“We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves. We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need — but are at constant risk of forgetting what we need — within. We turn to wallpaper, benches, paintings and streets to staunch the disappearance of our true selves.”  ― Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

 

We spend a large portion of our time in our homes entertaining, relaxing, working, sleeping, or watching tv. And as such, getting the design of our home right has a huge impact on our overall quality of life. A home has the potential to improve our lives in numerous ways. It can enhance our connection with friends and family, or provide a tranquil environment for rest and relaxation. It can improve our mood and well being and thus make our lives much more enjoyable. Above and beyond the basic requirements of accommodating our spatial, functional and financial requirements; a well designed home must cater to our individual tastes, emotional needs and desires. This can be achieved through the integration of the following qualities.

Spatial Quality

A clever and efficient spatial layout can maximize usable floor area and thus add value to a home. Yet it is the spatial quality of each individual area, and its relationship to the other spaces in a home, that can affect the way that a space is perceived and the way that it is used. High ceilings and an open plan can create a sense of openness and expansiveness for entertaining and interaction. While secluded spaces with lower ceiling heights can provide more intimate spaces for solitude and reflection. With considered spatial quality, and the appropriate connection between interior spaces and between inside and outside, a home will feel larger, will be easier to navigate, and will be better able to accommodate and encourage the desired behaviours and activities of its occupants.

Natural Light

One of the most basic and fundamental human requirements is access to natural light. It allows us to see clearly but it also affects the way that we feel. An abundance of natural light in a home can result in improved energy efficiency, while also helping to create a healthier living environment. Research has confirmed that homes with more daylight exposure have a positive impact on our physical and emotional well-being. Well lit spaces are uplifting and can boost our energy. Access to natural light can also improve sleep and thus our overall quality of life.  Through the strategic location of spaces and the positioning of windows and skylights we are able to control the level of natural light in a space (relative to its use), and thus improve our experience of the space and our overall health and well being.

Ambience

The ambience, or mood, of a home or space can also affect the way that we feel and behave. Through the selection of appropriate finishes and textures, we are able to create an ambience that is conducive to the intended use and experience of a space. The level of natural or artificial light, and how it interacts with the various textures and finishes, will also impact the aesthetics and ambience of a space. Warm and textured surfaces create a more intimate and luxurious ambience, while cold and hard surfaces create a more clinical and industrial feel to a space. The ambience of a home can go a long way to creating a home that is enjoyable to live in.

Conclusion

It can be seen from the above examples that the design of our home can be critical to our well being and our overall quality of life. A home is much more than a series of rooms and surfaces. It can affect the way that we feel and can provide us with the specific living environment and experiences that we need. A home has the potential to improve our lives and can literally transform the way that we live. Through the considered integration of spatial quality, natural light, and ambience, we are able to create a home that maximizes space, light and most importantly experience. A home that is a true reflection of you.