We’re spending more time at home than we could have ever imagined, and the importance of having comforting and exceptional spaces within our homes is becoming more central.
Unsurprisingly, trends emerging from last year and moving into this one are those that focus on creating comfortable and calming spaces. Equally, with an increasing climate consciousness, the desire to create sustainable spaces, both residential and commercial, is of huge importance and can have fantastic wellness properties.
To get a fresh start in 2021, there is a great opportunity to create a new atmosphere, look and feel in our homes whether by redesigning or adding to existing spaces.
Here are six ways to create the perfect space into the New Year:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The most sustainable items in your life are the ones you already own. When looking to redesign your spaces, the best first step is to review your current items and think about which ones can be reused or reupholstered for a new lease of life.
Woodwork can be easily varnished or repainted, sofas can be transformed with new fabric, cushions or throws, and old wood can be repurposed into shelving or new furniture.
I’m hoping to refresh things this year and have found a good home for my much-loved old furniture by giving it to my niece.
This New Year as you look to spruce up your home, consider donating to friends, family, charity or via Freecycle, or even make some money while closing the loop by selling on second-hand sites.
Our houses have taken priority and we are looking at the impact our spaces have on our mental health and wellbeing. Harsh whites and greys are often too stark and bright for a calming environment, and so have been swapped for softer natural and earthy tones such as shades of green, blush, and skin tones as new neutrals.
Introducing softer colours that create a diffused and calm light, in your living, dining and bedroom space will positively impact your mental health and well-being. Equally, colours found in nature such as greens, blues and earthy browns are said to have a calming effect on the eye as we are used to seeing them in our surrounding environment.
With the long nights we are currently experiencing, it’s also worth checking the colour temperature of your light bulbs. Cooler, bluer lights are invigorating and great for playrooms, but may be less appropriate for relaxed bedroom areas where warmer, relaxed light is preferred.
Images: Warm Colours- Studio Suss
The construction industry, of which architecture and interior design are a key part, contributes to 38% of the world’s carbon emissions. This impact features through all elements of design whether it be energy, new materials, furniture, or the product cycle. Now and moving into 2021, sustainable construction and interior design will become central to residential and commercial projects.
Some key ways to integrate sustainable design that have emerged are:
Sourcing eco-friendly and sustainable materials
Ideally, we should be sourcing natural materials which protect the environment and are local to the area. In every part of a project where collaborators and contractors are involved, there will be sustainable options which can be explored. For example, wooden flooring that is Forest Stewardship Council assured is a great way to manage sustainable wood production in design projects.
For other materials such as plastics and fabrics, companies like Smile Plastics recycle old plastic bottles, yoghurt pots and packaging into bespoke interior panels, and cottons that are up to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are free of pesticides and harmful dyes.
Many traditional paints that are cheap and widely stocked include toxins that affect indoor air quality and cause some effects on health. Rather than choosing traditional brands, there are new water based paints that have low volatile organic compounds, and are A+ for air quality, making it safer for everyone who shares the home. Graphenstone paints also actively absorb Carbon Dioxide as they dry, cleaning the air that you breathe.
When considering metals to include in a new design, we should be considering those which have the least environmental impact. Metals such as aluminium can be recycled and repurposed endless amounts of times without losing quality and save around 95% of the energy needed to make the metal from raw materials (Source: AluPro).
Return to Nature
The use of nature and sustainability has increased in popularity recently, and as well as being beneficial to the planet, the introduction of natural elements and colours has seen a positive impact on our health.
Termed Biophilic design, by including plants that purify the air and natural materials like marble that have a grounding effect, we utilise our inside space to improve our mood and mental health and wellbeing.
Embracing nature is key to creating a calm and tranquil space within our homes, to escape the chaos outside it.
Image: Marble Bathroom- Studio Suss
Ditch Fast Interiors
We can’t avoid trends, whether in interior design or in fashion. But, with quick trends comes a huge amount of waste, and we shouldn’t have to change our house design every couple of years to keep up.
When I advise a client I always focus on the function of the room over the style, as function will never change. If they have young kids who they feel they need to shape their home around, I gently remind them, as I have experienced with my own children, that they have a huge variety of tastes throughout their childhoods. Equally, when designing the layout of their home, I always remind clients to not only design with small children in mind; this saves renewing furniture or worktops as their kids grow taller.
Separate Your Spaces
With the pandemic forcing us to work, exercise and study at home, the previous open-plan style that everyone wanted no longer fits our needs. Now to avoid having to sneak through the back of a Zoom call or listen to your children’s maths classes, the need to separate our spaces is becoming increasingly important.
One of my clients added a space that their family calls the ‘The United Nations’ which is a bench in the hallway where they can spend time together but not encroach on anyone’s private space. I think this is a great example of how separate zones can be beneficial to family life and reduce the stress of being on top of one another.
When designing a home, consider which parts are most used and for what purpose, then separate where necessary with doors or partitions. Or, if you want to design your current space, and are lucky enough to have a long hallway with a window, you could place a desk at the end to use as a workspace – although it’s not as private, it will at least be out of the way of those in the kitchen or living room.
Image: United Nations’ Bench- Studio Suss
Never seen before to this extent, the design choices that are emerging are born of our growing consideration of our own mental health and wellbeing. By introducing calming colours, natural elements, and defining our work and play zones, we can have a more symbiotic relationship with our spaces as we go into the New Year. Equally, as the importance of our environment continues to grow, sustainable spaces will continue to pop up and innovate until sustainable choices are no longer an ‘alternative’ but an industry standard.
– Simone Suss
Published on January 11, 2021 by how-to-create-an-exceptional-space-in-2021