How to make your home work for your mental health

Rebecca Lewis Chapman, Director at IAD Company discusses how to make changes to your home that will uplift your spirit and improve your mental health

We often talk about health and wellbeing in the workplace but often less is spoken about wellbeing in our homes.

Home is where we spend the majority of our time, but if during that time we can’t find something, or we don’t have the space to store things out of the way, the likelihood is it’s actually a very stressful place to be rather than the escape from life’s complexities we would hope.

So many of us today are beginning to look differently at life in terms of creating experiences rather than collecting objects. The next step along this thought process, therefore, is to design and organise our homes in order to facilitate our desired lifestyles. Our living environments need to be a place of peaceful sanctuary; somewhere to escape, to relax, to breathe.

It’s one thing creating luxurious environments with coordinated colour schemes and sumptuous soft furnishings, but if a home isn’t supporting your lifestyle then all the beautiful hues and materials around you can come to mean very little indeed.

Ultimately, it comes down to how you want your home to work for you. We’ve worked on projects where homeowners have potentially amazing properties but a completely impractical layout to start with. What is now a beautiful two-storey flat with fantastic views of the London skyline had large areas which were mainly unused, unusable and thoughtlessly allocated when we came in, for example.

The roof terrace had become somewhere to store bikes and the large conservatory was little more than a dumping ground.  Our team got to work and, with the support of the homeowner, saw the potential the flat had to offer and created a home totally suited to them and their interests.

This in mind, every homeowner can reduce stress and improve mental health by making the best use of their home – but it has to start identifying what your needs as a homeowner are. Do you like outdoor sports? You’ll likely have lots of washing to deal with if so, so think about the location and design of your utility room. Maybe two washing machines would make life easier, for example, or a decent space to dry clothes out of the way of the hub of the home?

Do you have a dog who loves to jump in muddy puddles? Make sure you have a towel rail or space for a dog bath right by your back door if this is the case. If you are a keen skier and need to store equipment, think about creating a solution where it’s easy to access yet safely stored away so that it doesn’t encroach on daily life.

Family homes are busy but you can also create quiet corners with a comfy chair and versatile lighting – a go-to place for somewhere to think, relax and reflect. We think every home should have one! After all, home is not just a place but a feeling – and making it work for you practically is essential to maintain good mental health and wellbeing emotionally in the process.