With more people becoming more aware of mental health and how it impacts everything; I took the time to meet up with a friend of mine and personal wellness coach, Sian Harvey, to discuss how mental health is much more than your interior.
If you were to jump onto Google now and type in "Best ways to decorate interiors for mental health benefits” the top results would be: 1) Natural light
2) Light and neutral colour palettes
4) Organisation and
Although these are perfectly good suggestions, in a bid to combat mental health and encourage wellness within your home; one size doesn't fit all. Everyone is different and the same applies to interiors and mental health.
What about the person who prefers dark colour palettes as it makes them feel cosy and secure? the person who loves clutter as they bounce energy off of it all? or the person who doesn't like bright natural light? The tips above just won't work for them.
So instead, to help you find what could work for you in your home, I'm taking it back to basics and exploring our five senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing and vision.
Over the next few weeks I will focus on these primal areas and explore why I believe each of these senses should be brought into the conversation when designing your home environment.
This week the focus is on touch and smell.
As an interior designer, I am naturally fascinated by different textures, but how often do you consciously make decisions based on touch rather than vision? For example, your flooring; what do you like to feel under your feet as you walk around first thing in the morning and last thing at night after a busy day? Is it the cool feeling of tiles, fluffy carpet you can curl your toes into or a smooth rich wooden flooring?
Does it depend on the room? Sian and I both prefer the feel of carpet; choosing comfort over the practicality of a tiled floor. What works for you? Generally speaking, those who prefer comfort over the practicality of a tiled floor, do so as they feel more relaxed when in an environment they are comfortable and cosy in.
Another sense which is very underestimated within interiors in the home is smells. Scents have started making a huge appearance in hotels and shops recently, but we need to start using them more within our homes. Both Sian and I are huge believers that the right smell/scent can have such an impact on your day. We both have a scent constantly burning through the house and agree that they can change the energy within a space in a few hours, simply by changing the candles and/or oils.
A few examples of scents and the mood it creates: Lavender and Frankincense is for calming Lime and Peppermint is an uplifting scent Orange Zest and Cinnamon will get you through the winter with a smile.
There is so much we could go into with regarding this but on another end of the scale there is the discussion of spaces. We are all brought up within an extroverted space ie a school, workplace etc. These spaces are open and full on every moment your’e there.
Someone who works well within these environments would like open plan living and creating lots of energy. However, an introvert would find open spaces emotionally draining and would prefer smaller spaces, which they can call their own and allowing them to have their own down time.
This is just one example of how the space we are in can impact on how we are feeling. Unfortunately, sometimes it is out of our control… we can't exactly start burning lavender in the work place can we? and we aren't advising you do so either! However, you can implement these changes within your own home to help combat the day when you get home and into your own space.
What we are trying to get across here, is that you need to know what you like in a space. Rather than scrolling through Instagram (which is a visual sense) thinking "I like that,” stop and ask yourself why you like it? Is it the lighting? the textures? (touch) or the furniture? (again, a touch sense.) The same applies when you walk into an unusual room, think of why you like it. Which senses are heightened?
In this digital age we are always influenced by something or someone and until you truly know what you like; the influence will always reflect on your interiors… and you! What reflects you as a person? Ultimately that will make the best interior for your mental wellbeing and will allow you to truly relax.
This post is only skimming the surface on the topic of interiors, senses and mental health combined. Why not try the tips mentioned above ie textures (adding a rug if you want comfort) or burning some scents to uplift your mood!
If you would like to find out more in-depth ways of how you can benefit from an interior that is designed for you or if you would like to know yourself better then please do get in touch with Sian or myself to arrange a meeting.