-based environment they will increase both.

A recent study of 7,600 workers in 16 countries found that those who worked in spaces with green or other natural features reported a 15 percent higher level of wellbeing, 6 percent more productivity and 15 percent more creativity. Increasing productivity by 6 percent increases a company’s annual profit by $3,395 per employee every year. This fact alone is why companies like Apple, Amazon, Etsy and so many more are incorporating healthy design principles into the work environment.

This kind of design harmony is just now beginning to resonate even in residential designs. Homeowners are now happily exploring and adapting  Healthy Home Design Ideas. In many ways, we already intuitively know that being in nature helps to calm, re-energize and connect, but we are learning how our indoor environment can be manipulated to give us a similar experience to walking in the woods, all while sitting on our sofa.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing beats being in the natural environment, but that isn’t always possible. And when that isn’t possible, in comes Biophilic Design which, simply put, means to connect with nature. Whether that’s directly or indirectly has been shown to not matter. “It’s not just about bringing the outside in, it’s about making and strengthening a connection with many aspects of nature.” (Oliver Heath, Biophilic Designer).

Let me share some examples of how you can transform your own home to give you all of the health benefits (physical and emotional) made possible by a nature-driven design focus.

DIRECT BIOPHILIC EXPERIENCES

Light

If you’re lucky enough to live in a year-round warmer environment, creating outdoor rooms is the ultimate experience of biophilic design — taking the indoors out versus bringing the outdoors in! Not all of us are lucky enough to live in such temperate environments so bringing focus on natural light is always optimal, be it through a window, skylight or sun room. When natural light isn’t possible, consider using more reflective materials so that the little light a room receives will be amplified by the reflection on a mirror, shiny surface/wall, etc. A more extensive investment would be a small prefab unit on your property that is situated in a sunnier light both during winter and summer.

Water

Water is multisensory and can be used as white-noise to buffer unwanted sounds from the outside (traffic, etc.) as well as provide tranquility through sight, sound and touch. In your home design, it can be incorporated through spa-like bathrooms, music mimicking nature sounds, fountains, and aquariums. Outside you can accomplish this through wetlands, rain chains, waterfalls, streams, or rain gardens. People have a strong connection to water and when used, it can decrease stress and increase health, performance, and overall well-being.

Plants

Implement and explore Healthy Home Design Ideas with indoor plants. Bringing plants and vegetation to the exterior and interior spaces of your home provides a direct relationship to nature. This can be accomplished by the installation of abundant potted plants, adding green walls, fresh flowers, outdoor containers and gardens, etc. Plants have been proven to increase physical health, performance, and productivity and reduce stress. Plants also improve air quality inside the home. Their presence also increases the humidity, which could influence mucous membrane systems and filter the effects of airborne chemicals.

Fire

Adding natural element in the interior can help in experimenting with the latest Healthy Home Design Ideas. The natural element of fire provides color, warmth, and movement, all of which are appealing, pleasing and relaxing. Even a gas fireplace can mimic a real wood fire, without all of the pollutants.

Animals

While not always possible to feature indoors due to allergies and sensitivities, you could consider aquariums. You can accomplish even better results by featuring plants or animal feeders outside that attract birds and butterflies, and other wild creatures. Interaction with animals promotes interest, mental stimulation, pleasure, and relaxation.?

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INDIRECT BIOPHILIC EXPERIENCES

Light

If your home or a particular room doesn’t allow for natural light, especially here in the Pacific Northwest where Fall and Winter bring longer, darker days, there are ways to lighten up your space creatively. My number one tip is always to layer your lighting from the top down. A chandelier draws people into your space; table lamps are great for task lighting and make a room feel cozier; directed light from picture lighting or sconces creates visual interest and ambiance.

Color

Natural colors or ‘earth-tones’ are those that are commonly found in nature and are often subdued tones of brown, green, and blue. Brighter colors should only be used sparingly & one study found that red flowers on plants were found to be fatiguing and distracting to occupants.

Not to oversimplify how color can guide our emotions, but less saturated colors & ones that are in the cool family-like purple, blue, and green will make a space more peaceful and less anxiety-provoking. These colors provide a healing and calming influence and are generally stress-reducing. Warm colors like red, orange and yellow are exciting and can increase blood pressure.

Art

Images of nature have proven to be emotionally and intellectually satisfying and can be implemented through paintings, photographs, sculptures, murals, videos, etc.

Natural Materials

People prefer natural materials as they can be mentally stimulating. Natural materials are susceptible to the patina of time; this change invokes responses from people. These materials can be incorporated into homes through the use of wood and stone. Interior design can use natural fabrics, furnishings, and leather.

