Good interior design is not only about beauty and function, but also about health. Today, we spend most of our time indoors, which makes a healthy interior more important that ever. While the aesthetics of a space does contribute to a better mood (thus better health), how else can you promote healthy living through interior design? Here are some hints.
1. Green plants and living green walls
We all know that green plants are a key ingredient in interior design, and that they can single-handedly change the look and ambiance of a space. They appeal to our instinctive perception of green plants as a suggestion of abundance and shelter. They reduce stress, make people feel happier and more productive, and are an excellent surrogate for the time spent in nature.
But their benefits go beyond looks and relaxing abilities. The typical modern space exposes us to harmful air pollutants and toxins such as carbon monoxide, VOCs, formaldehyde or benzene. Plants have the fortunate ability to clean the air and release oxygen instead. Even the soil microorganisms present in the pots contribute to the quality of the air. Boston ferns, golden photos or philodendrons are excellent candidates for indoor cleaning.
It is only natural that larger plants – or a larger number of plants – increase the air scrubbing effect. This is where living green walls come into play. These are not only extremely appealing as decor elements, but allow you to use more plants while saving space – and often your budget.
Sim Sim Shawarma restaurant by Mindful Design Consulting
We have often talked about how different colors create different emotional responses. That is why they should always be appropriate to the function of the space. The wrong color in the wrong space can sabotage the purpose of the room and create the opposite emotional response.
For instance, a room entirely painted in red – a stimulating color – can exhaust the eye. Combined with black, red can evoke dark feelings. This is not a god combination for a space designed for self-introspection or relaxation. On the other hand, using green in a working environment may have the undesired effect of relaxing the employees, so green should be combined with other bright colors when energy and productivity are the goal.
The idea is to avoid creating unnecessary conflicts between what the space users feel and what they should feel. Whether you intend to inspire, relax or comfort them, there is always a right and a wrong color combination. For more details, check our guide to choosing colors.
Designer: Eastlake Studio. Photo via officesnapshots.com
3. Comfortable furniture
Choosing ergonomic office chairs when designing a working space is just one example of promoting healthy living through interior design. However, you should be concerned with more than just this aspect when choosing your furniture.
The type of behavior that you expect within the space may give you some hints. For example, when hit, laminate can crack and become sharp. In an environment designed for children, this can be problematic. So are pieces of furniture that have sharp corners or easy-to-remove screws. For a space where you want people to linger, upholstered seating and backrests may be your best bet.
Consider the color, shape, weight and material of your furniture to create the reaction that you are looking for. Choose warm colors and soft fabrics to get the space a cozy, familiar feel. Avoid weighty pieces when designing a space with clean, young and energizing vibes.
4. Lighting and sunlight
Human beings have a physiological response to light. Made to respond to blue light during the day and to little or no light at night, they are facing exactly the opposite situation in our modern society. Trapped in an office during the day and spending the night flooded by artificial light (including electronic devices), human bodies are confused. Their circadian rhythm is disrupted and disease follows – from depression to cancer.
Interior design can help minimize these effects. Maximizing daylight, using skylights, creating outdoor areas, and integrating electric light with daylight are a few ways to do it. Roller blinds, if necessary for privacy, allow more light to come in. Using LED lighting that adjust during the day so that it mimics the intensity of daylight is a good compromise when the placement or structure of the building does not allow for the real thing.
Interior design should not only be about performance. While, for instance, using textiles that are fire-retardant, antimicrobial or stain-resistant is appealing, every effort towards minimizing the amount of harmful chemicals is a step towards a healthier life. Embracing cleaner, safer materials in another way of protecting healthy living through interior design.
This may mean using low-odor wall paint and water-based stains, or choosing no-formaldehyde and no-adhesive wood furniture. Wool, cotton or hemp rugs are good alternatives to chemical-laden carpets. Stone countertops are a natural option, and ceramic walls reduce the need for paint – and so do cork or wood wall finishes. Cork, tile or cement are good choices for flooring, too. New products appear on the market every day, so being up to date with what happens in the industry is essential.
Photo via kaza.com
If you are thinking to open a new business or are in the process of rebranding and remodeling your existing business, contact us to get a free consultation from Mindful Design Consulting. Click HERE to price your project design.
Also, take a look at “Branding By Interior” e-book, the only book written on this subject at this time. It brings insight on how you can turn your business into a market-dominating competitor by using human cognitive responses.