The home is a retreat from the chaotic world, a sanctuary that hosts your most prized possessions. So how do we give it the attention it deserves?
Wellness has become one of the newest buzzwords in housing. From soothing tones to oxygen boosting indoor plants, homes are now exploding with wellness opportunities that provide us with the same level of self-care that our body and mind practices do.
Now, we spend a lot of time decorating our homes to make them look great. But how do you really want to feel in your home? A space that establishes all those good feelings acts as a haven after a hectic day. Fun fact: if you have a healthy environment, you’re more inclined to live a healthier life. Having a space full of healthy triggers has a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. Homes that have unkempt environments, with poor indoor air quality, contribute to a range of physical and mental health issues such as asthma, allergies, stress and depression.
In a bid to energise our spaces, we’ve chatted to the experts for their tips on creating a wellness haven at home. Following these tips is sure to enhance your own wellbeing, because being a homebody is the new going out.
If you’re serious about reducing VOC emissions in your home, flooring is a great place to start. VOCs are carbon-containing compounds that readily vaporise into the air. They are often to blame for headaches, eye and nose irritation, respiratory issues, fatigue, poor concentration and allergic reactions.
Indoor air quality is incredibly important to your wellness and the health of your family. Selecting non-toxic flooring is the first step to creating an improved indoor environment. “Care should be taken when introducing materials into your home as these choices can influence the quality of air you are breathing in each day,” says Jess Hall, marketing manager of Havwoods. “Many flooring products are made out of, coated by or constructed with harmful toxins that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, that turn to vapour at ordinary room temperature, meaning you are breathing them in.”
This can easily be avoided by choosing products that have certification of low VOCs or excellent emissions ratings such as the Havwoods Par-ky range, which has obtained an A+ European emissions rating through quality construction. Timber flooring also has the added benefit that it does not trap pet dander, pollen, dirt, dust and other allergens that other floorings such as carpet tend to do. This creates a safer, healthier air environment, particularly for people who may suffer from allergies.
“When selecting wood floors, it is important to search for natural, oiled wood floors as they are far healthier and ecological than any painted, smoked, lacquered, UV-coated or wax treated wood floors,” explains Ella Brichta, marketing coordinator of Mafi Australia. “Natural, oiled wood floors aren’t sealed, so the pores of the timber remain open and are able to regulate humidity, absorb smoke in rooms and prevent allergens. Timber has many positive health benefits and the only way to embrace these qualities is to treat it in the most natural way possible.”
Still not convinced on timber? This should do it: “In addition to helping maintain your physical health, choosing timber can positively impact your mental health,” says Jess. “Studies have shown that the use of real wood in interior schemes has a similar stressreducing effect to nature itself and that the favourable effects cannot be replicated with imitation timber-look products.”
Furniture With A Difference
In the past, eco-friendly products may not have been aesthetically pleasing, but that’s all changed thanks to a new generation of designers and furniture companies with green thumbs.
While a lot of furniture looks great, it’s hard to know what they are finished with. Eco brands typically use 100 per cent natural wood versus plywood. In addition to solid wood being better quality and more durable, plywood can contain harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde. In terms of finishes, ecofriendly furniture pieces feature clear coats, paints and glues that contain low or zero VOC.
Case in point: furniture mega-brand PGT-Reclaimed. The company is part of an increasing number of businesses that are heralding change and bringing eco-friendly designs to the masses. PGT-Reclaimed founder, Ian Burden, has built his 20-year-old company on producing lifestyle furniture that promotes wellness and sustainability, with products manufactured using 100 per cent solid reclaimed wood and other non-toxic materials.
While Ian is focused on ensuring consumers can enjoy non-toxic furniture, he also considers the impact on workers during manufacturing. For this reason, the company launched a program dedicated to the use of finishing materials that are 100 per cent waterbased and that don’t contain nitrocellulose (NC).
“When we use NC, our factory has a strong chemical smell and although NC isn’t toxic, workers do worry,” says Ian. “Our program was a significant investment, which included appointing six employees to focus solely on developing new finishes and, over 18 months, they performed tests on more than 1000 colour boards,” says Ian. “Although costly, we couldn’t put a price on our workers’ or consumers’ health and comfort.” “Using high-quality, toxin-free materials is very important to us, and it should be to consumers when they consider the furniture they are breathing in or are in contact with each day,” continues Ian. “My advice for consumers is to do their research, look at where a piece of furniture is made and what it is made from, ranging from the wood and the glue to the finish.”
The best houseplants for purifying air
Plants do more than beautify your home. The best indoor plants are also incredible agents for expelling chemical pollutants and promoting wellness. Below, we outline our picks of the best indoor plants for cleaning the air.
