For those interested in incorporating wellness into the built environment, a regenerative design approach is perhaps one of the most effective tools a professional can put into practice for a space. As the name suggests, the practice is renewal based, adopting a holistic, data-driven lens that is meant to mitigate the negative impacts caused from artificial environments on both the planet and the individual.
For wellness and design expert, Laurence Carr, it’s a matter of combining ancient practices with modern technology in order to create sustainable spaces that ultimately leave occupants feeling better than when they first enter. It’s also the style of design she herself specializes in, using it to great success in her own practices.
Here, she shares some tips as to how these principles can be applied to projects to create more human-centric spaces, whether it’s in residential, hospitality or even commercial environments.
Colors Offer and Affordable and Effective Start
A simple change of paint can have such a tremendous impact on one’s impression of a space, and, if using low- or no-VOC paints, it can leave the space much healthier to be in without any major renovation required. By adding colors that reflect positive moods, like olive greens, purples and blues, Carr states interior designers can instantly transform a space.
Playing with the color of furniture and accent pieces can also work on adding smaller touches while allowing the designer to blend multiple shades of colors to achieve a beneficial yet still varied look.
Dedicated Meditation Spaces Provide an Immediate Escape
According to Carr, “every home should have a spot marked for meditation or general relaxation.” However, the difference between a ‘found’ versus ‘designated’ meditation space will be night and day. With a little bit of due diligence, Carr suggests that designers will be able to find where the body is able to relax the most, and thereby find the perfect spot for the meditation room.
The best method for doing this, she advises, is to spend a small amount of quiet time in each room, gauging how the body reacts to each space. Then, once the spot has been found, mark it and begin designing around it with elements that will be conducive towards disconnection and relaxation.
Plants Ease Minds and Filter Air, the Natural Way
Plants are a welcome addition to any home for their biophilic properties. Their simple presence is enough to introduce warmth, ease and coziness, but there are benefits to designing with plants outside of their looks. Though miniscule on the grand scale of things, a plant in the home is akin to a biological air scrubber with the different biologies of plants able to filter and thrive off of different toxic byproducts that may be floating around an interior space.
For instance, bamboo palm and peace lilies, Carr says, are able to remove toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. Mass cane plant, with its vibrant foliage ranging from emerald green to near-fluorescent yellow, is another sophisticated formaldehyde-fighting contender.
Wellness Technology Picks Up Where Design Stops
On the topic of indoor air pollution, technology can do plenty of heavy lifting, but there’s so much more it’s capable of, Carr states. When implemented properly, the right piece of smart technology can do wonders for a homeowner’s health and wellbeing.
One such example, Carr offers, can be used for high-anxiety clients. Combining smart thermostats, speakers and lighting on an automation system, designers can create a ‘scene’ that turns up the ambient temperature in their home to about 70 degrees, lowers the lighting, and starts playing some meditative music about 30 minutes before the occupant enters the home. This, she says, guarantees they enter into a spa-like atmosphere.
Feng Shui Principles Follow Psychological Responses
Consider, if one is sitting down with their back to a door, window or highly-trafficked area, feelings of insecurity may start to develop. Sensations of exposure can lead to feelings of danger or uncertainty, even in environments where there is no such danger present. It’s all based on how the brain reacts to specific stimuli, and the need be secure and protected is one rooted in basic human survival.
Though told through the lens of mysticism, many aspects of Feng Shui still operate on the pretense of how the environment makes one feel. Simple adjustments in a space can lead to big results, states Carr. By placing the chair to instead face the area of activity, with its back against the wall, a person can feel more at ease.
But the options are not limited to simply moving the desk. Think of some of the previous examples: perhaps a row of lush plants placed at the back will provide sufficient cover and blocking.