Health and wellbeing in our homes has never been more important since the outbreak of COVID 19. Home has always been the place of comfort and refuge, the space to eat, sleep and entertain. But it has taken on even more importance as a place of work too. As the ‘new normal’ continues it is vital to get our home design just right.
Ideally, home reflects not only who we are, but the way we live our lives. When home design meets those needs we feel better about ourselves and feel more in control.
RIBA – Happiness Through Design Campaign
Last year the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) conducted a survey of 1500 homeowners to see how the pandemic had affected the way they want to live and work at home.
70% believe home design affects mental wellbeing
23% believe a better designed home increases happiness
31% believe a better designed home helps relaxation
40% wanted to improved environmental features in their homes, such as increase natural daylight, improve energy efficiency and sound proofing.
The findings indicate that there is great enthusiasm for redesign to support new lifestyles and increase mental health and wellbeing in our homes. This is a vast topic, about which, many books have been written. This blog touches briefly on one aspect – light.
The importance of natural light cannot be underestimated. It helps our bodies produce Vitamin D. This not only keeps bones healthy and regulates the Circadian rhythms but increases the ability to focus and make us happier.
The human body is the product of thousands of years of evolution. We are programmed to live our lives with the rising and setting of the sun and to be healthy we need exposure to natural daylight. Natural light also benefits sleep and when we sleep better we work better. Modern working and living patterns, however, mean that we spend far more time indoors and don’t get the benefits of the natural day and night cycle.
Manipulate the Light
The most obvious way to manipulate and maximise natural light in our homes is with our windows. The installation of large sliding glass doors will optimise the light pouring into the house and light up the interior most effectively. Consideration must be given to the window treatment, however, to keep out the sun when it is blinding. Questions to consider and discuss with a designer are when do I need light and at what times of day? Solutions can be found to ensure the design meets those need.
There has been a shift from the all-important LED to lighting that gives accurate colour rendering and is tuneable. New lighting technology can replicated the full spectrum of the sun to give the cool white light of daytime and warmer tones at night. This light gives greater connection to the outdoors and can be personalised to give the light that we need in our homes so that we have greater control over our environments. The aim is to mimic the light that suits our lifestyles.
Wellness design is an industry trend that will be long-lasting. Light is a central component to wellbeing and its correct use within design can bring greater health and happiness and even increase work productivity. Getting it right is crucial and Wordsworth Design House Ltd would love to create the right lighting scheme for you.