My top 8 tips for how to approach holistic well-being in interior design
In my last blog post, I wrote about my top 5 interior design trends for 2023, and the greater good they have in common: interior designs that make us feel happier and healthier. In this blog, I’ll be delving a little deeper into 2023’s central interior design trend: holistic well-being. What is it? Why has it become so popular? And how can we design our homes with HW in mind?
So, why the interest in holistic well-being?
The world’s been mayhem these last three years so it's unsurprising we’re all looking for ways to improve our wellness. Eating right, getting enough sleep, practising mindfulness… these are holistic well-being resolutions for our day-to-day lives. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re becoming more and more aware of the role our surroundings play in how good we feel. We aren’t following interior trends that make a room look visually pleasing -and that alone- anymore, because the environments we choose to spend time in need to support our overall well-being too. It's becoming common knowledge that interior design can boost our mental health!
What is the meaning of holistic well-being? – generally speaking?
1. characterized by the belief that the parts of something are interconnected and can be explained only by reference to the whole.
1. the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.
We all aspire to have a sense of well-being. To feel happy and healthy, and function the best we can in our daily lives. But what is healthy? As the World Health Organisation defines it, health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Particularly in Western society, we associate health with our physical body, but since our mind and body are connected, one affects the other. Take, for example, stress. It’s scientifically proven that stress affects all systems of the body, causing physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pain, upset tummy, and emotional problems like depression and panic attacks. There’s not one without the other. So, to achieve a state of well-being, we need to take an all-round approach, looking after the whole rather than just individual aspects alone.
How does holistic well-being fit into interior design?
A holistic approach to well-being doesn’t start and stop with our bodies. Achieving health and happiness is reached through our immediate environment too. “Happy home, happy life” might sound like an empty phrase, but it’s been repeated a trillion times for a reason. Holistic design aims to support our physical, spiritual and mental well-being by focusing on creating a positive environment.
Decor considerations such as a positive colour palette, lighting and materials can all play a part in reaching wellness, as can practical considerations such as furniture placement and how well your home functions for you and flows with your lifestyle. When taking a holistic approach, all design aspects need to be considered as a whole. For example, colours, lights and textures should be carefully thought out so that they complement each other.
And with these understandings of design aesthetics as well as a focus on the happiness of the person whose space it is, we can achieve holistic well-being in interior design.
Okay, so enough of the WHYS. We all want to feel happier and healthier and more balanced at home. Now for my HOWS. Keep reading for my top tips on how to approach interiors with holistic well-being in mind.
8 tips for how to approach holistic well-being in interior design
1. Look to reflect you
The ultimate goal of holistic interior design is to enhance the health of your mind, body and soul. This is achieved through creating an environment that’s tailored to you as an individual: your lifestyle, needs and tastes. At the start of the design process, when you begin collecting pictures for inspo – rather than looking to what’s in at the moment, look for ideas that speak to YOU on a personal level. You want to make interior choices that will spark feelings of positivity. When we begin your project I encourage sharing ideas and images, and I’ll spend time to understand your personal style and what you need from your space.
2. Define the purpose of the space
Functional spaces aligned with the way you live your life in your home are holistic interiors. If your living space supports your everyday activities, then it improves your efficiency– making day-to-day life easier and therefore reducing stress. If your space doesn’t perform its function, it’ll quickly become a frustration. For example, you might not even notice that the light by your work desk is what’s causing your headache. You’ll carry on each day, clutching at the paracetamol, all the while it’s affecting your well-being. And all you really need to do is consider better lighting to work in! So, before approaching the aesthetics of a room, set a clear intention for your space. Think about how you’ll use it, what you want from it, and how you want it to make you feel.
3. Consider your room layout
The layout of a room is essential for functionality and practicality, but it can also change your perception of the space. When it comes to furniture placement, adopting feng shui principles is good practice. For example, arranging your bed diagonally to the door creates visual impact but also subconsciously makes us feel safer than if it were directly opposite. It’s also important to consider the flow of movement so that your environment is as easy to live in as possible and you aren’t met with barriers and annoying challenges as you go about your home.
4. Contain the clutter
If you haven’t heard of the Marie Kondo method yet, Google her. Read the book. Watch the Netflix series. And fold your underwear three ways... Keeping clutter and mess to a minimum will make you feel lighter, calmer and happier in your home. Recycle, give away and get rid of what you don’t need, don’t wear, don’t use, or even knew existed anymore. Then give your home a thorough cleaning. Adding intelligent storage systems will help keep clutter at bay, whilst allowing a freer flow of energy for you to enjoy your home more. I offer bespoke storage as part of my interior design service and my partner Paul is a dream carpenter. He can create pretty much anything we design for any space.
5. Choose colours wisely
Colour psychology is as fascinating as it sounds. The colours we surround ourselves with have a direct impact on not only our emotions and mood but our physiological responses and the way we act too. For example, the colour blue is associated with the feeling of calm. But physically this is true too, reducing both a person’s blood pressure and heartbeats per minute. Red, on the other hand, evokes fiery feelings like passion and anger, increasing our heart rate in the process. Of course, our individual reactions to colour vary. So, if hot pink sparks joy in you, paint those walls!
6. Incorporate Biophilic design
Embracing natural elements into your home interiors connects you to nature, which has huge benefits to our health, boosting positivity, creativity and focus. Indoor potted plants are an easy way to do this whilst improving the air quality in your home, but adding plants isn’t the only option. Choosing natural and sustainable materials like woods, cork, metals and stones, mimicking natural patterns like curves, waves and honeycomb, and adding sensory experiences like a water feature, will all make you feel closer to nature in your home and improve your well-being.
7. Consider air circulation and light
As much fresh air and natural light as possible are essentials for holistic interior design. But clever tech can also help. You want to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home and circulate the air as much as possible, through functional windows, air purifiers, aircon and fans. Natural light is easy on the eye and helps to maintain our natural circadian rhythm, so is always favourable during daylight hours. But the lighting we choose for our homes is so powerful in its effect on atmosphere and our experiences, so it’s really important to get right.
8. Create your own oasis
A home designed holistically should provide refuge and relief from the outside world. It incorporates all that you need to live your best life, where you feel encouraged to be the greatest version of yourself. This can be a combination of everything above, or (/and) you can go one step further and dedicate a space that supports whatever passion or hobby that helps you to unwind. Indulge yourself with a music corner with all your vinyl records, or a craft station to flick paint like Pollock… you could literally plant an oasis in your back garden, or create a mess-free sandalwood-smelling mediation area!
If you need help transforming your home to support your goals, health and well-being, I would love to be of service. Feel free to get in touch and let's start planning your happy place!