Adding textures like a natural wood grain is a stress reducer. It’s been proven to have the same effect as if you’re in nature. Consider bringing in wood barstools to an all-white kitchen, or installing a wood countertop instead of granite.

Shapes, Textures, Patterns & Visual Variety

Natural shapes and forms can be achieved in design through columns and nature-based patterns in rugs and fabrics. Including these different elements into spaces can change a static space into an intriguing and appealing complex area.

Natural design spaces and furnishings can include the use of repetitive, varied patterns that are seen in nature (fractals). Commonly used natural geometries are the honeycomb pattern and ripples found in water.

Seeing your favorite objects can boost your mood, support better problem-solving and enhance creative thinking. So, dust off your most meaningful objects, arrange them in evocative groupings and put them in a place where you and your guests can view them.

Space & Place

The experience of space and place uses spatial relationships to enhance well-being. This can be seen through the transition of spaces from the interior to the exterior via porches, decks, atriums and foyers. The ability to move comfortably between spaces provides a feeling of security and ease. The modern homes are making best use of available space. They utilize the available space to its optimal level to make home more organized.

Read More: benefit of being organized are booster.

Incorporating items with personal significance such as art, photographs or special objects – creates a sense of place in the home and tells a story both to those who live there as well as to visitors.

Sensory Perception

If you are remodeling your home and noise is an issue, consider purchasing double-paned glass windows. Covering your ceiling with rustic wood or soft material like wallpaper is another soundproofing measure. You could also consider window treatments made from thicker textiles like wool or walls upholstered in fabric.

Using the power of smell is one of the most simple and cost-effective mood boosting tips. Choosing the scent of sweet orange and layering in the aroma of vanilla is an anxiety reducer. The smell of jasmine has the same effect on people as prescription medications that reduce anxiety. And yogis have long known that the smell of incense reduces anxiety and depression. You can obtain any of these scents with candles or aromatherapy. Even a fresh bouquet of flowers in your bedroom or home office can provide a sense of joy and exhilaration.

A Little History About How Design & Health Merged For Me

I’ve practiced interior design for fifteen years. After graduation I thought I would go into healthcare design, but at the time that seemed a little stale and boring. Prior to my design career I was a massage therapist for twelve years, and during the last three years I was working with hospice patients, providing healing touch to those at the end of their life, some of whom had never received a massage in their entire lives. An elderly patient commented afterward & I feel like a contented cow. I’m assuming that was a great compliment since it took prodding from her daughter to even consider getting a massage. What I did learn was how important place is in our lives, whether we’re actively living or saying goodbye. All of our senses: smell, touch, sight, hearing are heightened and calmed when we are in a beautiful, comfortable space. The impact of the space and things around us — color, light, air, scents and touch are always taking in information and reminding us of how we feel in any given moment.

I believe we all know innately that nature has the power to heal, strengthen and renew us, but how we achieve that in our own homes might be less understood. I hope that this article has shed some light on a few simple ways you can effect changes to your living environment and create a healthy home for all who inhabit it.

Melinda Slater

Melinda Slater

Interior Designer
www.slaterinteriors.com

about

Melinda Slater

Melinda is the Principal Interior Designer and Owner of Slater Interiors in Mill Creek, Washington. She specializes in helping clients fall in love with the home they already have, as well as helping boutique businesses bring that extra personal touch to the office, employees, and their clients.

Through her interior architectural space planning and design work, she helps clients discover the potential hiding in their home and work – no matter how cramped, outdated, or non-functional it may feel right now. With a combination of values-driven creative thinking, collaborative planning, and an emphasis on sustainability, she can help transform any space into a sanctuary.

She doesn’t believe in a magic design bullet or quick fixes. What she does believe in is listening, learning, and encouraging her clients to dream big!

With 15 years in the industry, Melinda knows what’s possible for your home and can help you see it too.

Melinda has an AA in Interior Design from Bellevue College. Prior to becoming an interior designer, she worked as a licensed massage therapist for 12 years, the last two years focused on helping hospice patients find comfort and relaxation through touch. It was through this work with people at the end of their lives that Melinda became focused on the importance of the environment we live in and the need to be surrounded by beauty and inspiration as we live – and as we die. She has taken this philosophy and approaches every project with it in mind – working with clients to build a home that is representative of who they are and how they want to express themselves.

Melinda grew up on a small farm in Moscow, Idaho and her deep love of animals and the planet remains to this day. Her motto: ‘a girl can always dream!’

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