Homes

Tips for a happy, healthy home

Your living space should be as safe as houses.

More than ever, we now require our homes to be a sanctuary – a private haven where the cares and pressures of the world do not intrude. The home should be an enveloping, warm and creative environment where family members of all ages feel relaxed and safe.

The longer you live in your home, the more likely you are to feel in synch with it. As the seasons come and go you’ll have got to know which rooms are sunny and which ones need brightening. You’ll have noted areas prone to damp. You’ll have observed where different family members like to spend their time and why.

You might have come to the conclusion that major changes are required to make your home as healthy as possible, or perhaps you’ve concluded that a few simple tweaks will do the trick. Either way, good planning is essential, so take your time, write lots of lists, and do your research thoroughly.

**Materials

**The “make-do-and-mend” culture that has grown during the recession places emphasis on the satisfaction that can be found in incorporating natural materials with vintage items. Pieces of driftwood, collections of shells, that lovely mosscovered garden bench or a cleverly revived piece of furniture all have their place in the healthy home and its surroundings. This trend steers away from plastics and synthetic materials.

Heating and ventilation

A home needs to be cool in summer, with plenty of natural ventilation, and warm in winter. Traditional open fires are becoming less prevalent as home owners discover the joys of installing wood burners, using gas for heating or installing a heat pump. All these options are healthy – technology has come a long way and most choices will see you saving money in the long run.

Storage

While a minimalist style might be fine for single people or couples without kids, when the patter of tiny feet comes along, good storage is going to be vital. At every stage of a child’s life – be they babies or teens – they come with clutter. The more you can contain that clutter the better, in terms of both your mental health and general safety. There are any number of options available, from professionally designed cupboards and wardrobes, to the simple lidded plastic boxes you can buy at chain stores. While some people claim they thrive in a messy environment, I know from experience that a lovely, orderly home is good for the soul.

**Colour

**Choosing the right colours for your home can make a big difference. Small, dark rooms can be opened up and made brighter simply by choosing the right paint. If you can afford an interior designer or colour consultant to help, I do advise it. Today’s homes tend to be more open plan, so choose a palette of two or three basic colours and use them throughout to achieve cohesion and harmony.

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