Throughout history, the places and spaces we live in have been shaped by the need to limit the spread of infectious diseases.

For centuries, the design of our cities and homes has been steered by health concerns; from London’s cholera outbreaks which led to the creation of the city’s sewer system in the 1870s, to the Garden City movement in the late 19th Century driven by philanthropic factory owners wishing to combat the spread of tuberculosis amongst their laborers,

As Covid-19 puts health at the top of our priority list, it's no surprise that we are considering the impact our homes have on our personal health and wellbeing #thenewhealthierhome Click To Tweet

So as individuals, with our health rising to the top of our priority list since the arrival of Coronavirus, it is no surprise that we are considering the impact our homes have on our personal health and wellbeing.

Lockdown has focused our spending onto our homes and whereas previously we may have looked outside of the home to achieve health goals, we are now looking to create a healthy environment within our homes

Our Changing Priorities

Research carried out by Ikea for their Big Home Reboot report found that the pandemic has put health and wellbeing at the front of our minds and the homes of the future will need to be ready for the next health crisis, as well as our emotional needs.

Skipton Building Society, when conducting research in August into what people were looking for in their ‘dream home’, found that our priorities are changing, with the emphasis moving to the aesthetics of health such as more natural light and an outdoor space.

Our priorities for our homes are changing, with the emphasis moving to the aesthetics of health such as more natural light and an outdoor space #thenewhealthierhome #kbb #consumerinsight Click To Tweet

Another consumer research project, this time by home security company Ring, highlights the emerging Biophilia trend for creating a garden environment indoors and bringing with it the health and wellness benefits of being closer to nature.

The Invisible Pollutant

Working from home, and in particular when on Zoom or Skype calls, has made us more aware of the amount of noise we have going on around us in our homes.

Very much an invisible pollutant as many layers of sound can build up over time. Spending more time at home has emphasised the detrimental effect of being constantly surrounded by noise from domestic appliances, technology and poor acoustics is having on our mental health and energy levels.

Quiet Mark, the international consumer champion award programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society charity, is seeing an increased interest in products that ensure that acoustic design is as important as visual design.

Combating Sleep Deprivation

At a time when we have never been more obsessed with our sleep, new working from home regimes are having a negative impact on our sleep patterns as we suffer from an ‘always on’ work culture, poor daytime task lighting and constant light pollution at night from street lights in urban areas.

Light is one of the biggest influences on our circadian rhythm, which essentially regulates the body’s 24-hour cycle of sleep, wake, hunger, alertness, hormone release, and body temperature. And generally keeps us healthy.

Research by the Global Wellness Summit into Circadian rhythm* and the impact artificial lighting has on our sleep patterns is expecting the Circadian lighting market to jump from the $400 million it was in 2017, to $4 billion by 2024, as our understanding of the impact light has on our sleep patterns, and ultimately our mental health, increases.

According to building engineering consultants Hoare Lea Considering we spend so much of our time in lit buildings, it is vital that we explore the possibilities for circadian-centric lighting design within our spaces. There’s a great deal of excitement about the potential wellbeing impacts that this new understanding gives to the lighting design of interior spaces“.

Air Quality

Air quality is another aspect of the healthy home that is fast moving up the priority list. In our efforts to become more energy and heat efficient, our homes are becoming like sealed boxes without any opportunities for fresh air to enter the home and flush out the stale, contaminated air.

Activities such as cleaning and cooking at high heat produce harmful chemicals that make this situation even worse, along with formaldehyde from some of our furniture and VOCs from our synthetic paint for up to five years after the paint has dried

A year ago, Trend-Monitor interviewed Chaline Church of FreeSpace Design, a healthy interiors architecture practice that only specifies healthy, innovative architectural materials, many of which carry the Cradle to Cradle certification.

Church pointed out that we spend on average 90% of our time indoors, yet our interior air quality are often more toxic than outdoor air quality, and we can be in fact living in ‘a petri dish of toxins’

We spend on average 90% of our time indoors, yet our interior air quality is often more toxic than outdoor air quality #thenewhealthierhome Click To Tweet

Globally, it would appear that we agree … a YouGov report on behalf of Blueair that quizzed more than 6,000 people across three generations from five different countries about their perceptions of air quality, found that how it affects health is a major concern for many of us and has a growing influence on the decisions that we make about not just our housing, but also our holidays, gym memberships, restaurants, and schools.

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