Top 5 tips for creating a healthier, happier and more sustainable home
I initially started Intelier Interiors out of frustration with the way designers often created ‘cookie cut’ solutions for their clients. As my business grew, so did my interest in holistic interior design and the need to make more considered choices for the environment.
I now work with clients to create sustainable interiors that positively impact their mental and physical health. This includes everything from the location of the project site, to the floor plans and furniture layouts, to the finishes, fittings, and furniture we source, and the decorative objets we use. It goes beyond the aesthetics of what’s “on trend” to design for longevity, creating an interior that supports and nurtures you while also prioritising the health of our planet.
Nature is my muse, and it’s where I get my inspiration from. There is no greater designer or colour specialist than Mother Nature. If you’re stuck with an interior decision look at nature to see what works. The pandemic has made me appreciate the beauty of the English countryside even more and it has been incredibly healing and re-charging for me during this crazy time.
As prioritising our health and well-being, and the planet is critically important, I’d like to share with you my top 5 holistic interior design tips to create a healthier, happier and more sustainable home:
1) Keep the entrance tidy and clutter free
Feng Shui is an important practice in holistic interior design. Think of the entrance to your home like the mouth to your body. What you put into it affects how you feel. Look at your front garden, and front door. Is it neat and tidy, with a garden that has been well kept? Or is it messy and cluttered, with a garden that has been neglected? This sets the tone for the energy you welcome into your home as it’s the first thing you see every time you (and others) arrive at your front door. Also make sure your entrance hall is organised and clutter free. Hidden storage is a great option as it creates a sense of calm. Reducing visual clutter and everyday frustrations in your home is the quickest way to create positive energy.
2) Fill your home with plants
Having broad, leafy green plants in your home bring so many benefits, from aesthetic, to psychological and health. Greenery reduces our stress levels and boosts our mood bringing health and happiness into our home. Plants also control humidity, absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen which means they eliminate toxins and clean the air around them. However, before heading to your local nursery, make a note of the light and heat in various rooms in your home. Then seek advice on the best air purifying plants for each room and its conditions. If you’re worried about forgetting to water them, place self-watering globes in your plant pots to ensure they’re looked after. On interior projects, I like to place plants such as a Peace Lily or Snake plants on my clients’ bedside tables as they release oxygen and aide a good night’s sleep. (To note: Some plants like the Peace Lily are harmful to pets. Please do your research and make sure you take this into consideration before buying plants)
3) Let in natural light
Natural light has so many health benefits; from boosting the immune system, to balancing hormones, to increasing Vitamins B and D. So, it’s no wonder studies show that it also significantly increases productivity and creativity. If you have heavy window treatments that block out light or don’t allow you to control the amount of light you let into a room, then replace them with curtains or blinds which do. Brighten up a dark entrance hall or living room by replacing solid internal doors with window or glass doors which will let the light through. Mirrors can be used effectively to bounce light around a room, while tubular skylights are an affordable and cost effective solution to bringing natural light into your home. Whatever you do, let the natural light in and you’ll feel so much better for it.
4) Reduce indoor air pollution
While most people wouldn’t relate this to interior design, a large part of my work is educating clients on the amount of pollutants they have in their home that contribute towards poor indoor air quality and poor health. People don’t think about the toxic off-gassing that occurs from products they bring into their home. Everything from chemical cleaning products, to aerosol spray cans, to the paint you used which is high in VOC’s, or the adhesive used in that cheap furniture item you bought from the supermarket. In well insulated homes it’s important you allow fresh air to flow throughout the home on a daily basis. If you live in a city where pollution is extremely high, I also recommend that you invest in an air purifier. Whether you are refurbishing your home or building a new one, look for natural, eco-friendly and sustainable solutions for everything from wall and floor coverings, to finishes and fittings, to furniture and decorative objets. When working on interior projects I only use eco-friendly paints (Graphenstone is my favourite) and sustainable products on the floor (think cork flooring or corn silk carpets). When it comes to furniture, I often source second-hand, or I work with local suppliers who use sustainable manufacturing processes and don’t exploit their workers. Each of these decisions reduce toxins and create a healthy home for my clients.
5) Make that eco-swap
No matter how beautiful a home is, if the energy isn’t good, you won’t feel comfortable in it and you’ll never enjoy it. Keep your home high vibe by making eco-friendly swaps and really thinking about the value an item will add before buying it and bringing it into your home. I use organic soap bars for washing hands instead of hand wash dispensers, while the soap trays are vintage from a local antique shop. Use natural cleaning products in re-usable containers or even make your own. Relax and unwind in the evening by using naturally fragranced candles instead of keeping the lights on. Find unique pieces, by buying art and decorative objets from local artisans or crafts people. Save to invest in one off pieces rather than spending frivolously on cheap mass produced items that everyone else has. Making these changes will make you feel good about what you’re doing and keeps your home feeling positive.