Many of us have mastered the art of carefully choosing what food we eat according to the nutrient content, and exercising regularly to ensure we lead a healthy life. However, we have left one thing out; ensuring that our homes also promote healthy living. Today, more than ever before, we spend much more time indoors than outdoors and it’s therefore important that we make our homes good for our physical and emotional health. All this is because nature allows for tranquility, boosts productivity, improves our moods, and helps to relieve stress. In hospital settings, incorporating nature in the environment, allows for faster recovery.
If you are wondering how to, here’s a few things too consider;
It is only natural for us to gravitate towards nature. No wonder, almost everyone has at least one plant in their home. Aloysius Nangosha, an interior designer says this is what can be referred to as biophilic design; creating a natural environment to live, study and work in.
“Some of the aspects that fall under this design is living walls. This is when you pick a wall or two in your home as a place to grow plants. If you are fascinated by water, then consider incorporating water features such as a mini-water fall or fountain.
Having greenery in our homes such as snake plants also improves the air quality as plants take in carbondioxide while releasing oxygen.
“However, it must be noted that putting some of these plants in our bedrooms is not advisable as the cycle changes in the night, releasing carbondioxide. That said, you may keep orchids, and aloevera as they emit oxygen always,” Nangosha says.
He adds that in our bathrooms, ferns and bamboos have a great way of transforming them into a spectacular place.
It, therefore, goes without saying that bringing the outside inside is a necessity for healthier living.
Watch humidity levels
A humid house, not only makes breathing almost a problem, but also becomes a breeding ground for allergies or worsening them. That is why Adrian Wangwe, an architectural enthusiast, says it is important to ensure that a damp-proof course is used when constructing to avoid moisture from sipping into the walls from the outside.
“If that is beyond your control, ensure that you open the windows and doors so that there is proper air circulation. If it is a bathroom, you may need to re-grout the walls to seal the spaces between the tiles because humidity may mean that the water from your bathroom is seeping through the walls.”
In line with checking humidity, Martha Mukasa, a homeowner, says if the air within your house seems dry or musky, invest in an air humidifier.
“It will add moisture to the air while also reducing the risk of infections which is ideal for one with sinuses or allergies.”
Light is a crucial element in interior design, think natural light. Imagine a room with very small windows compared to another with very big windows. While the former will be dark and depressing, the latter will have lots of light, creating a lively ambience.
Mukasa wanted enough natural light to flow into her home but faced a problem of limited space to open the windows.
“I opted to install fixed glass because natural light is definitely better than artificial light as it enhances alertness, productivity, and general psychological wellbeing as it is also a source of Vitamin D which helps our bodies absorb calcium from food,” she shares.
Another important aspect is blue light which is present in several light sources, such as the sun, artificial light.
Ambrose Kajubi, says while blue light is good during the day because it boosts energy and vitality, it is harmful in the night as it disrupts our sleep cycles and could suppress melatonin production which is needed for our activity clock to turn off, otherwise, we will not easily sleep.
“Therefore, blue light should never be in bedrooms, meaning electronic gadgets such as TVs, computers, and phones should not be here.”
Comfort Vs utility
Built environment and all that is within is meant to serve us. In this aspect, we look at bedding as one of the sections where comfort cannot be compromised. ”There is no reason for me to have, say a beautiful bed that is not comfortable or makes my back hurt. It should also be one that I can easily clean so that it does not become a dust collection point lest organisms such as dust mites collect, not to mention constant irritations owing to dust,” Helen Namuleme, a homeowner shares.
She adds that beddings, such as pillows also need to promote health rather than cause its deterioration. “For instance, a pillow ought to be tough enough to support your neck yet comfortable enough to allow you sleep well.”
With the era of Covid-19, working from home is the new normal. “As one that works on my laptop for more than six hours every day, my chair ought to be comfortable and support my back well. As such, care was key when I was choosing it to avoid back pain,” she shares.
Therefore, Nangosha says going with ergonomic design is ideal as it is user friendly in regards to anatomy, physiology and psychology, and none should be left out lest one part of our health suffers. “Simply put, our interior design should be efficient, pleasing to the eye, yet also comfortable.”
Pay attention to colour
Just like light, colour greatly affects the room’s mood and how it feels. While colour is really about one’s taste, some colours over stimulate while others calm our space. ”For example, lighter or active colours are said to be airy, make the room feel bigger and brighter. These include yellow, red, and pink and are also said to boost creativity and excite our minds. On the other hand, darker or passive colours make the space feel warmer and more intimate. These include blue, and green, and are also said to be cool, calming to our minds and helping with mental focus,” Kajubi explains.
In between these two, Kajubi says there are neutral colours such as brown, black, white, and gray, which strike a balance between the two former groups.
Nonetheless, we are all different so personal choices should play a big role in the selection.
It starts with buying things you do not really need just because they are on discountThese then take up space, say at the dining table that would have been used for family meals which takes away the place of family communion. Clare Nabisibo, a counsellor, says clutter has a way of negatively impacting our mood, concentration, relationships, not forgetting sleep. “Many of us are excited about having extra stuff but it only takes up space we would have used for other things, such as the living room which would have worked as entertainment space for visitors.”
Nabisibo advises that people get into the habit of getting rid of what they do not really need or use. “For example, give away clothes and shoes you have not worn in the last six months, while not buying more if you are not ready to let go of the old stuff.”
Another thing to consider is to keep only that which adds joy and spark to the home and organize items in a way that makes access easy. “That way, we will avoid the discomfort, and anxiety that clutter brings,” she says.
Make use of scents
Apart from making the room smell different, they impact our brains in various ways, as some are calming while others are invigorating.
Immaculate Nantongo, the founder of Fabulous Homes, a home improvement Facebook group, is in love with all things scents. From lighting scented candles in her bathroom for a relaxed bath, to placing them in the rest of the house for a fresh smelling space. You too could invest in some scented candles depending on your tastes.
There are also essential oils in their varieties such as rosemary for an energy boost or lavender to lull you to sleep. ”Depending on the mood you desire to achieve, pick the right oil. However, it is important that you get genuine essential oils so that you get the desired results. Using an oil diffuser, you will ably spread these scents into the atmosphere,” Idah Kwikiriza, a homeowner shares.