Last month, I was invited to the beautiful new Hillarys showroom in Bristol.

As well as the opportunity to browse their vast collection of window dressings and carpets, myself and the other attendees were treated to an incredibly informative and inspiring presentation by Interior Designer and TV Presenter, Oliver Heath.

Rather than being led by personal taste, fashion or trends, Oliver favours a design approach that focusses on creating more productive, happier and healthier spaces to live and work in.

Hillarys Made-to-Measure Window Dressings 1

Given my current health woes, I was genuinely fascinated by Oliver’s 13 design principles. {I was also pleasantly surprised to discover we’d been adhering to a few of them instinctively throughout my painfully slow recovery, especially in our master bedroom. Proof that listening to your body pays off!}

  • Social

Social spaces, private spaces, community.

  • Sensory

Biophilia, colour, light, sleep, acoustics, air quality.

  • Sensible

Warmth, Storage, Work Spaces, Security.

Hillarys Made-to-Measure Window Dressings 1

The portion of Oliver’s presentation I found most inspiring was the discussion of Biophilic Design. Biophilia (meaning ‘love of nature’) focuses on our innate attraction to nature and natural processes. It suggests we all have a genetic connection to the natural world, initially developed during the hundreds and thousands of years humans spent living on cultivated land surrounded by agriculture.

The American psychologist Edward O Wilson first coined the term in the 1980s when he observed that increasing rates of urbanisation were leading to a disconnection with the natural world. This trend, combined with modern pressures such as the ubiquitous presence of technology, means we have less opportunity to recuperate our mental and physical energy.

Research shows that incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment can reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates whilst also increasing productivity, creativity and self-reported rates of wellbeing.

Many of Oliver’s suggestions were simple and easy to achieve. For example, maximizing natural light, adding indoor plants and masses of greenery, using natural materials like wood or stone and incorporating patterns or textures that mimic those found in the natural world.

Hillarys Made-to-Measure Window Dressings 1

Oliver’s enthusiasm for Biophilic Design was contagious. So much of what he said made sense to me and I know I’ll be keeping his design principles in mind as we work through future DIY projects.

Here’s a quick rundown of a few small changes I plan to make in our home in order to improve our overall health and wellbeing…

  • Eliminate the Light Pollution In Our Master Bedroom

Layering thick curtains and a blackout blind will also create a thermal layer and improve insulation, a welcome bonus as we save for new double glazing at the front of the house.

  • Add More Indoor Plants and Greenery

Our main living space is already brimming with cacti, ferns, trailing ivy and a small palm, but I’d like to incorporate more greenery into other areas of our home. Sophie has a great post about the health benefits of houseplants here.

  • Incorporate a Variety of Textures Throughout the House

Oliver explained that the sensation of moving from one surface to another encourages mindful moments. We’ve already added the instafamous La Redoute Afaw Shaggy Rug to our bedroom and it’s definitely had the desired effect.

  • Clear the Chaos and Clutter From Our Attic Office

Given that both Mr L.A. and I work from home, our shared office deserves far more TLC than we’ve shown it thus far. There’s a lot we could do to create a space that’s more conducive to work and productivity. Oliver has some great ideas for creating mindful working environments here.

  • Streamline Our Daily Routine With Clever Storage

A place for everything and everything in its place, basically.

  • Have you given much thought to health and wellbeing while decorating your home?

Love Audrey xxx

P.S. This is a collaborative post. Read my full disclosure here.




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