Try these wellness design tips for making you and your home healthier.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
While there are abundant ways you can improve air quality, reduce chemicals and create a peaceful environment at home, here you’ll find some foundational, low-tech options for updating your home for better well-being.
Wellness tips for kitchens
It’s no secret that eating well is a huge part of maintaining overall wellness. Your kitchen’s layout and features can set you up for success by encouraging smart habits and making cooking easier. Balanced Home, Balanced Life puts huge emphasis on functional counterspace for a well kitchen. Having adequate workspace that is near both the sink and the stove can make meal prep simpler, while a second open section of counterspace for a chef to also lend a hand makes healthy cooking a family activity. And while it’s not for everyone, if you’re a frequent juice- or smoothie-maker, you’ll appreciate having a designated station that makes all that effort, effortless.
Wellness tips for bathrooms
The kitchen doesn’t have a monopoly on the need for great ventilation. Obviously, moisture in the bathroom is a major issue. Without proper ventilation, mold and mildew may begin to grow, which is yet another threat to indoor air quality. One interior designer featured in Houzz turned to ventilation to reduce slipping hazards in her bathroom. With a marble floor, it was important to remove moisture quickly for better barefoot traction.
If it’s chemicals that have you concerned, BuilderOnline.com has a helpful guide to healthy building materials that emit minimal toxins. In the bathroom, you want to pay special attention to plumbing and things like caulking and sealant. Many metal and plastic pipes can leach chemicals into your water, so Builder suggests polypropylene pipes. Use solvent-free silicon caulk for damp areas like around sinks and tubs.
Zero-threshold showers are increasingly popular to those in the wellness real estate market. Again, it’s about reducing the risk of tripping, regardless of whether or not you plan to age in place.
Wellness tips for bedrooms
Are you getting enough sleep? Most of us aren’t, but a wellness-focused bedroom can help change that. Create an environment that promotes ZZZs by controlling light and sound. If noise coming through the walls keeps you up at night – a noisy neighbor or night owl family members on a different schedule – you have tons of options. Hang a sound cloud from the ceiling, install noise-dampening paneling on the walls, seal gaps around your bedroom door, hang soundproof wallpaper, upgrade your windows or all of the above. A white noise machine might also help.
Light, either too much of it or the wrong kind, can interrupt your sleep cycle. We rely on lighting to cue us when it’s time to wake up and focus and when it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. The low-tech way to help you feel more rested is to install blackout curtains. These can sometimes also dampen disruptive outdoor noise. For something more technologically advanced, consider adjustable color temperature lighting, which mimics the light our circadian rhythm needs to stay in tune.
Good air quality is needed to get the full restorative benefits of sleep. Eliminate potential toxins in the bedroom by choosing natural materials. Furniture made with particleboard is one culprit. Your flooring might be another. “Healthy” flooring could be made of linoleum, natural wood or cork. The glue used in engineered wood can leak formaldehyde into the room. Whatever you select, make sure it’s free of harmful chemicals and easy to clean. Older mattresses are often guilty of containing chemicals as well. The intention was good – it’s often for flame-retardant purposes – but they can be harmful nonetheless.
Wellness tips for living rooms
Because we spend so much time in our living rooms, lighting can be especially important here, too. This is a great place to take advantage of natural light offered by large picture windows. Regardless of the size of your windows, however, make sure they’re are operable. The EPA reports that, in most areas, our air quality is two to five times worse indoors than out. Having windows that open allow you to let the fresh breeze in, swapping stale, toxic air for something cleaner and more healthful.
Wellness tips for entryways
The easiest way to keep your home clean and healthy is by not tracking in dirt and germs in the first place. Many experts are predicting a surge in entryways and mudrooms following the COVID-19 pandemic. By having a designated space to remove shoes, wash your hands or disinfect sporting equipment, for example, you can better control the spread of illness. A health-promoting entryway might include a bench where family and guests can easily remove and store shoes and a sink in a mudroom to wash hands. Some designers are advocating for closed foyers instead of open plans as a containment measure as well.
Wellness tips for special-purpose rooms
In-home gyms, whether it’s simply a room with a treadmill and a yoga mat or something grander with a climbing wall, gain top priority in true wellness-focused houses. To take full advantage in your own home, put your workout space front and center. This will help you beat the “out of sight, out of mind” trap we fall into when we hide our equipment in the basement. Where you pursue your fitness should be easy to get to and enjoyable to use, not dank and dungeon-like.
This last room is whatever you choose to make it. In a world that is full of stimuli and non-stop changes, two things that often make us feel anxious, our well-being relies on us having a relaxing retreat. This might be your own personal yoga studio or meditation space. It could be a hobby room, garden, balcony, spa-style bathroom or reading nook. Wherever your center of calm is, try to keep it free of technology and unwanted distractions. Décor doesn’t have to be minimal. Instead, center it around things that make you happy and peaceful. And finally, make sure it’s outfitted with everything you need to create that restful environment. If it’s a sewing room, for example, invest in a sturdy table that won’t vibrate constantly while running your machine. Add storage so you don’t have to go hunting for fabric and supplies every time you want to start a project. The convenience will pay off.
While wellness design is a hot topic for new builds, your existing home can easily be transformed to fit your needs. With a little creativity and a bit of elbow grease, a healthier family is just around the corner. There’s more inspiration for making your home perfect for your lifestyle at the Schlage blog and on Pinterest.