We strive in many ways to make the places we call home a place for respite and rejuvenation, away from the chaos that can be everyday life. For this reason, wellness-focused design has become an important aspect to interior design & architecture. Wellness-focused design looks at the ways in which lighting, material selections, air and sound quality form a space. It often incorporates neutral colour palettes and biophilic design – that is connecting architecture and nature through greenery, organic forms, and outdoor-indoor space integration. The result? A beautiful space that can help reduce psychological and physiological stresses we encounter day to day.
Getting the right light…
In Canada, our cold winter months and endless periods of grey skies can weigh heavily on our disposition. Those days where the sun manages to break through the clouds and light up the outdoors is a quick shot of happiness and a reminder of warmer days ahead. For this reason, larger window sizes and strategic placements can ensure your home is filled with ample natural light. The benefit? Natural light helps reduce eye strain and helps our body regulate our circadian rhythm – the body’s way of shifting between alertness and sleep patterns. When planning for a new build, consider glazing southern exposures to capitalize on maximum sunlight.
INCORPORATING materials for wellness
The idea of material selections contributing to wellness is far simpler than you may think. Typically, sourcing materials that are closer to their natural state help create a design palette that reflects calm and authenticity. As an example, walnut flooring is used in our Woodland Ridge dining room along with a natural brass hearth, and tumbled brick to create an inviting dining experience. Some other natural materials you can incorporate are: marbles, grasscloths, copper, wools, and linens. By selecting natural materials, we choose elements that look and feel like the raw materials found in nature.
Now, some people may worry about maintenance and durability with these selections. The fact is, some of the authentic materials can be more durable than their imposter substitutions, and age better requiring less of a need to replace them long-term.
Blurring the Lines…
Just like our connection to light and natural materials, finding a way to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces strengthens our footing in calmness and wellness practices. According to agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] in the United States and Statistics Canada for us up North, Canadians and Americans alike are spendings nearly 95% of their time indoors. In a time when digital over stimulation is abundant, unplugging to recenter ourselves becomes more crucial to our personal well-being. Even for those who aren’t avid adventurers or outdoors-people, the sights and sounds of the outdoors can bring a great deal of peace and tranquility.
It’s because of this, finding ways to bring the outdoors in is crucial when considering wellness-focused designs. Allowing your interior spaces to spill into the outdoors when the warmer months allow, aids in better indoor air quality and the ability to have that desired indoor/outdoor living. Adding accessory structures, like cabanas or an In-law suite, are also great considerations to help expand your livable area beyond the walls of your own home.
controlling the v o l u m e
Being able to have acoustic privacy means having spaces that drown out the noise, allowing us to work, sleep, or just take a quiet moment for ourselves. Whether its dimmable lighting, adjusting the temperature, or in this instance…controlling sounds. In many of our projects, we look to incorporate elements like integrated sound systems, giving our clients the ability to play music or calming sounds anywhere in the house. We also like to consider panelling when possible. When incorporating wood panels, walls are further insulated from sound travel ensuring the space is serene and self-contained from noises outside or in the next room.
A space filled with natural light does the mind and body well. Picking materials as close to their natural state gives the space and you an authentic connection to nature, even when the outdoors is inaccessible. Whenever possible, blur the lines between inside and out; expand your views and don’t let the walls and windows of your homes limit you to enjoy any aspect of outdoor living. And lastly, acoustic control is peace of mind. Finding ways to quiet the noise or pump up the volume means having the ability to enjoy a social gathering with many or finding calm in a moment alone.
If you are interested in wellness-focused design or would like to know how else your home can be more wellness friendly, do not hesitate to reach out to the FrankFranco team for a consultation.