There are plenty of ways to set up a house for good air quality, whether it’s designing its spaces to create cross breezes or installing the latest in air purifiers. One approach the panel touted was living walls, which add a pleasing natural element while helping to purify the air.
This design by RE.DZINE includes a large living wall that serves multiple rooms.
Panelist Michael Peterson, a business coach for designers and founder of Visionary Design Marketing, helps his clients become experts on wellness in design.
Peterson offers scientific studies to back up the idea that design can promote wellness and healing. For example, he cited research published in The Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation that found that horticultural therapy lowered the blood pressure and heart rate of cardiac patients in a program at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. In other words, tending to gardens, houseplants and fresh flowers at home might promote wellness.
Incorporating plants into home design also is an element of biophilic design, whose principles establish links with nature to create healthy indoor environments. In addition to plants, the use of natural materials can help establish these links. In this bathroom by Searl Lamaster Howe Architects, knotty wood walls, a slate floor and views of the tree canopy lend a woodsy outdoor feeling indoors.
Panelist Lori Miller, founder of interior design firm LGC, has degrees in counseling and interior design, and she began her career as a mental health therapist. Her background in both disciplines has been beneficial in using psychology to choose colors that evoke a mood, as well as in easing navigation and enhancing comfort around the home for people with dementia.
Miller noted that biophilia isn’t just about living walls and natural materials, it’s also about evoking a favorite outdoor place — for example, creating a room with a beachy feel through artwork and the color and material palettes.
Creating easy access to inviting outdoor spaces is another way to promote wellness through design.
Using lighting to promote wellness means incorporating natural light and creating a pleasing ambiance with artificial light. Miller noted that today’s LED lighting options can change color in a way that helps change mood.
Panelist Charles Pavarini III’s firm, Pavarini Design, specializes in architectural interiors, custom furniture and lighting.He was on the board of directors of the Designers Lighting Forum of New York for 29 years and began his career in theater set design.
Pavarini noted that today’s controllable and adjustable light technologies can work with natural circadian rhythms. This results in a more productive day as well as a good night’s sleep. In the evening, amber light can promote calming down and quiet meditation.
In this design by James Patrick Walters, soft amber light from LED candles next to the bath promotes relaxation.
This key point includes creating floor and furniture plans that make it easy to flow through a space. In universal design, this means removing any obstacles, such as a rug that can be tripped over, and leaving enough space between furnishings for a wheelchair or walker to pass through.
This point also incorporates finding harmony and balance in our indoor spaces. Panelist Clodagh, who uses one name, focuses on the healing aspects of design, and she creates balance by utilizing the ancient principles of feng shui and considering how all five senses will experience the design. Clodagh’s wellness-in-design approach also incorporates the latest advances in chromotherapy, aromatherapy, sustainability and biophilia.
Comfort also means achieving an uncluttered feeling in a space. This doesn’t have to mean a strict minimalist style, but it does mean curating favorite books, knickknacks, photos and other mementos and maintaining a clean and airy feel by finding proper places for them.
Maintaining a comfortable temperature is another key element of promoting wellness in design. Technology can be a big help with this, whether it involves a smart thermostat or heated floors. Homes with a tight envelope also promote thermal comfort. Windows or doors that aren’t drafty allow for greater control over heating and cooling systems.
Acoustical comfort refers to finding a quiet refuge at home. While the average house may not have space for a dedicated meditation room, any place of respite will do. It can be as simple as a favorite reading chair in a bedroom.
Panelists also noted that music plays a part in acoustical comfort. One example is matching music to the mood you want to evoke while cooking. The soothing sound of water splashing in a fountain is another example of acoustical comfort.
Put work away. When it’s time for unwinding in the bedroom, put work away. This can mean locating a bedroom work area in a closet that can be closed off with curtains or a sliding door. If a desk is in the bedroom, put papers and electronic devices away when the workday is over.
In this space, seen here and in the previous photo, architect Wanda Ely tucked an office off the bedroom in a small separate area. Natural light, wood accents and a comfortable lounge chair promote wellness within the cozy space.
Think about scents. Engaging any of the five senses can affect mood. Adding pleasing scents such as fresh eucalyptus or lavender will enhance the way you experience your home.
How to Make Your Home Make You Feel Good
Think about the goal of feeling good as soon as you walk in your home.
Consider how you want your home to look, feel, smell and sound.
Remove, fix or put away things that are bothering you, particularly dust-collecting clutter.
Make small changes to enhance your mood — light a favorite candle; experiment with different furniture arrangements until it feels right; locate your desk under a window with a favorite view; place a speaker where you want to listen to your favorite music; pot a grocery store basil plant and put it in the kitchen; cozy up a place of respite with a throw blanket; change out a lightbulb that’s not warm enough; put your lights on dimmers.
The World Health Organization warned—again—on Feb. 28 that the virus that causes COVID-19 could soon reach most, if not all, countries around the world. So what will be the impact of this mounting crisis on the American real estate markets? Already, mortgage interest rates have fallen as investors take their money out of the stock market and put the cash into safer U.S. Treasury bonds. When bonds are strong, mortgage rates typically go down. While this is a short-term boon for buyers on a budget and sellers trying to drum up offers on their homes, a prolonged stock market plunge could put the brakes on home sales, especially in luxury markets. If the stock market continues its slide, that could help usher in a recession—and that could drag down the housing market by sidelining potential buyers, low rates or no. "People don't make big decisions in a vacuum, and buying a home is a big one," says realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale . "If the stock mar
What's a "wow!" exterior these days? Think bold, clean lines. Maybe a touch of stone. Graceful porch columns. These new house plans deliver head-turning style and modern open layouts. Sleek Metal Roof This bold design shows the modern side of Prairie style with its sleek and low-pitched metal roof and lots of windows. Double columns draw your eye to the entry porch. Inside, a great room flows into an island kitchen and open dining room for a modern feeling. A two-sided fireplace warms the great room and the rear porch. Upstairs, the master suite shows off a big shower, two sinks, and a walk-in closet. All three bedrooms enjoy easy access to the laundry room and media lounge. Four-Bedroom Farmhouse You’ll find all the modern must-haves inside this chic farmhouse. A large island anchors the kitchen, which overlooks both the great room and open dining area. Step out to the rear porch from these gathering rooms or from the relaxing master suite. Family-friendly
The pandemic has influenced so many areas of our lives these past few months. It’s not surprising that it’s also affecting the design of our homes. Let’s look at some of the biggest home design trends influenced by the pandemic. 5. The waning appeal of open floor plans. A growing complaint with the open floor plan: It’s noisy. As many people transitioned to remote work, a lack of barriers to buffer noise became a real problem. The open floor plan combines the kitchen and living space to form one big, open room. It isn’t exactly the best for privacy or concentration. Add in hardwood flooring, and sounds can really echo. But homeowners aren’t rushing to add walls just yet. Instead, they’re turning to privacy screens to section off areas, or they’re adding in large area rugs or artwork to help absorb noise. If the open floor plan really wanes in popularity, it will become apparent first in new-home construction and then in home remodeling. In new homes, we may start to see more pocket doo