The pandemic has had some people re-evaluateing their concept of home and their needs. “Over the last two years, many of us have experienced loss of some kind. Never before have we spent so much time at home, working and isolating for months,” says registered interior designer, Lisa Sandham, citing many of her clients who have wanted a greater focus on health and finding ways their home could improve their well-being.
“The provincial stay-at-home orders gave clients the opportunity to reflect on changes they were considering for their homes,” she says. “Transforming their space into their own personal oasis became a priority for many people, and the trend has continued into 2022.”
A focus on comfortable, durable, and luxurious furniture pieces
“Most clients are choosing upgrades to upholstery options on their sofas, such as memory foam wrapped in down,” explains Sandham. “Durable commercial fabrics, such as Crypton, are very popular. These fabrics are beautiful, cosy and sustainable, easily repelling spills and stains.” With winter just around the corner, she advises a decorating strategy of comfort, with pieces that are both pleasant to the eye and that feel luxurious. Adding seasonal accessories such as a warm throw, accent cushions, layered bedding and additional accent lighting are all ways to create a warm and inviting environment during the most frigid months.
Planning for the future
“Several of our projects over the last year have centered on main-level renovations that address aging in place safely and comfortably,” she says. “There has been an increased focus on integrating accessible design, lighting and smart home technologies.”
She suggests being realistic when considering an improvement. “With many older homes, achieving 100 per cent accessibility is not possible without an extensive renovation or addition.” In most scenarios, she says interior changes include providing a main-floor bedroom and bathroom with a large shower, widening existing doorways, and adding additional structural blocking within the walls for future grab-bar installations.
Elements of nature
Sandham’s design ethos extends to a homeowner’s well-being. “Introducing biophilic elements that mimic our natural environment has been well studied and shown to improve overall health,” she says.
In biophilic design, elements of nature are incorporated into a space to boost wellness. Sandham suggests taking inspiration from the natural environment with a focus on natural colour palettes, introducing plants, choosing natural and sustainable interior finishes, including curvaceous lines in both furniture and art, and creating desirable outdoor views through landscape design.
An additional component of biophilic design is lighting, whether it be maximizing natural daylight or having the ability to control artificial lighting to mimic the colour temperatures we naturally experience throughout a day. “Studies have shown this contributes to positive health effects,” says Sandham, and recommends exploring smart LED bulbs and fixtures that are compatible with smart home apps and voice control. “The perception of light and what is comfortable can vary from one individual to another. Having the ability to control this element of design in our living spaces can add tremendously to the enjoyment of our homes.”
Incorporating these fundamental changes can be transformative, turning a person’s home into a “paradise” to enjoy, which reflects their personality, tastes and preferences.