I’ve always had a passion for interiors and styling, I think it was the years of watching my mam collecting wallpaper samples and pouring through the pages of various magazines. I can clearly remember the various design periods, each punctuating a portion of my childhood into chapters. Now that I’m grown and trying to carve out my own space/style to call home, I realise that my eye for detail has sharpened and I’m focusing more on not only what looks good but also what makes me feel good.
So It was fascinating listening to Heath discuss his thirteen principles to create a happy, healthier home: Social (social space, private spaces, community), Sensory (Biophilia, colour, light, sleep, acoustics, air quality) Sensible (Warmth & Bills, Storage, Work spaces, Security).
With general stress levels rising and our constant connection to the world due to smart phones, it’s no wonder Well Being is a hot topic, and where best to create a sanctuary than your home. Heath believes that when it comes to design it’s becoming less about personal taste and trends, and more about how the space can work for you, going beyond the surface level to create a sustainable and mindful home.
This insight couldn’t have come at a better time, as a soon to be home owner *fingers crossed* I’ve already started the mental checklist of must have items and the potential layout of our new flat and I can’t wait to put the below into practise.
Here in the UK new builds are designed to energy efficient, where as other countries such as Norway understand the importance of well being and there is even a ratio or window size per square metre as light has a huge effect on the brain.
According to the Circadian Rhythms (the effect of natural light on the body’s 24 hours clock) our mental and physical abilities are intrinsically linked to the light we are exposed to. For example if we are at our most efficient when the sun is high around 2.30pm then that is probably the artificial light you will find in an office where we spend our working day, as they try to extend our productivity (sucks right) and that lovely blue light from your screen in bed will totally mess with your ability to sleep, as it stops Melatonin being released which is your bodies natural sleeping drug.
I've always been super fussy when it comes to choosing rentals and I’m starting to understand why. My desire for natural light has made me turn down many a good space. So it makes sense to invest some time on your windows and lights, a black out blind will help prevent Felix waking at 5am in summer, or using a voile curtain can help diffuse the strong light coming in and bleaching your furnishings. For those who have a dark house use reflective paint or mirrors to bounce natural light into the home. Also it’s a great idea to invest in a variety of bulbs for different needs, warm low light for the bedroom to create a cosy space for sleep or flickering light to create a restorative mood.
Biophilia (meaning a love of nature) focuses on our attraction to nature, you know that sigh as you relax on a beach, listen to the sound of waves or walk through the countryside. This was the topic that had me the most intrigued and excited as I could instantly see how it could benefit our home. Biophilic Design takes the idea that nature is increasingly important to our health and well being and creates a human centred approach to how we use spaces in our home. Think bringing the outdoors in, using natural materials like wood or stone, adding plants and greenery, using various textures like a sheepskin rug and patterns replicating nature such as the Honesty Persimmon Roman blind.
In fact wooden bed frames have been found to reduce your blood pressure and about a year ago we switched our metal frame bed to a solid oak frame and I swear we sleep better for it!
Ever heard the phrase ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’, yep it’s not because of great food but the social space where we spend times with our loved ones. The Harvard Grant Study has found that the secret to a happy life is the formation of strong bonds with friends and family, and with the average family only spending 58 minutes socialising together each day, it’s even more important to focus on spaces that help connection. Whether it’s making a work/play space for the whole family to use, a kitchen dining area that brings everyone together, incidental seating spaces and cushions to create cosy corners or even getting to know your community/street/neighbours, all will have a positive impact.
Quick TipsIt’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day but after hearing how small change to your interior can dramatically improve your well being it seems silly not to invest in your home. Here are a list of quick tips that can easily help improve your design.
1. Position your sofa near the window to maximise your exposure to natural light .
2. Place sheepskin rug by bed to create mindful moments as you step from one surface to another.
3. Use thick curtains or blackout blinds to control light pollution in built up areas.
4. Turn off your phone and TV one hour before bed for a restful sleep and use low warm colour lights in the bedroom.
5. Add plants to the home such as ferns and ‘Mother-in-laws tongue to help oxygenate your rooms.
6. Defuse stressful moments by using clever storage and streamline your daily routine. Getting ready and leaving for the school run is one of the most stressful times in the family home, so instead make sure all your coat, shoes, school bag are in one place and stored in an easy to reach location.
7. Use colours to improve and promote positive emotions: Blues and Cyan for calm and relaxation, green for calm and creativity, yellow and orange for energy and happiness, red for concentration and excitement.
8. Layer up roller blinds and curtain to create a thermal layer and insulating your home.
It’s very exciting to hear that Oliver Heath has worked with Hillarys to create a new collection focusing on the elements of the thirteen principles to help you with your home. If you fancy a peek then head over here.