Guest Post | The Aesthetics of Health: The Link Between Design & Well Being

This a first for Live a Little, something that I have not yet done before. I am so excited to share with you my first ever guest post written by Chloe Taylor.. 

Have you ever asked yourself why some places make you feel good, while some rooms you just can’t wait to leave? The ties between design and health go much deeper than plain aesthetics: different colors, patterns, light, materials, and shapes trigger different physical, cognitive, and emotional responses. 21st century office ergonomics rest on this premise, and the link between design and wellbeing is also the driving engine behind innovations in the world of home décor. Based on numerous research and my own experience as an interior designer, home aesthetics impact wellbeing in multiple ways – and here are the top four design features which you should bear in mind when updating your interiors with good health in mind.

1. The green light of wellbeing designs

Light is one of the most critical aspects of habitable space, as it is a factor behind the visual and stylistic flow – but that’s not all it does. Sunlight is the healthiest luminosity source, and studies show that buildings that get abundant sunshine throughout the day have a beneficial effect on occupants’ psychological and physiological wellbeing.

Natural light can alleviate depression, keep premature bone loss and cancer development at bay, and increase performance and engagement at work. During my career, I learnt that eco-lighting such as LEDs and CFLs also impact wellbeing, resulting in fewer health problems than conventional bulbs, including lower headache, eyestrain, and fatigue frequency. For this reason, I always suggest to my clients give a green light to both your own health and the planet and opt for energy-efficient over standard lights in their homes and offices.

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2. Paint your health the right colors

Colours are the main feature of every décor, and they are another aspect of interior design that can make or break long-term health. For this reason, aesthetically pleasing interiors feature a balanced color palette structured around natural colors, while intense contrasts are employed sparingly to minimize visual stress.

Scandinavian designers are well acquainted with the power of colors: pastels, earthy tones, and neutrals boost the aesthetic appeal and they also have a gentle, soothing effect on cognitive and emotional wellbeing. Intense shades, on the other hand, stimulate the nervous system and are therefore often used in areas where dynamics, alertness, and energy are required. In my design projects, I aim to achieve a stylistic unity of toned-down hues and strong, and I usually resort to bright colors only as accents to increase visual interest.

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3. Living in tune with Mother Nature

Another design feature that has a hand in human wellbeing, houseplants and organic elements add a dose of both aesthetic and literal freshness to décor. An unsoiled expression of natural beauty, indoor plants fight air pollution, boost mood, serenity, and self-esteem, reduce anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression, promote stability, memory, focus, and sense of control.

In addition to its air purification and aesthetic properties, indoor foliage also doubles as energy stabilizer. In Feng Shui, houseplants such as bamboo, pothos, and orchids can help balance out energetic dissonances, harmonize relationships, promote energy flow, and cleanse negativity accumulated in solid materials. I often use indoor plants based on their energy properties so as to maximize the benefits for occupants’ physical, mental, and emotional health. To achieve energy stability and a fresh sparkle, add bamboo or lady palms, draecena, English ivy, or rubber plants to your interiors.

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4. Sustainable designs for sustainable health

According to David Barrett Douglass, sustainable construction materials impact aesthetic value of interior design and wellbeing. During projects centered on sustainable design, I noticed that people tend to be less stressed when surrounded by natural elements compared to those who live in homes outfitted with equally beautiful artificial décor elements.

Buildings made from low-impact materials and furnished with pieces crafted from natural stone, wood, and clay have a soothing effect on energy flow and create a sense of aesthetic harmony more than their manmade counterparts. As Janine Bjornson says, upon entering a building made from and furnished with eco-friendly materials, the human body hits a deep energy undertone usually experienced in natural settings only. Swapping a synthetic over a  chic natural fibre rug is therefore a good start in greenifying your décor: replacing a manmade carpet with a sustainable alternative can dial up your home style, and your health as well.

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Interior design isn’t just about aesthetics: carefully thought-out décors impact psychological and physical wellbeing. The next time you decide to renovate your interiors, pause for a second and reflect on the vibes you’re picking up from different design elements: you may be surprised just how huge a difference lighting, color, materials, and organic details can make.

Written by Chloe Taylor for Live a Little. She is an art historian, social media lover and a young blogger.

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