As an Interior Designer and blogger, I am often asked, “What is the next trend?” Interior Design is starting to be viewed with the same eyes as fashion as if it is something to be “kept up with” and fleeting. However our homes and work spaces have a much bigger job to do than just visually please us. We need to be able to live our lives comfortably in them, get our tasks achieved easily and they need to make us happy. There is a much bigger side to designing spaces than the décor and it’s time we took a Holistic approach to the problem.
So, what is Holistic Interior Design? Let’s start with the true meaning of the word. A Holistic approach is one “characterised by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole”. Or medically summed up as “the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease”. In other words, Holistic Interior Design marries every aspect of someone’s lifestyle to create spaces where they can live life instinctively, making them feel both mentally and physically healthier.
As a designer that can sound like a very tall order indeed. So, why do it?
With 90% of our time spent inside, people have started to realise that the spaces they occupy have a huge effect on them – Physically, Emotionally and Visually. Bad office design can lead to employees being disengaged from their work and left feeling undervalued because they find the environment they work in literally “depressing”. Homes become stressful and hard to manage as bad layout, lack of good storage and clutter become overwhelming for the families living in them. And restaurants and shops go out of business as people find them “uninviting” to be in.
These are issues that need a little more than a quick lick of paint to resolve but all are resolvable. You just have to dig a little deeper to find the answer. As it’s all interconnected to how someone feels in a space there are a lot of threads to pull together to solve the problem. It has become an aspect of design that many, well beyond just little old me, have become fascinated with. Health and Wellness in buildings is becoming a revolution with people like Oliver Heath and kitchen god Johnny Grey leading the way.
So, let’s quickly break it down into the three aspects we want to address to create full contentment in interiors.
When designing, look at how people function in a space. How do they flow from one thing to the next? What is their lifestyle and their little routines? I think through them all and start to plot layouts around them. Now think of the things people “feel” physically. Do you feel uncomfortable with your back to a door? All of these factors go into building a layout that flows with the person who is in the room and makes them feel physically comfortable in a space.
This is the hardest of the three to address but in many ways the most exciting as it stretches beyond just designing skills and into the areas of Colour Psychology, Psychology and even Neuroscience. It’s what makes people happy and unhappy in a building, even what can cause them to make healthy or unhealthy choices. The research in this area is mind-blowing and fascinating. The funny thing is, it’s the one solution that is hard to quantify. People know what they are feeling, but it is often hard for them to pin point it to their environments. That is why it is a designer’s job to swot up and blend the good stuff into the design.
Like the clothes we wear, the way space is decorated speaks about who we are. The style we love and beautiful stuff we fill our homes with, are like a work of art that tells our story. We pick hotels and restaurants to visit because we love the look of them. Things we find beautiful make us happy. The visual side of interiors is so important.
Holistic Interior Design puts all of the pieces together and strives to bring delight, wellness and contentment to the people using the spaces we design for them. After all, whether the approach is Holistic or not, isn’t that what every designer wants people to feel in their work?