ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Cristina Villalón is the Co-Founder and Lead Designer at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. She directs both the Interior Design and Visual Merchandising divisions while overseeing all decisions made on a day-to-day basis at the firm.
Interior design is a powerful tool that can enhance our quality of life.
Design elements such as furniture, colors, and lighting can positively or negatively affect how we live in our spaces. These elements, along with the physical sensations and emotions that they evoke, allow us to shape and make spaces enjoyable, beautiful, and functional for us. Here are some interior design ideas that can help you enhance your quality of life.
1. CONNECT WITH NATURE
There has been a keen focus on the important connection between people and nature because it affects both our health and productivity. The pandemic has brought this issue front and center. Since we tend to spend most of our time indoors, we crave time to interact with nature. These interactions recharge us and regenerate our minds and bodies. More and more, interior designers are incorporating daylighting techniques, natural ventilation, indoor gardens, views of nature and water elements. Each element helps us fulfill our need to connect to nature.
2. FLOWER POWER
Adding flowers to your interior space will add beauty and freshness. My personal favorite are orchids because they live on for months at a time. If you don’t have fresh flowers, you can always add low maintenance plants. Flowers and plants will fill your spaces with beautiful colors, appealing scents and liveliness. We always add flowers to our projects! Here’s a bathroom we decorated with a centerpiece of beautiful flowers for our Contemporary Residence project design.
3. CANDLE AMBIANCE
Candles are one of our favorite accessories because they come in all shapes, sizes and scents! You can decorate any interior space with candles or even hang them on your walls. Candles will give a space more ambiance and will make it feel cozier at night. They also evoke feelings of peace, serenity, relaxation, and even romance. Check out how we incorporated candles into our Ocean Park Residence project.
4. SPACES WITH PURPOSE
Try to design each space based on its intended use. Sometimes mixing the use of spaces can negatively impact how we feel and function in those spaces. If you use your bed as a workspace for example, then it can become more difficult for you to be able to relax or get a good night’s sleep since your brain associates your bed with work. That’s why its recommended you keep your workspaces and relaxation spaces separate.
5. CREATE YOUR OWN
If you don’t have a defined workspace, simply create your own. For example, if you’re working from home and don’t have a designated workspace or spot you can take over, it is time to get creative! Stacked cardboard boxes, Lego bins, and baskets can be creatively repurposed to create workstations. Don’t overthink it! Find something you can use as a desk or repurpose furniture into a desk. This can be applied to any space you want to transform or give it another purpose. Work with what you have!
6. LET THE SUNSHINE IN
It’s important to choose the type of lighting that works for you. Having really strong lighting can cause headaches or stress, while having very soft lighting can cause eye strain if you’re trying to read a book We recommend trying to make the best use of natural lighting, like we did in our Inspirato Residence project.
Natural lighting makes any space look bright, open and airy. Designing your interior space around large windows can transform any room, and mood, for the better. Rearrange your space to let in all the natural sunlight by not blocking the windows with furniture. Use sheer window treatments so light can filter in.
7. KEEP IT TIDY
Keep your interior spaces clean and organized. Having a cluttered space will only add unnecessary stress and anxiety. If you’re short on storage space, find a way to utilize the walls. One can even purchase multi-functional furniture to organize and save space. You can also use shelves, bins, or other storage space alternatives to keep yourself organized. The Container Store is one of my favorites and they’re also a great mission driven company to support.
8. LOOK FOR FUNCTION AND COMFORT
Look for function and comfort in furniture. When it comes to chairs and sofas, choose them for their back support rather than just their looks. If you have an office at home for example, use an adjustable chair with good ergonomics for your workspace. Aesthetics are always important but what’s the use of having a gorgeous chair you can’t stand sitting in? Having functional yet comfortable furniture will help your body avoid back and neck aches.
9. COLOR MOOD
Studies have shown that different colors create certain emotions or feelings. Red, orange and yellow tones can evoke emotions ranging from warmth and comfort, to feelings of anger. While blue, green, and purple tones, can make people feel calmer and at ease. Neutral colors like the ones seen in our Campo House project below, help to create a welcoming space.
No matter what size of room you have, neutral tones help increase room size while still maintaining the room’s relaxing atmosphere. Since colors affect how we feel in a room, it’s important to paint your interiors spaces according to how you wish to feel in each room.
10. CONSIDER BIOPHILIC DESIGN
Biophilic design provides ways to meet our need to connect with nature by creating a natural habitat in our own built environments. In other words, it incorporates nature through natural forms, colors, textures and lighting. Some of the most popular biophilic design elements include rooftop and vertical gardens, as well as stone surfaces and indoor grassy areas.
Incorporating biophilic design helps reduce stress, promote physical, mental and emotional health, boost energy and creativity. We used a green carpet on the wall of our AD&V Office Headquarters to create a biophilic element and bring a feeling of freshness indoors.
11. BRING JOY
Last but not least, personalize your home space with items that bring you joy. You have total control here. Decorate your interiors with your favorite photos, accessories and books that inspire you. Think of all your senses. Add your favorite scents, incorporate your favorite sounds… you could even make sure you have your favorite chocolates lying around. 😉 Add natural elements like flowers or plants to reduce stress and boost your mood. Place furniture facing outside if you have views of nature. The more elements you add that bring you joy, the better you will feel in your home.
As you can see, different interior design elements like furniture pieces, changes in layout, and color selections, can determine how you feel and function in your home. Consciously designing your interior spaces can modify behavior, facilitate ease of use, and improve your quality of life. The design possibilities are endless, and the end result has a direct effect on your health and wellbeing. Interior design is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Make your home a sanctuary. An experienced professional can help you achieve the results you desire.