Wellness architecture is a design approach that can enhance health and longevity by focusing on particular elements in the home. This trend has been driven, in large part, by aging baby boomers and health-obsessed millennials who want their living space to positively affect both their minds and bodies.
But don’t immediately brush this off as a woo-woo health fad aimed at Goop readers and seniors aging in place. Wellness architecture was actually highlighted at the 2017 Global Wellness Summit as one of the eight wellness trends that will have global effects.
“No other forecast is based on the perspectives of so many wellness experts, from renowned economists, academics, or futurists to the heads of global hospitality, spa, and beauty brands,” Susie Ellis, GWS chairman and CEO, said of the conference. “And it makes for a powerfully collective, global, and informed set of predictions.”
Let’s take a closer look at wellness architecture, a design philosophy that’s all about designing buildings for human health.
What is wellness architecture?
This type of design is all about how your home affects you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, says Julie Coraccio, the organizing guru at Reawaken Your Brilliance.
You can introduce these ideas one room at a time. For example, try a standing desk in a home office (standing requires more energy than sitting, and it helps you maintain good posture). Or think about a kitchen that helps you make healthier meals, a bathroom that allows you to recover from exercise, or a bedroom that promotes sounder sleep, says Jamie Gold, a wellness design consultant and author.
And wellness architecture doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes, some solutions require a full-on renovation, but there are also less expensive changes you can make in your home that will help improve your health.
Ready for serenity now? Here are some ways to incorporate wellness architecture into your home.
Consider a compost bin
Composting makes you conscious of what you consume, which is basically wellness personified, according to Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.
It’s easy to add another bin to your garbage area to hold compostables like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and used paper napkins. The resulting mixture can be spread in your vegetable or herb garden to improve your soil’s nutrition.
Opt for low- or no-VOC products
When it comes time to repaint your home, opt for paints that are free of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are found in various building and home improvement materials like paint, but because they’re so caustic, manufacturers have started creating low- and no-VOC paint.
Darla DeMorrow, author of “Organizing Your Home With SORT and Succeed,” recommends Emerald, the Sherwin-Williams no-VOC paint line that is free of harmful compounds that can irritate allergies.
Cook better in the kitchen
If you’re looking to make the leap to smart appliances, DeMorrow says to direct your attention to the top brands like GE, Samsung, and Dacor for products that can make cooking easier and more fun. A smart refrigerator with Amazon Alexa capability, for example, can allow you to add things to a shopping list, order food from it, or help you find a recipe.
Gold notes the benefits of having an induction cooktop in your kitchen. It’s safer, faster, and more energy-efficient than a standard stove, and it can save you money and free up more time for recreation.
Install hands-free faucets
Raw chicken on your hands? Don’t want to touch the sink for fear of spreading germs? It’s not a problem if you have touchless faucets in your kitchen and bathrooms.
“This type of faucet reduces germ spread, saves water, and it’s easier to operate while holding heavy pots or platters,” says Gold.
Add plants in every room
Plants, whether free-standing or part of a specially installed wall, can help to purify the air and add a calming aesthetic to your home.
Both plants and people thrive in the light, so having to care for plants will remind you to open those curtains and let the natural light in.
Soak your cares away
Ahh—a dip in the tub does a body good. If you’re designing a bathroom, opt for a bathtub where you can soak your stresses away. And if you’re already lucky enough to have one, make a point to use it!
“Bathrooms that feature large soakers and steam showers are all geared toward wellness,” says Gray-Plaisted.
Make space for fitness
Wellness architecture also prioritizes fitness and encourages homeowners to create a place where you can exercise. Some people are able to dedicate a whole room to their equipment and practice, but a designated space for doing yoga or lifting weights will also suffice.