With more of us working from home than ever, making our homes as safe and comfortable as possible is key. Here are some tips for creating your healthiest-ever home.
Improve your air quality
Breathing good-quality air when you’re inside is key to feeling your best. If you’re inhaling pollution, chemicals, gases or other irritants, you’ll quickly find yourself with a headache, fatigue and even allergies.
To keep air fresh, ventilate your house regularly and vacuum frequently so you’re not bothered by dust. Use perfumed air fresheners only where they’re really needed.
And when you’re redecorating, try to choose natural furniture and low emissions paints. Resene Zylone Sheen and Dulux UltraAir are both good options: their lower emissions are better for both the planet and you.
Not too hot, not too cold
There’s nothing worse than not being able to concentrate because you’re too hot! Manage indoor temperature over summer by keeping windows and doors open where possible and investing in a quality air conditioner or fan. Over winter, a heater and lots of blankets are your best friends.
Think in colour
Numerous studies show that mood is affected by colour – across cultures, for instance, blue is associated with good things (e.g., the sky, a deep lake). Try decorating your house in colours that will support your mood – for example, use pastels and neutrals to promote a sense of calm, or saturated warm tones to make rooms feel cosier.
Studies also show that colour preferences depend on individual factors like your age, sex, interests and experiences. It may seem obvious, but surrounding yourself with colours you like is a great way to lift your mood – so identifying what those colours are and seeking them out in accents like cushions and tablecloths could give you a boost!
The eyes have it
When you spend the bulk of your time at home, you come to know your interiors very well. Make it fun for your eyes by investing in objects you love looking at – whether that’s books, furniture or objects from your travels.
Keep it clean
Make your home a pleasant place to be by keeping it clean. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but a quick dust, vacuum and mop can make a world of difference to your mood and comfort. If cleaning feels like a chore, put on some tunes and get into the groove – it’ll be over in a snap!
Marie Kondo it
Feeling cluttered? Take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and sort through your possessions over a couple of weekends.
With each object, check that it’s either serving a purpose or sparking joy. If it does neither, pop it in a box for charity (for objects someone else could still use) or dispose of it sustainably. You’ll clear your space and feel much lighter for it!
Plants are your friend
The science is in: keeping plants is good for you. Whether you’re out in the garden or tending to an indoor monstera, plants filter the air you breathe and give you a rewarding sense of caring for something. If you’re short on time, choose something low-maintenance to start, like a cactus.
Noise can make it hard to concentrate and cause constant low-level irritation. Beat it with a pair of headphones and maybe some rain sounds or ASMR (see more on page 36). Ear plugs are a good last resort.
Embrace natural light
If you’re mostly indoors, it’s key to maintain your Circadian rhythm by exposing yourself to plenty of natural light during the day. Keep curtains open and have lunch in your brightest room or on the deck if you have one. At nighttime, put all your screens away a couple of hours before you go to sleep to help wind down.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but one key to creating a healthy home is to leave the house sometimes! Doing so will make the house novel to you and give you a chance to stretch your legs – so you can return refreshed.