May 9, 2020
Design Tips: Creating a Healthy Space
Regan Billingsley Interiors
I’ve gotten a lot of SOS calls, texts, and emails from friends and family who have spent the last few weeks looking around their homes and trying to figure out what’s wrong. When we’re forced to slow down, to spend more time at home, we start to understand the psychological impact our homes have on our overall health and happiness.
Below are some of our top tips for creating a home that will meet the many emotional and functional needs you might have right now:
Expel the clutter (instead of expelling your kids from homeschooling).
You don’t need to tie pretty bows around your laundry detergent, but stacks of paper and disorganization can create a sense of mental chaos. Searching for keys under piles of mail, that thing you “just had”, or digging through mounds of dirty clothes on the floor takes time and creates tension. Toss anything you don’t need, organize one area at a time, and enjoy the sense of relief.
Focus on lighting.
Your eye is drawn to light. So, if the only light you have in your house is recessed overhead lighting, you’re going to find yourself dragging to get through the day. Stimulate your eyes, and your mind, by giving yourself new light sources to focus on. Keep window shades open to let in sunlight, add table and floor lamps at various heights throughout your home, and strategically add mirrors or metal to bounce light into dark corners.
Bring in nature.
Many of us head outdoors when we want to feel refreshed. Bringing plants into the house can do the same thing, especially if time outdoors is limited. Another bonus of plants is that they help filter indoor air quality. If you don’t have a green thumb, try a snake plant. I haven’t killed one yet, plus they’re cool to look at. If the idea of taking care of another living thing is too much, try bringing in natural materials such as wood furniture, textured linen pillows, or cozy wool rugs. Even plush cotton towels can add a little luxury to the everyday task of taking a shower.
Balance your room.
We start every project with a furniture plan. This helps us address the function of every room, but also helps us ensure we are keeping order and flow throughout the entire space. For us, symmetry is key. This doesn’t mean every piece of furniture has to match or align with one another. Look for ways to bring order to your furniture arrangements by picking a focal point in the room, and organizing the larger pieces of furniture around it. Then you can start to place smaller pieces, accents, and accessories, balancing light and dark colors, to add visual layering.
Plan, then buy.
A cohesive room is a lot more than putting pretty pieces of furniture, fabric, and accessories together. Think about how the room needs to function before you start designing or purchasing. This will help you make smart investments in your home, rather than buying things impulsively that don’t meet the needs of your lifestyle. For a room that needs to wear many hats, flexible furniture is key. Look for pieces that you can move around, or can serve dual purposes.
Don’t ignore your bedroom.
It’s easy to focus on the entertaining spaces in your house since those are the ones that all of your friends, neighbors, and families see. But don’t underestimate the importance of your bedroom. This is the room that helps us wind down, sleep, and prepare for whatever lies ahead for us the next morning. A restful bedroom incorporates soft lighting, cozy textiles, and colors that speak to you. We often take the overall color palette of a house and tone it down in the bedroom. That way we maintain the flow of the house and offer automatic ease and comfort when you walk through your bedroom door.