Many people struggle with stress and anxiety, and tension. We believe our built environment can play a crucial part in either easing these feelings or increasing them.
person spends 22 hours indoors, equating to around 90% of their day.
On a day-to-day basis, the built environment has a significant influence on occupiers'
mental health. When you complete a building project, you get Building Control Approval and other statutory approvals; however, nobody measures the performance of the building in terms of how it
supports the occupier's psychological health.
spatial issue and its relationship to mental health:
Whenever we speak to a client, they are very open about what they love about their home.
However, an essential question we also ask during the briefing process is:
'What do you do
not like about your space?'
The responses to this are varied; however, they tell us a great deal.
"The kitchen area feels cramped and dark; we can't relax in there."
"I get depressed getting up to the view of a road from my window."
"The mess stresses me out."
"I don't look forward to coming home as we are tripping over each other in the
"Our living room is dark, feels damp, and we have mould - we have been ignoring it, and I
don't know how to get rid of it".
"My home is too cold and dark in the winter, and it makes getting out of bed
There are a variety of things that people hate about the spaces they inhabit. It is easy
to see how badly designed rooms in buildings can negatively influence psychological health.
So how do we
enhance wellness through design?
Lighting: We design to optimise daylight and sunlight,
minimising the use of artificial lighting. Melatonin is crucial for our body's health due to its control over our circadian rhythms. More windows and roof lights are beneficial to our melatonin
levels. Where artificial light is required, we take care with both design and detail to ensure sympathy with the area and its usage.
Acoustics: We all desire a quiet and relaxing home - excellent
sound insulation to party walls and double glazing to minimise external sound making its way into the house are essential.
Comfort: If you are not comfortable inside your house, you
will not enjoy living there. To achieve comfortable temperatures and good indoor air quality, we design using core passive principles. Building location and orientation on the site; building
layout; window design; insulation (including window insulation); thermal mass; shading; and ventilation are the key elements of passive design. Each of these elements works with others to achieve
the highest level of comfort.
Quality: We often use Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery systems to
generate fresh cool air, enhancing the air quality within the building. Windows and the design of areas should be considered to maximise natural ventilation - we enjoy a courtyard for this
reason. Stack and cross ventilation is crucial as this lowers the chance of mould growth which can trigger respiratory issues, allergies or asthma. Damp and mould can also affect the body immune
Social: We need areas in our homes and offices that promote
social engagement in addition to peaceful spaces for work and personal privacy. Kitchens are essential spaces to encourage interaction and encourage healthy eating. The relationship between
outside space and eating is important and helps us by creating more social connectivity.
Storage: People are collectors by nature. Modern life has its
advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is the amount of stuff we all seem to accumulate. Frequently the absence of storage space in a home is a most significant problem for
clients. Fitted furniture adds cleaner contemporary lines, convenient storage and easy to organise systems. All benefit our wellbeing.
green space: Green space has a very positive impact on us. Access to
green space can be visual as well as physical. Because windows are required in habitable rooms, their orientation is crucial in shaping and framing views. Even if it's a view of the road outside,
the design of the window and other elements can have a positive effect on us. The way we access our green space is essential to consider for those with a garden. We recommend level thresholds and
floor-to-ceiling glazing in areas. Green roofs can bring natural light up to the first-floor windows. Consider bringing a garden into the house - a courtyard, deck or wintertime garden are
perfect for this.
Sustainability and natural materials:
Healthy living is driving interior design trends, especially in the kitchen. The standard
building or remodelling supplies—like flooring, plumbing, insulation or drywall—can contain toxic chemicals that can present potential health risks. We can make better, healthier product and
material choices for a home that will protect wellbeing. Avoid products made with PVC, such as vinyl windows, flooring, or siding. Phthalate chemicals used in flexible vinyl and heavy metal
stabilisers are additional harmful ingredients you can avoid by choosing PVC-free. Seek no or low VOC products when purchasing paints, finishes, adhesives, composite wood products, insulation,
Wood is an example of a renewable resource. By controlling humidity, wood has been shown
to improve indoor air quality. It's also been shown to calm the sympathetic nervous system in humans, which can help with stress reduction, blood pressure control, and digestion and
We spend most of
our lives inside buildings of some sort, our homes and offices. While expensive finishes and accessories can't do much to make you feel better, calmer, or more relaxed, beautiful light and fresh
air flowing into your home undoubtedly can.
planning your project, consider how you feel in your current spaces and how you can use your budget to support as many of the above principles as possible.