From glass interior walls that maximise natural light to pretty courtyard gardens that blur the boundary between indoors and out, and from soothing cement bathroom design to wood cladded bedrooms, the clever tricks below can make a world of difference to your happiness at home.
1. Going all the way
Exposure to daylight boosts wellbeing, so why not introduce windows into interior walls? Here, large glass panes pull light through the kitchen and into the heart of the home, brightening up the hallway and making for a happier mood. To further facilitate the free flow of light, the staircase has a glass balustrade to bring more sunbeams into the basement below.
Get the look: Design, bespoke four-panel window, from £3,000, and bespoke glass balustrade, from £4,000, all EMR Architecture
2. Holding court
The Romans got it right with their internal courtyards (or atria), which created tranquil spots to add light and ventilation. Today’s courtyards may be smaller but they’re no less beneficial, flooding the heart of the home with natural light and bringing the outside in. The best time to plan a courtyard is during the initial design phase when it will be less costly and disruptive.
Get the look: Interior, Helen Green Design Studio. Furniture, George Smith. Upholstery, Zimmer & Rohde, Fox Linton and Marina Mill. Lighting, Cox London. Similar rug, Twin Malta, from £50, Modern Rugs. Find afire pit at Homebase
3. Nature calling
Blurring the boundaries between inside and out, this bathroom was designed to make the most of a secluded courtyard. Michelle Fieldsend of A Fresh Touch transformed it into a serene oasis using in-ground plantings, potted greenery and a living wall. In the bathroom itself, a strategically placed mirror reflects the lush vista. ‘I also purposely chose a dark, moody tile to create a beautiful contrast with the natural light,’ says Michelle. Even when it’s too chilly to keep the doors open, this bathroom is still at one with nature all year round.
Add a final wellbeing flourish with fresh seasonal herbs and flowers: ‘Plant spring bulbs to fill the air with perfume,’ says Caryn Hibbert, founder and creative director of Thyme. ‘Paperwhite narcissi are always a favourite and can last for weeks.’
Read Also:Cool Ways To Bring The Outdoors In
4. Spa elegance
A cement-based coating creates a simple look in this stripped-back space, echoing minimalist, relaxing spa vibes. Called microcement, it has a seamless, smooth finish (negating the need for grouting) and is available in a range of colours and textures. What’s more, you won’t need to remove any base material (as long as it’s stable), so you’ll save on construction costs, too. Best of all for bathrooms, microcement is impermeable if installed correctly. Use a specialist for a quality finish.
Your bathroom is another key spot in the house to improve wellness. ‘Aromatherapy oils, candles and soft towels will help you clear your mind and relax after a busy day,’ says Tiffany Duggan of Studio Duggan.
Get the look: Interior, Sophie Roussel Design, Studio McW. Elements thermostatic ¾in shower mixer, from £877; diverter valve, from £710; Elements wall-mounted hand shower, from £679, all The Watermark Collection
For cleaning the bathroom, harsh antibacterial and chlorine-based products are outdated and not necessary. ‘The surfactants in greener products loosen and penetrate grime, so you’ll find the end result is just as good – if not better – than chemical cleaners,’ says Jackie Ashley, founder of Ashley & Co.
Read Also:Stylish Concrete Bathroom Ideas
5. Into the woods
To create a bedroom that feels like a comforting and natural cocoon, interior designer Olivier Gay of OG Architecture used wooden poles to clad the walls and ceiling in this unpretentious alpine retreat. The texture creates an authentic, rustic room, which Olivier then painted in a subtle grey shade. His choice of colour increases the sense of space without sacrificing any feelings of intimacy, setting the scene for a restful sleep.
Get the look: Interior, OG Architecture. Simliar paint, Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite estate emulsion, £62 for 2.5ltr. Try the Throw Company for a similar faux fur throw
Natural fibres can also improve the quality of your sleep. ‘Research has proven that wool bedding promotes up to a 25% better night’s sleep due to the fibre’s ability to regulate humidity and temperature, preventing waking during the crucial stage four REM sleep,’ says Chris Tattersall, MD of Woolroom. ‘This is the stage that allows your body to repair, ensuring you wake up feeling re-energised.’
6. Vertical growth
Soften hard edges with a stress-busting living wall, a system which uses a modular framework that can be tailored to your needs. ‘Whether you’re looking to improve air quality or create an acoustic barrier, we look at light levels and location to ensure plants will thrive,’ says Calvin Dalrymple, sustainable design consultant at ANS Global.
Get the look: Similar bespoke living wall, ANS Global. Similar chair, 367 Hola, £954, Hannes Wettstein for Cassina
7. Snuggle up
Dusky plaster-pink provides a warm backdrop to the jungle-inspired fabric in this cosy bedroom. Repetition keeps the look simple yet bold and doesn’t overwhelm your senses when it’s time to sleep. ‘Elsewhere we kept pattern to a minimum, with just a subtle blue stripe on the oblong cushions to add a little edge,’ says Tiffany Duggan, founder of home and lifestyle brand TROVE and Studio Duggan.
You’ll spend about a third of your life in the bedroom, so make sure it’s a relaxing space. Encourage sleep with neutral colours, then focus on the energy. ‘Choose a bed with a headboard and position it against a solid wall,’ says feng shui expert Priya Sher. ‘Then place bedside tables either side. Keep electrical items to a minimum – the bedroom should be a space to charge our energy, not our phones.’
Get the look: Interior, Studio Duggan. Walls in Setting Plaster estate emulsion, £46.50 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball. Elsie headboard, from £920; cushion, £200, both in Jungle Faded on Oyster by Bennison Fabrics; oblong cushion in Pekin Rayure Blue by Le Manac, £150, all TROVE
8. Dine on colour
When fashion designer Roksanda Ilinčić was asked to style this apartment, she drew inspiration from her ready-to-wear collection. ‘I’ve tried to transport the idea of warm colours into the dining space, to create a feeling of sanctuary,’ she says. Terracotta is known to be a mentally stimulating colour, boosting dinner party discussions, and some even believe it enhances the appetite... either way, it is a wonderful shade to use in a space for conversation and food.
Get the look: Interior, Roksanda Ilinčić. Design, WilkinsonEyre. The Eros dining table is by Angelo Mangiarotti and the Costes café chairs by Philippe Starck for Baleri Italia – try 1stdibs for similar. Bespoke hand-painted mural, Caroline Denervaud. Kitchen island, Boffi
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Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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