Our homes are where we spend the majority of our time. Particularly now, with our new WFH lifestyles, chances are we spent most of that time sitting on our desk chairs (opens in new tab). But do you have a healthy home? And, if you think so, is it as healthy as it could be for both your physical and mental wellbeing?
Interior stylist Amy Wilson (opens in new tab) tells My Imperfect Life: “We are spending more and more time at home at the moment, working, playing, relaxing, teaching and exercising – our homes have never had to work harder. It is so important to recognize how our homes can impact our mental and physical wellbeing.”
In terms of aesthetics, colors and materials can be used to create a more relaxing home, but there are also certain cleaning products and plants which can benefit your health. Not to mention the layout and design of your house, which can have an impact on your mood and wellbeing.
With so much to consider we’ve consulted the experts, so here’s what they have to say…
Tips to have a healthy home
Pick calm colours
Colours have the ability to affect our moods, so psychologist Becky Spelman (opens in new tab) says that it’s important to pick ones that make you happy.
She says: “You should choose colours which make you feel calm – don’t worry about what the advice out there is. You could spend hours trying to figure out what the most ‘calming colour’ is, but you don’t have to become an interiors expert.
“What’s most important is thinking about colours that you like and picking three colours that you can combine together (that you think go well together) to actually form your colour scheme.
“Consistent colours throughout can end up looking very pleasing to the eye, which then has an impact on your mood.”
Add greenery to your space
If you haven't already, now is the time to start adding some green friends to your home.
Amy says: “Start growing. Whether it is a simple pot plant from the supermarket or something more elaborate, such as planting up a kitchen counter herb garden, nurturing plants is one of the best things you can do to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.”
And there’s science to back this up, too.
“Lots has been written about biophilic design, which refers to people’s genetic connection to nature. There is evidence to confirm the benefits of introducing greenery into the home on cognitive function, physical health and psychological wellbeing,” explains Amy.
For those not clued up, biophilia refers to the concept that humans have a tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Hence why we’ve become so obsessed with houseplants.
Plants can also quite literally make a home healthier by helping to purify the air – some plants in particular, such as devil’s ivy and spider plants, are great for doing this.
Go for natural materials
Another way of bringing the natural world into your home is by using natural materials.
Interior style advisor Rebecca Snowden says: “Incorporate natural materials into your decor as a way of bringing the outdoors in, for freshness. A wooden side table, clay accessories and a linen rug are some ideas – besides having some indoor plants.”
Have separate spaces for work and play
With so many of us WFH at the moment, it’s important to try and separate work space from leisure space – so you can switch off and wind down.
Becky adds: “Having a place for exercise, a place for work and a place for relaxation is very important, and if you don’t have enough space then you might want to design your home or redesign your home in a way where a space can be transformed very easily by just moving one or two items.”
These spaces will help you compartmentalize the different activities which take place in a room or area, allowing you to focus more in the place you’ve assigned for a certain task. So whether it's figuring out how to decorate your home office (opens in new tab), or putting away your resistance bands (opens in new tab) and dumbells (opens in new tab), make an effort to keep work and play separate.
Areas that are messy are likely to cause stress, so it’s important to take some time to declutter and organise different rooms, as this will help promote calmness and relaxation.
Rebecca says: “With more days spent indoors recently, styling an inviting home can help with relaxation and wellbeing. Start by keeping surfaces free of clutter to focus on mindfulness.”
Decluttering can take a while, so start by clearing surfaces and investing in storage boxes for any items that aren’t used regularly. Then, when you have time, sort through these and get rid of any things which aren’t serving you anymore.
If you need help decluttering, try our free Declutter your life ebook (opens in new tab).
Eco-friendly paint, or natural paint, is paint that's been specially designed to have lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are the things you smell when you walk into a freshly painted room.
High levels of these VOCs can cause health problems as they can trigger asthma, nausea and other allergic reactions
Brands such as Lick, Farrow & Ball and Earthborn all offer these eco-paints, which are typically made from a variety of natural materials, including clay, milk proteins, citrus, balsam and other minerals.
Plant-based cleaning products
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in plant-based cleaning products, as they are not only better for the environment but are also non-toxic, which makes them ideal if you have pets or children around.
Brands like Method and Ecover are popular choices that clean surfaces and clothes just as well as their counterparts, but are better for the planet in the process.
Lizzie is a freelance lifestyle and culture journalist who writes for titles such as Metro.co.uk, Evening Standard, Refinery29, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Spectator Life. You'll find her looking up new restaurants and bars on Instagram or scrolling through cute dog videos. She also loves travelling, running, cooking and cross-stitching.
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