Design Help, Wellness and a Little Woo Woo

Your home is one of your most important assets. You need it to be not only attractive and comfortable but also, supportive of the healthy lifestyle you want to lead!

A bright, well-planned kitchen for prepping healthy meals; a bedroom designed as the perfect respite; a beautiful, comfy common area or two for reconnecting with yourself (and your loved ones!); inspiring spaces for your workouts; and color schemes that soothe and refresh you. Making your home ‘user friendly’ doesn’t mean you have to give up the aesthetics you want either. Quite the contrary! In fact, how your home looks is actually super important!




When Wellness and Design Collide

Maybe it’s a new concept to you but wellness design is an actual ‘thing’. You might say, Shiree’ I know what design and wellness are but what’s Wellness Design? Wellness Design is a fairly new concept that was first conceptualized by architects, designers and builders in an attempt to create building standards that protect you from the hazards of toxic building materials like asbestos and formaldehyde.

But there are other facets to Wellness Design too. Your home has the ability to elevate your mood, and energize or relax you but most importantly it can inspire you to live a healthier, happier, more balanced life at home. Unfortunately, if your home is dragging you under instead of supporting you, it can have the exact opposite effect. Let’s get you some real results post haste so you can get moving on your home today.

And my friend, I've got you covered in this week’s article.




Color

Color is a powerful design tool and one of the easiest ways to engender feelings or emotions in your home. But reaction to color is highly subjective and each color comes with its own attributes and/or stigmas attached. For instance, yellow can feel sunny and cheerful for some people and signify cowardice for others. Pink is a pretty, feminine color that some love and other’s find cloying.

When you create spaces with health and well-being in mind, choose cooling, restful colors like cool blues; soft lavenders; pale blue- greens; the palest blushes; and crisp, clean neutrals. Cool colors recede, meaning, like a hairline they “go back” so when your walls are painted in light, cool colors it visually increases the size of the room. It adds depth at the end of a room, hallway or garden path. To give your home a healthy feeling and visually enlarge your spaces, use light, cool colors with minimal color changes and minimal darkness to lightness contrasts meaning keep everything fairly light, even if the colors are different.




Common Areas

How your rooms flow; how you place furniture; how densely you furnish your home; the amount of natural light it has; the ceiling height; even the dimensions of the doors all add up to the overall feel of your home. A home that’s open with plenty of natural light, natural materials, healing colors and clean lines give your home, and thus, you the feeling of wellness and contentment. When each element is chosen within these perimeters the result will be a home that’s healing to your frayed psyche.

The goal is to create a home where you feel your best, most healthy self: organized, and on top of your game.

If your home needs a new floor plan, Chief Architect Room Planner is super easy to drag and drop and helps you easily visualize your furniture or remodel in 3D. For bigger jobs we use a Chief Architect rendering program. Your furniture layouts should be kept simple and straight forward. Nothing should be put on angles. Not rugs. Not sofas. Not fireplaces. Not kitchen islands.

Start placing furniture first with a large scaled piece like a large cabinet, at least 72 inches wide if you can. This acts as storage for entertainment equipment and also as an excellent visual anchor for the rest of the room. Having an 'anchor’ piece (like a cabinet or fireplace) as I like to call them, and knowing where to place them will later simplify building the rest of your layout around it. I also prefer to plan the living room around an entrance facing sofa whenever possible.

Next identify any door-to-door traffic patterns (most living rooms have more than one doorway). Always keep traffic patterns clear of furniture and cords. Remember don’t get creative with furniture layouts. Save the creativity for your furniture styles, fabrics, rugs and accessories.

Choose sofas under 90 inches for small rooms. For large rooms, choose sofas 90 inches and over. Sofa tables and end tables are cumbersome and “busy” next to the sofa. Instead, use the cocktail table as a place to set drinks and save the end tables for between chairs. If lamps are needed next to the sofa use beautiful, swing arm lamps. They come in a variety of metals like shiny nickel and brushed brass.

Too much furniture is just as disconcerting as too little. Too much looks silly and too little feels impersonal. For the average size living room you need a 110 inch sectional or one to two 90 inch sofas, two 34 inch armchairs, two wood framed accent chairs, one cocktail table, and one to two end tables for between the armchairs. I like to do two armchairs and two open wood framed accent chairs in large living rooms.




Materials

Building and remodeling with natural materials throughout your home respects your health and allows you to feel your best when there. Ever been in a room that feels noxious? The wrong flooring or paint will do that. Natural solid, hardwood flooring is one of cleanest and safest options with few caveats. There are many green options for finishing or staining the wood, and a few less toxic glue options for sensitive types. Other great “wellness minded” flooring choices are tile and natural stone, though they are hard surfaces to stand on. Bamboo and some linoleum and some carpet options are more comfortable options but not as ecofriendly.




The Wellness Home at a Glance

Soothing colors and comforting textures

Supports healthier eating habits

Provides space for exercise and down time

Nature via enlarged window space

Fresh flowers and plants in the home

Features for a better night’s sleep like room darkening curtains

Better air quality and ventilation

Non-toxic building materials such as bamboo flooring, low voc paint and wool carpet

Supportive spaces for child and adult care such as assisted bathing, dressing and feeding

Water filtration systems

Luxury bath designs and features

Accessibility/having certain items within reach in the kitchen

Functionality such as space planning, rocker style light switches, lever doorknobs, touchless kitchen faucets or single-handed faucets

Safety such as textured flooring and even, consistent flooring transitions

Bringing joy home via mementos from travels, heirlooms, gifts from loved ones, artwork, books and things you personally find to be beautiful and useful

Kitchen amenities like pull out drawers or hydraulic pop-up drawers to keep counter appliances out of sight, walk in pantries, and swing out corner cabinets; stream lined or low-profile cabinet and appliance fronts

Zones for specific tasks and number of cooks

Smart refrigerators with built in family hubs; food inventory capability; smart faucets that automatically gauge water temperature

Anti-bacterial surfaces like quartz counter tops. Wood and many stone counters harbor bacteria, germs, fungus and mold



That’s it for today! And if you would like to learn how to create inviting retreats in your home; create spaces for exercise so you have more options (and stop missing those workouts!); and get all my basic how to's on kitchens, work zones and techy kitchen stuff then download this free workbook The Wellness Home, 5 Ways to a Soothing, Supportive Home for Women with Arthritis and Chronic Pain today!

Bye for now, Shiree

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