How to make a healthy and happy home
As we endeavor to stick to new year resolutions that will improve our wellbeing, designer Oliver Heath has popped up with a reminder that our quest should not be confined to going to the gym and swapping chocolate biscuits for fruit.
It’s equally important to consider the effect our homes are having on our health and happiness, according to Oliver, who says: “I’m much more concerned about the way the space makes me and my family feel than how it looks. For me, a happy home can be captured with a good mix of social spaces and improving our connection to nature.”
He has teamed up with blinds specialists Hillarys to come up with some helpful tips.
*Family time: A recent study from Harvard University suggested that the secret to human happiness was the formation of strong bonds with family and friends. So, for me this translates as creating spaces where people can come together, such as around a dinner table or on a cosy sofa.
*Create your happy space: Mine is at the dining table in our living room. Family life revolves around it. We sit and eat meals at it, my children do their homework at it, we draw, create, make and sit and play round it. The space is made up of other components that enrich the experience. It has comfortable chairs, a warming wood-burning stove nearby and plants dotted around. It’s framed by a calming reclaimed timber wall and offers views out to the garden. These are all aspects that help to create a desirable and happy space to be in.
*Nurture nature: Improving our connection to nature can help to reduce stress,improve air quality and boost energy levels. Plants are great for removing toxins. Houseplants are great for purifying air and should be dotted round the home.
*Let the light in: British homes often lack light, which is essential for wellbeing. Position furniture near windows, choose window dressings that give you the most amount of light during the day and bounce natural light with the help of mirrors. Control light in the summer with blackout blinds and curtains in the bedroom.
*Create multi-sensory spaces: Think about your dream bathroom; scents, fluffy towels and bubble baths. These things improve our relaxation state, so find ways of incorporating this experience in other spaces Soft materials and furnishings create a more sensual feel. Items such as felted wool cushions, thick sheepskin fleeces underfoot and heavy drapes at the window all add warmth and texture.
*Lighting: The blue light that from technology stimulates the brain. Introduce warmer light with colour changing LED light bulbs.
*Wood: The reason I use wood so much in my designs is that I take an evidence-based approach to my work and there’s an interesting set of studies that investigates using timber on walls,” he says. “What they demonstrate is that timber surfaces can help reduce heart rates and blood pressure levels and therefore creates a really relaxing and calm space that improves your sense of wellbeing.