CONSCIOUS INTERIOR DESIGN
If you’re in the know when it comes to interior design, you’ve probably heard of a new approach being taken up at rapid speed – conscious design. At the heart of this approach is creating spaces scientifically designed to make you feel good, where colour, materials and lighting all play a specific role to improve your wellbeing.
For a long time, we’ve invested countless dollars and hours into improving our health and wellbeing through diet and exercise, but few people have focused on how their surroundings affect their state of mind. The home is so important because it’s where we start and end our days – if it’s not set up for success, then how are we meant to succeed?
As we’re all becoming more environmentally conscious, there’s been an increased appetite for conscious design, which is eco-friendly too, due to its use of sustainable furnishings and non-toxic finishes.
So, what is right/wrong with your current interior design at home? Here are a few clues to get you started…
The feeling of your spaces can be changed dramatically through clever use of colour and light. For example, the colour green can have powerful impact on mental perception, by promoting a love of nature, the space and people within it. From a psychological perspective, it is the great balancer of emotions, creating an equilibrium between the head and the heart. It might sound completely crackers, but it can actual strengthen the relationships humans have in the environment.
Light can have a powerful impact on our moods too – it has the power to alter our hormones, which can seriously affect our physical wellbeing and mental health. Too much exposure to the wrong light (especially blue light) suppresses the secretion of melatonin, which is essential for sleep.
Natural materials and elements throughout the home can help improve your wellbeing. We’re seeing more wood, plants and light throughout homes. Furniture and décor choices with meaning can also positively influence your mood – a furniture piece with a story or artwork from a local artist will make you feel good. Often these pieces are created with minimal impact on the environment too.
So how can you apply some of this design thinking to your home? Let’s consider a few of your spaces.
The easiest way to visually improve your kitchen is through colour – it makes it appear more spacious and inviting. It’s a good idea to paint the walls, skirting and trims the same colour. No breaks in paint colour visually opens up the space, creating an illusion of higher ceilings and a grander space. It’s also a good idea to keep your cabinetry a similar colour to your walls. No sharp contrasts, which create visual boundaries.
Timber flooring throughout the home is a much more sustainable choice – and also less toxic – than carpet. The process of manufacturing and installing carpet often means the release of VOC (volatile organic compounds) in your home long after the smell has gone. While timber is a concern environmentally with deforestation, you can make sure your timber hasn’t been illegally harvest, by looking for a seal of approval from either FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or AFS (Australian Forest Standard).
When you’re winding down for bed, your lights should be off or very dim. You may choose to light some beeswax candles even – unlike most other candles these are non-toxic. Reducing your exposure to light (phones included!) will help reduce your cortisol levels, which is the hormone that keeps you alert and energised.
Bring a little nature into your bathroom. For a true blue vibe, bring in some eucalyptus branches. The steam created from your showers will release essential oils from the leaves, creating a spa like experience at home. It’s great for your general health too. Eucalyptus is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, a decongestant and calming.
Use recycled materials in your landscape like broken concrete or salvaged metal, which can work as great permeable mulch in your garden beds. Look for drought-tolerant trees to plant and use a design layout that maximises sun exposure in the winter and shade in the summer.
The conscious design trend is growing, but one particular company that is just starting out is showing a lot of promise. Conscious Cribs is based in both London and Australia. They describe their style as barefoot luxury and their spaces are certainly designed for wellbeing. You can see their work at https://consciouscribs.com.