29 Jan Sibylle’s top tips on improving your well-being at home
We asked Newcastle based Interior Designer, Sibylle Clerey of SC Interiors, for her advice on how we can boost our well-being at home through improving our interior design choices and she shared some of her top tips…
As an interior designer, I always try and expand my knowledge about interiors and I wanted to share my thoughts on how to improve your well-being at home; particularly now during lockdown when so much of our time is being spent at home. Why not take this opportunity to make a few improvements to your surroundings? I am fascinated by biophilic design and how it can improve health, well-being and productivity but also help minimise Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
The biophilic design concept
You may be wondering what the concept of Biophilia is. It is our innate connection to nature and the natural world. Biophilic design builds on this connection and aims to unite occupants with nature, natural elements and processes.
Why is this concept relevant today?
The World Health Organisation has warned us of the potential negative mental health impact of the pandemic. Things such as loneliness, depression and self-harm behaviour are rising. With people spending most of their time at home for a staggering length of time now, it can feel very difficult to improve your well-being. Incorporating natural elements into your home is a simple way to address this problem and has been shown to reduce stress, blood and pressure levels whilst increasing productivity and self-reported rates of well-being. It is a concept that has been widely adopted by the world’s top organisations such as Apple, Google and Amazon who are investing millions in biophilic design.
How can you incorporate Biophilia into your home?
- Breathe fresh air. Open your windows wide now and then to lift your mood and improve your immune system.
- Use natural lighting. Try and maximise natural light by removing any furniture, or soft furnishings that may block sunlight from entering your home.
- Add plants. Green is known to be the most relaxing colour! It boosts your energy levels and helps clear your mind. You don’t need to have green fingers, just browse the internet to see what plants would best suit your home. Look out for plants with air purifying qualities such as : dragon trees, bamboo palms, rubber plants, spider plants and more. These will help to remove toxins and lift your mood.
- Incorporate natural materials. Use as many organic materials as you can such as wood, bamboo, rattan and stone in your home. These can be integrated through your furniture, flooring, kitchen worktops and home décor.
- Embrace the shapes, colours and patterns of nature. The goal is to get the natural cosiness and feel through the use of curved furniture, cushions with different patterns and the right theme using bold, natural colours.
- Listen to the sound of water. The peaceful sound of flowing water creates a soothing atmosphere for our mind.
A key part of biophilic design is striking a balance between emphasising the openness of a space. Bringing natural lighting into your home is important, as is adding materials and colours inspired by nature. Embracing natural elements such as wood, plants and incorporating curved shape will add a sense of calm and cosiness to your home and improve your well-being.
Minimising Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is another way to improve your home environment.
Have you ever smelt the strong odour coming out of a can of paint when repainting your bedroom walls? Or felt nauseous after smelling the fumes whilst filling your car with fuel? Well, these are both examples of VOCs; which are toxic fumes that can cause short-term eye, nose or throat irritation as well as respiratory problems. These chemicals can be ten times more harmful to your health when indoors and are especially harmful to people with asthma. Long-term exposure to these compounds can be damaging to the kidneys, liver or central nervous system. Some studies have shown that VOCs may even cause cancer.
You can find these organic compounds, at different toxicity levels, in many building and textile materials, home care products such as cleaning supplies but also in paint, furniture polish, glue, detergents, wallpaper or even carpeting.
How can you reduce VOCs in your home?
There are many ways of reducing the exposure to VOCs, here are a few:
- Pick paints, varnishes and furniture with low VOCs level.
- If possible, unpack and store building and furnishing materials in a ventilated garage or unused, ventilated space for a few weeks before bringing them into your home. That will allow time for gases to be emitted elsewhere.
- Use cleaners, solvents and paints immediately and do not store them in your home instead store them in a shed or areas with good ventilation.
- Clear out old or excess items that contain products with VOCS from home but do not throw them in your bin.
- Minimise the use of candles, incense or plug-in aerosol deodorizers.
- Regularly get some fresh air into your home by opening the windows or look at buying an air purifier.
I hope you found this article interesting. If you wish to design your new home or refurbish your long-time pad don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to help. From mood boards and spatial planning, to styling your entire home I have a very tailored approach with each of my clients.
We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.