Wellness-Focused Interior Design

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in awareness of how our well-being is inherently linked to many aspects of the world around us – what we eat, how much we exercise, how we factor relaxation into our daily routines, and how much sleep we get. And Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up has climbed bestseller lists all over the world as people have embraced the awareness that clutter has a negative effect on our state of mind.

However, it is now time to turn our attention to the effect that the design of our indoor spaces is having on our well-being. With humans increasingly spending up to 90% of their lives indoors, there is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that how we design our spaces has a direct impact on us psychologically and physically, and therefore on our overall health, happiness and well-being.

At Nicola Holden Designs, we take a holistic approach to our designs, consciously using specific design elements known to encourage creativity, peace and happiness. Drawing on a combination of colour psychology, biophilic design and the aesthetics of joy we create homes that are conceived and moulded in a way that promotes good health; a dynamic play on colour, pattern, texture and shape that is designed for the senses.

Colour Psychology

There is nowhere that colour doesn’t exist. We are constantly influenced by it, from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to when we go to bed at night. Although we see colour with our eyes, each different wavelength of coloured light stimulates a distinct part of our physical being, evoking a specific physiological response, which in turn produces a psychological reaction.

We don’t just respond to specific, individual colours, but to all the colours present in our field of vision. That is why it is important to achieve balance of colour within a scheme – cool and warm, contraction and expansion, sedation and stimulus, yin and yang. A home without balance can appear wonderful but, for some reason that you can’t put your finger on, it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right, and so does not support happiness and harmony.

But there is more to colour than merely hue (the attribute of colour which enables us to classify it as red, blue, etc). Our colour personalities echo the patterns and natural order of the seasons, and so it is important to choose colours that match your own tonal family. Surrounding yourself with colours at odds with your own natural pattern is, in the long run, stressful.

Understanding our clients’ individual colour preferences enables us to create homes with balance and harmony.


Biophilic Design

Biophilia refers to our innate biological connection with nature. It helps explain why crackling fires and crashing waves captivate us; why a garden view can enhance our creativity; why shadows instil fascination and fear; and why animal companionship has restorative, healing effects.

Today’s urban landscape and our growing dependency on technology is increasingly disconnecting people from nature. Biophilic design has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and speed up healing. It is essential for providing people with healthy places in which to live and work.

As part of biophilic design, we look at bringing nature into our spaces with plants, water, breezes, sounds and scents, or through objects, materials, colours, shapes and patterns found in nature. We also look at the spatial configurations of spaces, creating prospect views balanced with intimate refuges, and a sense of mystery that entices people into our spaces.

This allows us to create spaces that are inspirational, restorative and healthy, nurturing a love of place.


Aesthetics of Joy

The dictionary definition of joy is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”. Research shows that we are able to access this intangible, mysterious and ephemeral feeling through tangible, physical attributes.

These material aesthetics are the properties that define the way an object or space looks and feels, and that elicit the deep, emotional responses that give rise to the feeling of joy. Through speaking directly to our unconscious minds, we see that elements of colour, texture, shape and movement can infuse ordinary objects and places with extraordinary joy.

Without joy, we may be surviving, but we are not thriving. If we rarely laugh, if we never have glimpses of surprise, or experience the feeling of freedom; if our surroundings lack energy, abundance and harmony, then no matter how beautiful our homes might be, they will not make us feel truly alive. The drive toward joy is synonymous with the drive toward life.

We use these aesthetics of joy to design more happiness into your world.

“Wellness is not a ‘medical fix’ but a way of living – a lifestyle sensitive and responsive to all the dimensions of body, mind and spirit; an approach to life we each design to achieve our highest potential for well-being.” Greg Anderson