Studio Mae specialise in wellness focussed design. Elevating a sense of calm through the use of sustainably sourced, non-toxic finishes and fittings
Interior designers Mima Romanic and Liz Linforth at Studio Mae have been transforming people’s homes and lives through wellness-focused design for many years. Here they discuss their key strategies for creating wellness in the home.
“Often, when we set ourselves goals to boost our wellness, we rarely look at making changes to our home. Our default is to ramp up our physical exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, and mind/body treatments. What we fail to recognise is that our home plays a huge part in our wellbeing. It can nurture our mental health and facilitate our lifestyle changes – or it can hinder our progress and risk our health with hidden toxins. Here are our top tips for improving wellness in the home through interior design.
Colour psychology: Colour can have a profound impact on our mood, emotion and wellbeing. Whilst different colours mean different things to different people, when it comes to interior design, you can choose a calming palette to aid sleep, brighter colours to encourage focus and soothing tones to promote relaxation.
With sleep playing such an important role in our physical and mental health, Studio Mae recommends neutral, cocooning colours in the bedroom inspired by nature and skin tones to help the mind and body wind down for deep, peaceful sleep.
Natural materials: From carpets and wall paint to stain resistant furniture, think twice before introducing these harmful chemicals into the house. Adhesives, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), flame retardants and phthalates are some of the more dangerous culprits and have been found to cause illness and disease in children and people of all ages.
Instead, source natural products for the interior décor, such as wool, clay plaster, non-toxic paint, organic linen, jute and naturally treated, sustainable wood. Not only will you avoid off-gassing and chemical odours, the natural look and feel of these materials promote wellness and a connection to nature
Circadian lighting: Lighting plays an important part in the finished look of any interior – but it also plays a critical role in human health. If you get the lighting right, day and night, your circadian rhythm will thank you by keeping your hormones and immune system running optimally.
Encourage as much natural light to enter the home through the day – especially for those working from home. In the bedroom, invest in black-out window treatments for better sleep if the sun sets late or the bedroom windows look out onto streetlights and traffic.
Healthy bed, healthy body: What are we breathing in while you sleep for seven hours a night? Have you ever considered the materials your mattress, bedding and linen are made of? For those suffering from headaches, allergies, stuffiness and trouble sleeping, the problem could lie in what they’re sleeping on.
Thankfully, there are now many organic mattresses and bedding easily available. We recommend choosing non-synthetic beds and avoiding traditional fire retardants and toxic fillings. Breathe more easily and naturally on chemical-free, sustainable materials. Look for natural latex and organic wool, cotton, and linen.
Acoustic comfort: While we’re dreaming of a sound night’s sleep, it’s time to tackle the noises in and outside the home. Introduce sound-absorbing materials into your décor for acoustic comfort. Continuous noise interruption has been shown to affect cardiovascular health, mental wellbeing, and cognitive functioning.
We suggest soft textiles and drapery in the bedroom to block out traffic noise and absorb high-pitched sounds in the home. Stay clear of hard surfaces like glass and concrete that amplify noise from walking, cooking or working. Introduce rugs, heavy curtains and wood to soften the sound instead.
Clutter-free chi: Energy (chi) needs to flow freely through the home. If the home is cluttered with poor space planning and storage that energy will become stuck and stagnant. There’s a reason why the ancient practice of feng shui focuses on the power of free-flowing chi for balance and serenity in our lives.
Whether you subscribe to those principles or not, being able to move easily around the home makes for a calmer, less-stressful existence. Your clients will be able to find things when they need them, move without bumping into furniture, plus light and air will travel seamlessly through their home.
The power of plants: Don’t underestimate the power of plants and nature in the home. Biophilic interior design is built on scientific research and evidence that shows how natural colours, materials and plants can boost health, recovery and mental wellbeing.
Plants naturally purify the air so consider where you can add greenery throughout the scheme. Incorporate wood tones and natural elements like water and stone too to bring the outside in. These ‘nods to nature’ reconnect us to the earth and nurture our mind, body and spirit for wellness.”