Intelligent, luxury design with tailor-made, signature style is the mantra of Clayton-based Marcia Moore Design. That style includes a special layer of considerations when it comes to supporting health and wellness.
The firm's owner and creative director, Marcia Moore, says she and her team weave in wonderful design details for clients focused on the myriad of ways environments affect them psychologically.
"Since COVID, interior design has become even more personal and connected to our health and wellness. We've gone from homes that we were used to being in for only a few hours a day, along with sleeping, to realizing that those homes, spaces or certain rooms need significant upgrades to meet our needs," Marcia explains.
No matter what clients desire psychologically from their residences, Marcia says they design spaces that are calming or vibrant to help people with feeling safe, secure, less stressed, creative, peaceful or motivated.
"What one person needs is different than the next. People generally can describe what they're hoping for in nebulous terms, or they realize that their furniture isn't comfortable or functional, and that's where we as designers can certainly provide seamless solutions," she adds.
Marcia confirms a combination of properties should be used to create inviting, healthy rooms:
- Design principles -- balance, unity, variety, emphasis, movement, patterns, proportions.
- Design elements -- colors, shapes, forms, values, textures, space, lines.
- First impressions for guests come from exterior front entries and interior foyers. Ask what your entry says about you.
- How spaces are lit is very important for overall ambience. The best lighting source is the sun, so window size and placement are critical. Lighting can either boost one’s happiness or increase sadness and anxiety. Daylight is one of the most important factors in human performance.
- Size and spaciousness of rooms influences an occupant’s mood. Ceiling height impacts an individual’s notion of freedom or confinement and the subconscious perception of space and environment. People are more creative and focused in rooms with higher ceilings.
- Rich textures, colors and patterns yield variety in design. How furniture is arranged promotes positive or negative energy. Soft textures, such as shag rugs or velvet pillows, evoke comfort and happiness; metal elements promote strength and independence. Mixing materials is critical to the vibrancy of rooms.
- Biophilic designs that connect with nature are instrumental to one’s physical and mental health, fitness and well-being. This includes natural light, natural ventilation, natural materials, vegetation, exterior views, environmental shapes and forms. Environmentally impoverished habitats foster fatigue, symptoms of disease and impaired performance. Large commercial office buildings with few windows, fluorescent lighting, cold metal, and concrete are indicative of this and there's even a name for it: sick building syndrome.
- For our physical health, we no longer have lead or other harmful chemicals in paint. We intentionally can purchase environmentally friendly fabrics, carpets and vinyl. Some countertops come with antimicrobial properties. Smart technology now also includes healthy technology, air quality monitoring – the list of improvements is endless.
Years ago, Marcia says interior designers were the ones who started discussions about the psychology of design in how it affects humans physically and emotionally. "Scientific tests eventually corroborated what we knew all along. One of the easiest ways to positively affect your mood is to declutter. Our brains function better in a functional, structured environment, which promotes stability and calm. Decluttering helps us move away from the past and live in the present."
She says her firm definitely is getting more requests for spaces that promote wellness, including workout rooms, wellness rooms, saunas, meditation spaces, massage areas and hot tubs.
All design elements can evoke positive or negative emotional responses. Color is the easiest to understand, so Marcia suggests starting there. "Different colors evoke different responses. What's your favorite color and which one do you hate? Vibrant shades, such as yellow, orange and green, encourage socializing and communicating, while dark hues, such as purple, deep blue, red and darker shades of green, can feel gloomy. But when applied in appropriate places, they evoke a sense of comfort. Warmer shades of yellow and orange inspire relaxation and boost creativity. Icy blue and green, evoke a sense of calm," she says.
"The notion that home is a happy place is only true if that environment fosters happiness. Homes aren't happy per se, but can be molded and designed to promote good moods and health. This is the ultimate goal of an interior designer who focuses on health and wellness, not just pretty rooms," concludes Marcia.