The Link Between Space & Wellness
Did you know that your home is one of the most important factors that impacts your overall mental and physical wellbeing?
September is Self-Care Month. And while we may think of self-care as the actions we take – meditation, yoga, warm bubble baths, etc. – the spaces around us can have an even more dramatic effect on our overall health. Which makes sense, because we spend so much time in our favourite spaces. You spend a few hours a week in yoga class…but your bedroom? You spend 60-70 hours or more in that space each week. So, it’s understandable that this room and all the other rooms in your home have a dramatic effect on your wellness.
The scientific community agrees. University of Wisconsin Psychologist Shilagh Mirgain has studied the effects of spaces on a person’s wellbeing, and has this to say about the topic: “Your home and work environment are an important influence on your sense of well-being, but they are often overlooked. These are the environments we spend the most time in, so it’s only natural they would have an impact on us.”
As a Vancouver Interior Designer, I spend nearly all my time thinking about healthy spaces. Spaces that can immediately lift the fog from your brain and the burden from your shoulders. And over my many years of designing, I’ve come across a series of key elements that make all the difference in the effect a space can have on the wellbeing of its occupant.
Curious to know what I’ve discovered? Let’s take a look at what goes into designing a healthy home.
“Your home and work environment are an important influence on your sense of well-being, but they are often overlooked. These are the environments we spend the most time in, so it’s only natural they would have an impact on us.”
Is It Right For You?
Have you ever noticed how many people seem to make the popular local coffee shop their home office? Of course you have! It’s impossible to walk in for a latte without seeing a flurry of fingers gracing the keys of laptops.
A certain percentage of people love the energy they get from the chaos of a coffee shop. It fuels their creativity and drives their work. Yet for as many people that fire up their computers each morning over a venti caramel macchiato, there are just as many people that would never consider the coffee shop a proper workspace. It’s too loud. It’s too hectic. There are too many distractions.
So, who is right in this situation? Both! The answer has nothing to do with the space itself; it’s all about how the space affects the individual person.
Designing your home is no different. While you may be tempted to follow trends from the latest design blogs and hip Instagram feeds, at the end of the day the most important decisions should not be tied to what’s “in” right now, but instead need to answer a single question: Am I designing a space that’s right for me?
Designing a space with your own interests and preferences in mind is the backbone of ensuring that your home will be a healthy place for you and your family.
“Ask yourself: am I designing a space that’s right for me?“
It should come as no surprise that furniture plays one of the biggest roles in setting the overall tone of a space. And when it comes to choosing pieces that’ll improve your sense of wellbeing, one of the biggest factors is comfort.
No matter how pretty a piece may be, if it’s awkward or uncomfortable to use, your brain will create a link between that space and being “unwelcoming”. Your goal should instead be to find pieces that make you, your family, and your guests feel totally relaxed and welcome. The kind of pieces where you can sit with friends and a glass of wine, and the hours just melt away.
Now, don’t feel like this means you’re restricted to overstuffed recliners and sectional couches. Thankfully, advancements in design and manufacturing have created a vast collection of furniture that is not only super comfortable and inviting, but looks beautiful too!