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Industry insights

5 ingredients for wellbeing through interior design.

An ever-growing demand to consider wellbeing within interior design, got us asking the question, what are the ingredients for achieving this utopia of design?

Focussing on form and function, misses the key question, how does a space make you feel? - John Allsopp, founder of John Allsopp Studio.
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We wanted to share top tips from leading industry names about how to tangibly deliver wellness through interior design schemes.

Discussed on the eporta stage at Decorex by leading designer Sophie Elborne- founder of Kitesgrove Interiors, famed architect John Allsopp- founder of John Allsopp Studio, Joa Studholme- Colour Curator for Farrow & Ball and chaired by Laura Normanton- Executive Editor at House and Garden.


My take on well being begins with the individual. - John Allsopp

Long has there been a universal impression of what wellbeing looks like, soothing neutral palettes, with touches of foliage and earthy wooden touches. For some, this may be an accurate portrayal of what relaxes them and makes them feel at home.

However, as the panel pointed out, how an individual feels in a space is exactly that- individual. It's unique to them, as Joa says, "wellbeing is about celebrating our differences".

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Interrogating the brief and empathetically understanding the client allows you to design a space that is representative of them, even if it is fluorescent pink.

"There isn't an equivalent for the word home in french. It's roughly translated as chez soi which means 'at yours'."- Sophie Elbourne, founder of Kitesgrove.


Home is where we start and end our day, so it stands to reason a sense of comfort should be prioritised throughout. - Sophie Elbourne.

Comfort also comes down to individual taste, especially when it comes to furniture selection- but some essentials make a guest feel at ease regardless of personal preferences.

Identifying the purpose of a room is a great place to start. Understanding how a room will be used and giving it a decisive function prevents it from feeling awkward and unintentional. As John pointed out, the architect has a lot to do with this too.

"My role is to set the scene for interior design to create wellbeing with interactive, tangible items. By setting the stage, you want to make wellbeing more likely."

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Don't fight natural light. Joa discussed that trying to counteract the compass and artificially brighten rooms with lighter colours when there is only ever an easterly light source is counterintuitive, it feels jarring.

Accepting the proportions, light and action of the room enables wellbeing to occur without distractions.

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We've also seen a growing trend toward embracing imperfections, this doesn't mean unfinished surfaces or paintwork, but forgiving items that enable the user to feel more at ease with themselves.

The use of natural materials helps with this, as they naturally have imperfections, as Sophie pointed out, "there are no straight lines in nature".

"Our home is our sanctuary."- Joa Studholme


The home should represent visual peace. - Sophie Elbourne

It's no surprise that the senses play an important role in how we interpret a space and our understanding of comfort. All three panellists but Sophie, in particular, shared some of their tips for considering the senses.

There is visual importance of decluttering a space, offering minimal distractions just curated pieces that a client loves, according to Sophie- "Bombarded by visual information, and visual clutter, our homes should restore balance."

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Interrogating the surface choices for the quality of their touch and feel is also critical. By asking yourself what atmosphere are you trying to create and how can the textures you introduce help.

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Certain materials also help minimise the noise as you transition from one area to the other. Other acoustic properties within apartments and terraced houses are vital for wellbeing. No-one wants their peace effected by the person above or beside them.

"100% materials and finishes are prioritised as much as possible. Not only is it better for the environment, but it feels better." - Sophie Elbourne


The way the building relates to its immediate environment is absolutely key. - John Allsopp

From the natural environment to the historical context of a structure, spaces that reflect their surroundings automatically encourage a sense of calm.

Celebrating original features, reintroducing them or enhancing the external façade of a property, automatically boosts someone's connection to it and the way it makes them feel.

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Joa recommends celebrating your context and enhancing those strengths by painting the walls and window frames in the same colour, especially if outside there are gardens or spectacular views to enjoy.

Sophie also discussed mixing antiques with modern finishes in a way that ties a space together. Those older pieces add historical context to a building, making the scheme feel more grounded.


When the world's a little bit of a muddle, we want to go back home and be comforted. Colour is a big part of that. - Joa Studholme

Colour is one of the simplest things to change in any scheme, yet often it has one of the most substantial effects on our mood. To understand it's importance, Joa told us a story about the Farrow and Ball colour Jitney.

"Named after the bus that takes you from New York to the Hamptons at the end of a busy week, we are aiming to recreate the feeling of 'oh my word the week's over, and I'm going home, and my home's going to give me a great big hug."

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Often in the name of creating a scheme that flows, colours of a similar palette are layered next to each other. Still, Joa advised that a harmonious array of colours was much more effective and less monotonous, allowing rooms to have different moods.

Joa also discussed the everlasting love affair clients have with green. According to her most people find the colour makes them feel protected and grounded due to its correlation with nature.

However, even neutrals with a green base tone evoke a feeling of belonging, as the tone is so historical it feels like a room's always been that way.

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Colour can also insight a change of mood as Sophie pointed out:

"We like to finish surfaces in smaller spaces like hallways and staircases in a much deeper tone. This way, the adjoining spaces feel much brighter and more invigorating".

You can enjoy the panel discussion in full here.

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