The current global change in emphasis on wellness has encouraged individuals to seek out better lifestyles via a collective awareness of the body and mind. A person’s health has been demonstrated to be significantly impacted by external variables such as their financial situation, social and familial ties, environment, and geographic location. But it soon became clear that maintaining one’s bodily and mental well-being depended on more than just having access to medical facilities and qualified medical care; it also depended on a number of elements pertaining to the standard of the built environment.
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Architects can choose to create better designs, which will then assist people in making better decisions. What therefore qualifies as good interior design, and what elements contribute to the quality of any interior space? The “good” side of design will be examined in this interior emphasis, as we examine how architects met user demands by taking into account accessibility, economic diversity, environmental concerns, and demographic diversity, all of which are independent of aesthetic preference.
Successful places are often those that fulfill their intended function. Although it may seem like functionality limits designers’ creativity, few successful interior designers do not recognize that every spatial decision they make must take functionality into account. Every space has a purpose, and in order to fulfill that purpose, the space must be designed to accomplish certain functions. However, when individuals made decisions to live healthier, more fulfilling lives, and realized how important wellness is, it became imperative that architects adopt a more holistic design philosophy, promoting human behaviors via environments that heal the mind, body, and spirit.
The World Health Organization now defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being,” as opposed to simply the absence of illness. The general component of health currently encompasses the relationship between social and psychological variables in addition to the well-known medical factors, despite the fact that its definition has been evolving throughout time. Furthermore, methods and materials for increased fairness and relevance are being assessed and put into practice.
In essence, designers should aim for physical health metrics that hit a “good enough” criterion to prevent diseases. Thankfully, architecture has the ability to create interactive environments by organizing users’ connections with the environment and each other via the design of form, space, and materials. Since there are no one-size-fits-all design solutions that guarantee that every health parameter is optimal, there are many different principles of good design in the twenty-first century. Nonetheless, it is thought that the concept of well-being is primarily composed of two essential components: feeling good and working well. To put it succinctly, design in all its forms should guarantee comfort, enjoyment, and health.
Designers primarily consider air quality, thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort, as well as materials that inhibit the growth of mold or hazardous germs, in order to protect the physical health of a space’s inhabitants. A “condition of mind which expresses satisfaction” with the surroundings, whether they thermal, visual, or aural, is how the term “comfort” is typically described. However, what a middle-aged professional finds pleasant may not be what a university student considers to be physically comfortable or healthy. This is where thoughtful design enters the picture; it should be adaptive and flexible, meeting the needs of one user without sacrificing the needs of the others. Designers create kid-friendly environments with curved edges, non-slip materials, and scaled-down fixtures and interventions to fit the child’s size. Interior areas with little to no steps, simple access and more open areas, and thoughtfully designed built-in fixtures facilitate the movement of the elderly.
Emotional well-being is another aspect of well-being that frequently coexists with physical well-being. This characterizes interior spaces that radiate joy, optimism, curiosity, calmness, and involvement as they transition into a setting that is increasingly subjective and psychological. An abundance of natural light, the integration of nature, a reasonable interior temperature, the use of snug and pleasant materials, and the duality between private and public areas are all known to contribute to emotional well-being. To create a balanced and comprehensive living environment in the interior spaces people occupy, some designers also apply the principles of Feng Shui.
Mental Health and Workplace Performance
Key physical design elements have been linked to the Five Ways to Well-Being (Connect, Keep Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, and Give), which have been linked to improved mental health and increased productivity, according to a recent study. Above all, granting residents individual control over the interior environment enables them to design spaces that complement their habits and behaviors, be it through natural materials or lighting, sound, or spatial arrangement.
Key family spaces should receive direct sunshine for a minimum of two hours each day, while rooms that are utilized mostly in the morning, such the kitchen and bedrooms, should be oriented towards the east to promote the circadian rhythm. High head height windows improve the room’s distribution of natural light and offer more visual access to the surrounding landscape. It is advised that bedrooms have efficient blackout solutions, including thermal shutters or adjustable louvers, which also provide nighttime ventilation, to promote controlled sleeping patterns.
Acoustic comfort is crucial for productivity in business interiors, especially in areas used for working and learning. These areas are frequently used by a number of individuals with different interests, so it’s best to have a few private, quiet areas for studying or reading, or sound-proof rooms for leisure activities like listening to music, to avoid disturbing other people. It is advisable to have windows or dispersed meeting areas in addition to these private areas to allow employees to interact socially with one another. individuals tend to concentrate more on theoretical work in rooms with low ceilings, while larger spaces give off an air of liberation that naturally encourages individuals to think more creatively. The furniture is treated with the same consideration. People are more inclined to pick places with curved furnishings and fit-outs than rectilinear ones since they are typically thought of as pleasing shapes.
The Welfare of the Environment
A number of tactics have been proposed to combat climate change via architecture and design, encouraging engagement with nature and fostering a pleasant atmosphere, in light of the urgency of the present global issue. In addition to taking important steps to reduce the carbon footprint left by the building and manufacturing processes, designers have spared nature and allowed it to naturally take over interior spaces by using biophilic design elements and by building with or covering surfaces in locally-sourced materials.