Wellness can be threaded through the design of interiors from the comfort of furniture to the light and mood of the space. Spaces can influence how we feel both positively and negatively. An important part of wellness is making time to unwind. Whether you relax by listening to music, exercising, reading or watching a series it is important to identify a spot for this. It can have your favourite comfy chair, a view through a window to greenery or simply be a cosy corner. Here we have compiled 5 key ideas to keep your interior geared towards wellness. 

In the photo above the outside is brought into this room with natural materials used throughout.  Comfy wicker furniture by Thonet decorated with fun Fornasetti cushions sit around a crocheted rug with a marble coffee table. The shelving unit brings more natural materials in with wicker shelves. The wooden ceiling above composed of wooden slats adds a natural material warmth to the space.

Use natural materials

From a health point of view, avoiding manmade materials in your home reduces the risk of off-gassing in synthetic fibres such as those used for carpets and fabrics. Open windows as often to have a flow of air, literally airing out a space. Choose wood, cotton, linen, wool, bamboo and other natural materials for furniture and soft furnishings. On average we spend about a third our lives sleeping so we should invest in an excellent mattress made from natural materials such as the organic mattresses from Natural Mat, handmade in Devon, England.  

“On average we spend about a third our lives sleeping so we should invest in an excellent mattress made from natural materials”

https://kamcekam.com/ – Photo credit: Atul Chauhan

Kam Ce Kam’s furniture is made from natural materials, including cane, timber and marble offcuts, by craftsmen in India.

The importance of light

Having ample natural light is key to a healthy, natural interior. As designers, when looking at a client’s space we create a layout ensuring that natural light and air flow is effective throughout. Use each room according to its natural light aspect. For a room that you will spend a lot of time in choose one that has the most natural light. If a room is naturally dark, go with that inherent aspect and make it a cosy snug. If you have the opportunity to renovate, add skylights to bring light from above increasing the sunlight exposure as the sun passes overhead. Choose light furniture so you can move a chair or pouf into a sunny spot and make the most of its warmth. Place various sources of light from floor lamps and tables lamps to overhead lighting throughout your interior so you can change the lighting levels according to your activities and moods. Using different coloured lighting according to the time of day or activity is fast becoming a consideration in lighting design. The Philips Hue range includes bulbs that have various colours to suit different times of day and moods such as warm yellow when waking up or blue tones when concentrating.

www.shalinimisra.com – Photo credit: Paul Dixon

Placing mirrors in the window recesses of this hallway bounces light around the space and brings the view outside inside. 

Infuse greenery into your home

Spending time in nature brings a sense of calm and bringing this cue into our homes is fundamental to our wellness. Plants not only provide a vibrant burst of green, they filter the air and studies have even shown that the presence of plants has a positive effect on mental health. There are many plants suitable for indoors requiring minimal care such as English Ivy, which can help combat mould levels in the home, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Aloe Vera which is handy to soothe any burns in the kitchen. Keeping herbs in pots in the kitchen on a window sill will look great as well as being handy to add to your cooking. If you are away often, or claim to have no green finger or thumb, terrariums are a good way to introduce greenery into your home with no maintenance required.

https://londonterrariums.com/ – Photo credit: Tian Khee Siong

These beautiful terrariums by London Terrariums make a great decorative feature as well as adding greenery to an interior. 

www.shalinimisra.com – Photo credit: Mel Yates

Place outdoor pots within view of windows and doors, especially when they are in bloom so you can enjoy the flowers from inside. Hand-made pots with vibrant planting on the terrace of this home in Chelsea, London, are viewed from the reception room.

Clear your space to clear your mind:

When planning and designing our clients’ spaces we analyse how they use their space and optimise it. By organising a space creating the fluid and flexible use of it, lifestyles are streamlined. A disorganised space can lead to stress if you cannot find items that you need to use or if things break when they are poorly stored, as well as being visually chaotic. Choose storage with both open and closed areas so you can hide necessary but unattractive items, such as folders and files, and display objects that are meaningful and beautiful highlighting special pieces from travels or gifts. Close off messy spaces behind doors such as utility areas or kitchen units. Keep a few empty baskets on hand to put toys, clothes, and anything that needs to be tidied away into so the items can be put away later. You can carry this through to your workspace and create a personal oasis by organising your desk and adding meaningful objects and plants.

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www.shalinimisra.com – Photo credit: Vipul Sangoi
www.shalinimisra.com – Photo credit: Vipul Sangoi

Padded doors on storage which keep files and folders neatly concealed.

www.shalinimisra.com – PHOTO CREDIT: Vipul Sangoi

This kitchen in a home in London was designed to have the majority of appliances and storage behind doors making it easy to keep the space clutter free.

Whilst hiding clutter is a great way to clear your space, books are one item we advocate putting on display. By having your book collection visible you are more likely to pick one up rather than turning to a device. 

Whilst hiding clutter is a great way to clear your space, books are one item we advocate putting on display

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www.shalinimisra.com – PHOTO CREDIT: Vipul Sangoi

Comfort is key 

www.shalinimisra.com – PHOTO CREDIT: Mel Yates

It can be tricky to decide what to buy with so much beautiful design on the market. One important consideration when buying furniture is comfort. Try out a piece before you invest in it. When you are working use ergonomic chairs designed to suit our bodies and specific office chairs since we spend a lot of time sitting. Chairs designed by Charles and Ray Eames are timelessly stylish designs that work well for offices and studies. You can find them at Vitra. Buying a standing desk is also worth considering to ensure you don’t spend too long in a sedentary position. If you can, go one step further and invest in a treadmill desk.

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  • Shalini Misra

    Founder and Creative Director

    Internationally celebrated interior architect, designer and property developer, Shalini Misra has been creating spaces since she founded her multifaceted practice over 20 years ago. A qualified architect from the Delhi School of Architecture and Planning (SPA) in India, Shalini specialised in Urban Planning at the University of Columbia in New York before studying Virtual Reality in Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, in London. One of House & Garden’s top 100 interior designers, Shalini is a British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) committee member, she is on the Advisory Board of KLC School of Design and on the Steering Committee of The Calico Club. She sits on the South Asian Acquisition Committee (SAAC) at Tate, and judges international design awards. Shalini is also a trustee and mentor of UK charity Vahani Scholarship Trust, a non-profit organisation that recognises the importance of opening doors for underprivileged children. Shalini also sits on the advisory board for Common Sense Media, a global charity dedicated to improving the well-being of children and families in the digital age.