How well is your home?

During the last year, we’ve been largely constrained to our houses for safety. As a final year undergraduate design student, I’ve been working constantly indoors every day on the computer and this lack of access to the outdoors has definitely affected my health and wellbeing.

Many studies highlight that being outside improves both our physical and mental wellbeing, so I’ve been wondering – how can the same effect be achieved inside?

In this blog, I’ll explore simple techniques to help brighten up your home that can help boost your physical and mental wellbeing.

Let there be light (and ventilation)!

Over the last few years, architects have been designing new buildings with biophilic design. This is an approach which incorporates natural lighting and ventilation into homes, which is proven to create a productive and healthy environment!

Photo by : Kai Ismay

Natural lighting is a great way to brighten up any home! Katie Gloede’s article “7 Ways to enhance Indoor Environments with Biophilic design” talks about how natural lighting is one of the keys to visual comfort. It helps link people with the outdoor environment and helps to keep their body clock on track. Architects have also been using natural designs such as leaves and trees, which provides joy and has many health benefits.

Combining biophilic design and staying at home presents the perfect opportunity to consider sustainable design aspects in our homes. Biophilic design is also linked to addressing workplace stress and student performance.

Keeping it natural

The use of natural materials, such as wood, stone and bamboo, can also have a positive impact on our psychological state. We as humans love the natural outdoors so why not bring the outdoors inside?

Getting a new decoration always brightens up the room. The excitement for the new decoration to arrive along with thinking of where to put it! Wood and stone are popular materials to use as decoration and can add a tonne of character. The combination of these materials mixes beautifully in any home or flat.

Natural wood adds an ‘earthy’ feel to a room and is also very versatile. As far as recommendations for wooden décor, I would definitely say “WoodTinks” on Etsy. Their designs are natural, affordable and perfect for bringing natural aspects from the outside into your home.

Source: WoodTinks – “5 Rustic Natural Birch Wood Slices/Rounds/Coasters – 7.5-8cm” on Etsy.

Bamboo is such a beautiful and sustainable material which has been used heavily in decoration. This material is considered to be the most trendy and sustainable, with its stunning finish and beautiful colour. Due to it being so renewable, many websites have taken the opportunity to sell decorations and household products produced from bamboo. Bamboo décor is great to fit in any home, the following websites have some beautiful bamboo items to sell:

Source: EcogreenCreations – “Pretty handmade mirror in rattan 40 cm” on Etsy.

House plants galore!

House plants have always been popular in houses and student flats alike. They’re great for a homely vibe and are healthy for your house too! There is a large variety of plant types – both big and small which can blend in with any home. Filling empty corners, shelves, desks and windowsills with plants will bring a heap of life to your room! Plants can be styled in so many ways, too! Check out some ideas here!

Photo by : Toby Monks

Adding plants in student spaces can make such a difference to their physiological and mental health. When I was living in student flats, a plant always lifted my mood. Healthline outlines the mental benefits of house plants including:

  • Lower levels of anxiety, seeing plants around the house helps make you feel relaxed.
  • Being around plants helps improve memory and attention spam by about 20 percent.
  • Having a few plants around is known to increase productivity.
  • Caring for a plant is known to reduce stress levels, especially as a distraction to work.
Photo by : Chloe Hepburn

Taking care of your well being is important especially with the stresses of modern life. Studies suggest that looking after plants is the best form of self-care. When taking care of plants, many people have said they find happiness in gardening, which in turn reduces their stress and anxiety levels. Caring for another living thing also helps me take care of my own needs.

There are tonnes of plants which are easy to look after and are perfect for decorating a student house. Some examples are Cacti, Aloe Vera, and Lavender.

Royalty free lavender image from Google

Lavender plants are great for decreasing anxiety and providing a calm atmosphere to work in. They also smell lovely! Healthline recommends placing your lavender plant on your nightstand to also improve your sleep and help you nod off!

Aloe Vera would be my personal recommendation due to the large number of benefits. It can help heal skin wounds and help purify the air around you through detoxing the air from harmful chemicals.

Cacti are another common house plant. My friend had them in our student accommodation, and she found them easy to take care of. Cacti are compact and lightweight and can thrive as indoor plants! It’s recommended they are placed on windowsills due to their love of sunlight.

Photo by : Carla Kerslake

So there you have it, 3 ways you can improve the wellness of your home, and boost your own health and mental wellbeing at the same time!  Thanks for reading!

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