Home is a place where you rest and recharge after a hard day at work but with most of us working from home, it’s now more essential than ever that your abode is a stress-free one. It should also be a haven for wellness – both for the mind and body. You can always consult with an experienced interior designer to help you create calm surroundings that instil and inspire wellness. We speak to Edmund Liau from BLACKRICE Design Studio for more information and strategies on how to start creating wellness at home with décor and furnishing elements.
Q: What’s the first thing to be mindful of when designing home interiors?
Edmund: Design should stand the test of time. Spaces should not only be functional but at the same time, be creative and inspire. And to ensure you get the home of your dreams, it’s best to start to work with the right person for the job. Find a designer that you can openly speak your mind to – the right synergy between client and designer will help you realise needs and preferences into a beautiful reality.
Q: What are some of the practical design considerations to keep in mind to lessen stress in a home?
Edmund: Besides aesthetics, wellness is also about minimising unnecessary stress and frustration. For example, a well-planned kitchen should allow you to perform your tasks easily, allowing easy movement within the space and accessibility to utensils and ingredients. You should not be too far from the fridge when you need access to it, and cooking utensils are stored near the cooking area when you need them.
Q: What other elements should one pay attention to when designing the interiors?
Edmund: Have lots of natural light where possible. A dark and gloomy room, no matter how beautiful, tends to give a sense of heaviness and makes it hard to navigate within the space. If you’re planning to read in the room, the darkness will strain your eyes.
It is known through expert research that bright natural light has benefits compared to the glare of fluorescent lights. Your mood and energy level will also be lifted thanks to the release of endorphins and serotonins in the brain!
The best way to have natural light in your space is to have big, clear glass windows which also allow for more natural ventilation. A well-lit and airy environment will help you feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety.
But the best part of having great natural light is that it allows you to have plants in your home!
Q: If my home lacks big and wide windows or can’t get a lot of natural light, what else can I do to brighten my interiors?
Edmund: Lighter, brighter colours help open up and brighten up spaces while dark shades tend to make rooms appear gloomier and smaller. You can use both light and dark colours to create more depth and interest for your room. I would usually recommend using lighter colours for the main parts of your room and darker colours for specific areas and details to make the space more interesting.
It’s known of course that colours can evoke different moods so you can opt to have different rooms painted in different hues – just pick the right shades that help enhance your mood and sense of wellness. Soothing, lighter pastels or off-white tones can make a space feel bigger and more welcoming while warmer hues can create a more relaxing and restful ambience for your own personal space.
Q: What are the benefits of having plants and greenery in your home?
Edmund: Humans have a natural instinct to connect with nature and other living things and this phenomena is known as biophilia. Research has shown that being around nature reduces stress and elevates one’s general well-being. New HDB and condo developments in Singapore are increasingly incorporating biophilic design to help elevate the sense of wellness within urban homes and environments. More importantly, the presence of nature within your home helps improve productivity, lower levels of stress, enhance learning and even improve recovery rates following illness.
Q: How do I bring nature into my home?
Edmund: For beginners, it’s best to start with a few easy-to-care-for plants first. Place them near windows or places with generous natural sunlight or at the balcony. These flourishing, leafy plants will help inject life and help soften the hard lines in your home.
Q: Are there any other ‘nature’ elements I can bring into my home to create a sense of wellness?
Edmund: Adding soft, leafy ‘layers’ and natural textures (natural grainy wood, stone etc.) to a home will evoke a feel of the outdoors and create a more relaxing environment, for example, green leaf print wall paper, artworks, woody materials or pattern prints on floor tiles that remind you of your resort holidays.
Depending on what design you select, wallpaper in particular is a good example of how we create a ‘texture’ for a wall that is different from the traditional painted wall.
Q: How do I plan and organise my home space to create wellness?
Edmund: Design your home so that you have minimal clutter and easy movement throughout.
Always have space allocated for well-designed storage cabinets where you can stash away your stuff and allow you to categorise the items for easy retrieval when required. This orderliness will lower your anxiety and help you achieve a sense of wellness.
If you don’t live in a big and spacious home, avoid having bulky furniture that hinders your movement. Less is always more when you have limited space. Go for pieces with ‘softer’ lines like designs with rounded corners, padded surfaces or hidden legs.
Planning where to place your furniture and furnishings also matters. You should understand your accessibility ‘paths’ in your home and plan the placement of your furniture accordingly. Open up areas that allow ease of movement in the shortest possible time. No one wants to walk a big circle around a living room set up just to get the dining area when a straight path can be mapped out.
Looking to redesign your home for wellness? SAFRA members enjoy perks with the following interior designers:
Rezt+Relax Interior Design is a homegrown company established in 2000, equipped with the knowledge to design a home that accommodates both functionality and comfort for spacious living. Receive a $20 CapitaLand Mall voucher when you meet the designers with your floor plan and receive a quotation from the designers! Prior booking of appointment at 9721 5338 is required 3 days in advance. Quote “SAFRA”. Click here for more info.
Interior Times have built an award-winning design consultancy with their friendly attitude and meticulous attention to detail. Receive a $500 Takashimaya Gift Voucher when you spend a minimum of $10k on a renovation package. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote “INTERIORTIMESXSAFRA” for deal redemption with your valid receipt. Click here for more info.
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