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'Bringing nature in': Home innovations meant to improve your health

Wellness design aims to bring nature into your home, to create a space that positively influences health and well-being, a Dallas designer explains.

DALLAS — During the pandemic, our homes have turned into makeshift work spaces, classrooms and gyms. And while we've been spending more time working from home, how well is your space working for you? 

Biophilic design incorporates nature into your home and research shows it increases productivity, boosts inspiration, and improves focus. A Dallas-based designer, who’s been incorporating this style into her clients' homes, gives us easy ways to tap into wellness-focused design.  

"More recently, in the past 200 years we’ve been spending time inside. So, 90% of our time is spent inside under artificial light, looking at a wall, looking at a computer," said Juliana Oliveira. 

The truth hurts. Oliveira, owner of Dallas-based Beyond Interior Design, says studies show we’re craving connections with nature. 

"Wellness design involves a series of elements in your home or in your workspace, so lighting, air-quality, biophilic design which refers to plants that we were talking about, bringing nature in. All of this contributes to creating ambiance or a space that influences your health and well-being in a good way," Oliveira said.

Oliveira shares a great place to start.

"Plants are a big part of that and it’s probably the easiest change you can make. It’s not all plants but several plants out there have air purifying qualities, something like a snake plant," said Oliveira.

Research suggests even faux plants have a positive impact on your well-being, or a picture of the outdoors; just looking at something natural boosts your mood.  

"If I can make my clients feel better and I see research behind it that proves it will improve their health that’s something I’m all for," Oliveira said.

Organic shapes, using natural materials like wood, in your design, is another way she suggests bringing the outdoors in.   

"Other things that you can do is opening the windows, just really airing out your home. Research shows that indoor air is 5x’s more polluted than outdoor air. I know," said Oliveira. 

With that in mind, Oliveira recommends choosing materials that don’t offset gasses including certain paints and formaldehyde-free furniture. 

But lighting has the biggest influence on your well-being at home. 

"The lighting really effects the chemistry of your body especially with all of the new LED lighting we’ve been introducing, we don’t have a lot of outdoor natural light coming in," Oliveira said. 

Effecting our sleep patterns and stress levels, she says light that mimics natural conditions is best in your bathroom to help your mood the morning.  

By now, we’ve all given our homes a scrub down, many will neglect cleaning the cleaning tools themselves, Oliveira recommends touchless cleaning solutions like soap dispensers, smart toilets and trash cans in the kitchen and kids’ bathrooms.