Sense (and Science) of Place: Healing Spaces

A home remodel can home can give your home a new sense of place.

A home remodel can home can give your home a new sense of place.

You can feel the difference when you walk into a home designed with a connection to nature in mind. It just feels warm and welcoming. Some people call that a “sense of place,” but it is more than just a feeling—there’s science behind creating healthier, happier homes.

How your home can stimulate healing

A well-designed home can literally help heal the sick. The scourge of cancer continues to claim more than 1,500 Americans every day. In the battle to save lives, science continues to research promising treatments from aggressive medical interventions to gentle home design approaches.

One encouraging study concluded that well-designed spaces can aid in cancer patients’ healing. Dr. Ellen Fisher, Dean of the New York School of Interior Design, points to one key factor in creating healthy, healing spaces: a link to the outside world.

Connecting to nature and community

Human beings are drawn to the company of others and to nature. Those connections reduce the stress of an increasingly harried modern life. Research has shown that scenes with natural elements reduce stress significantly more than urban scenes. Instead of cutting people off from each other, a home’s design should create a sense of connection to community and nature. Bringing the outside inside can be simple. Try these easy design tips to improve your health at home:

  • When you are remodeling, design living spaces with plentiful windows. Position windows to take advantage of sunlight and scenery without making the mercury rise inside your home.
  • Remove heavy drapes to allow more natural light into your home. Control the light with blinds or shades.
  •  Design small outside seating areas for enjoying sunsets and temperate days.
  • Use natural materials for your flooring and counter-tops. Natural materials have the added benefit of being less apt to go out of style than man-made materials.
  • Incorporate house plants into your decorations. You can also sprinkle photographs or artwork of nature scenes throughout your home.

Health and happiness at home

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 87 percent of his or her time indoors. Bringing more of the outside in can increase your feeling of connectedness to the outside world and improve your health. It can also increase your happiness. Learn more about maximizing the positive emotional effects of your home here.

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