- Bamboo palm
- English ivy
- Dendrobium orchid
- Aloe vera
- Peace lily
- Boston fern
Cool, Calm And Collected
Colour can have a profound impact on mood, emotion and overall wellness, making it a powerful transformative design tool. So before you pick up a paintbrush, let us improve your colour know-how.
Are you going through a slump or feeling down or on edge when you are at home? The problem might just be the colour that’s around you. “There is now a WELL Building Standard – the first building standard to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of the people in buildings,” says Sarah Stephenson, brand and communications Manager for Wattyl. “In part, this WELL Building Standard references the effects of both colour and sound on an inhabitant’s wellbeing.”
Harmonious colour schemes have a calm and soothing effect on the psyche. There is increasing evidence that physiological health is improved when our interior environment mimics that of nature, in terms of colours and raw materials. For example, orangebased hues are perceived as warm, friendly and soothing in a world that is increasingly hyper-stimulated. “Currently, we are seeing a huge trend towards the colour blush,” says Sarah. “This is a derivative of a warm, orange-based tone – a reaction to our need to feel more comfortable and safe within this fast-paced, technologydriven world. Similarly, green, another nature-based colour, symbolises life, growth and sustainability. We are seeing this colour, in all its many hues, appearing in the form of paints, soft furnishings and indoor plants.”
On the other hand, blue helps achieve a calm, peaceful space while warmer colours such as reds can stimulate the appetite and introduce energy to a space. Meanwhile, yellow is known as a joyful colour. But be advised, the balancing of colour should be approached with caution. “Just note that too much of a colour can have a negative effect – for example, too much blue could create a chilly atmosphere in a room, rather than a calm one,” says Sarah. “And too much red can create too much energy and become stressful.”
Just add water
“In the past, it had been believed that paints required VOCs for higher performance, such as in traditional solvent-based products. With advancing technology, however, water-based paints can now replace high-VOC solvents with water to produce milder-smelling paints with fewer emissions. Dulux Wash & Wear is a low-VOC and family-friendly paint choice for the home.” Jennifer Ngo, Dulux development chemist.
Call It Magic
Centre yourself by trying out the newest trend in wellness: crystals. Sure, they look pretty, but they also claim a plethora of other benefits. Here, Stoned Crystals founder, Ashley Bellino, explains this age-old healing approach.
Why should we include crystals as a part of a holistic approach to wellbeing?
Crystals have been used for their powerful healing properties for thousands of years. At an atomic level, our universe is in a constant state of vibration. Crystals emit high-frequency vibrations and are extremely good at holding a stable vibration due to their crystalline lattice structure.
We, on the other hand, are a very complex mix of vibrations that can easily be disturbed and become unbalanced, which makes us feel sick and unwell. By using crystals as an aid during meditation and mindfulness, we are able to still the chatter of the mind and eliminate negative thought patterns.
What are your tips for using crystals to promote wellness in the home and office?
Computers, devices and other types of technology are increasingly overcoming our homes and workspaces. Crystals, especially shaped crystals, not only look beautiful when styled but also offer us a natural and tactile distraction to negate stress and improve mood and performance.
Crystals adjust imbalances by absorbing excess energy and can help intercept the electro magnetic forces from our computers and devices. They can also be beneficial for your visitors, customers and coworkers at the same time.
Could you run us through the best type of geode for the following spaces and what their effects are?
Geodes come in all different types of formations and it is best to look at the type of crystal rather than its formation to decide where it is best placed. All of the following crystals are available in geode form:
- Living room: Clear quartz – healing properties such as to induce patience, focus and positivity.
- Study, office or workspace: Citrine — the stone of abundance, stimulating confidence and helping to manifest new ideas.
- Yoga studio, meditation space or bedroom: Amethysts — this crystal has a calming energy and is used to de-stress and relieve headaches and insomnia.
How do crystals work to balance and align our chakras?
The body is composed of a number of different energy centres called chakras. Our chakras are located down the midline of the body, each related to acupressure points. Ideally, the upper chakras and the lower chakras should be balanced to ensure optimum health of those body parts. Each of your seven chakras is also strongly connected with specific crystals that produce
vibrations to help balance, align and cleanse your chakras.
Styling crystals in the home and workspace
- Keep natural stones or crystals as paperweights and
- Change the stones to fit in with the colours that suit
your mood, interior style and colour palette.
- Use carved stone or crystal platters on tables to display candles, plants ornaments and decor on.
- Place crystals on the soil of potted plants or terrariums in your home and office. A cleansed crystal will help the plant last longer as well as look divine.
- Keep a couple of stones on the windowsill or hallway table in plain sight. Set an intention for this stone and let it act as a reminder.
- Put crystals by any tech devices in your home such as in the home office or games/television area to offset their strong electromagnetic fields.
- Use a favourite crystal as a worry stone, massage object or for brainstorming on your desk, workstation or even the dashboard of your car.
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