Interiors Column - February/March 22
Design For Wellbeing by Katherine Sorrell
Create an interiors scheme that adds to your overall comfort and contentment, with our tips to decorate for a happy, healthy home.
Add some house plants
Our brains respond positively to the signs of a healthy natural world, like house plants, and the mental positives that come from caring for and watching plants thrive. Looking out onto beautiful views is demonstrably good for us, as are artworks that realistically depict natural scenes.
Get the light right
Natural light is linked to increases in mood and cognitive performance. If renovating, consider enlarging windows, using glazed doors, or adding a skylight or French doors. Curtains or tall furniture should not block windows, and place mirrors where they can bounce light around.
Too-bright artificial light can interrupt our sleep/wake cycle, so perhaps use full-spectrum lights during the daytime and dim them to a warm light in the evening, triggering melatonin and helping you fall asleep.
Make sure your home smells and sounds good
Opening windows can be beneficial as can scents that make you feel positive. Use a natural wax candle or an electric diffuser, and try lemon for office work or studying, cinnamon or vanilla for creativity and lavender for relaxing. Soften tinny sounds with rugs, wall hangings and large-leaved plants, while quietly playing de-stressing nature sounds.
Blue is calming, green is stimulating, yellow is welcoming and red is stimulating. Green has been linked to enhanced performance, so is great for a home office.
De-clutter and display
Tidying up can reduce stress and anxiety, and the ideal is to have well-organised areas in which you display items meaningful to you. An ordered variation of colours and shapes is best. Curved shapes are linked to comfort, while straight lines indicate efficiency.
Be practical – and emotional
Our homes fulfil many different functions and it’s crucial that every corner of your home works hard doing what it’s meant to do, so good storage is key, as is an easy flow from room to room and the placing of furniture in convenient, practical ways. Where there are frustrations in carrying out day-to-day life, try to change them and you may find that your mood changes, too.
Finally, create spaces for socialising – with seating in an L-shape or a circle – and calm, quiet relaxation spaces, perhaps painted a darker colour, where you can feel safe, private and completely, peacefully, yourself.
1 Plants and natural materials make this a calming, welcoming space. Black & White 100% wool Beni Ourain rugs, from £395 (and made to order), Tate & Darby: 07961 112 324; tateanddarby.com.
2 Not too cluttered, not too sparse, this bedroom also uses soft colours and appealing textures. Denver white wooden double bed, £229.99, Furniture and Choice: 0333 015 0000; furniturechoice.co.uk.
3 Fashionable, but also tranquil: this living room uses texture and greenery to create an intriguing and inviting space. Olivia linen four-seater sofa, £2,629; Tamara velvet armchair, £1,738; Alpha floor lamp, £1,179; Arc coffee table, £699; all Pepper Sq: 020 8243 8559; peppersq.com.