“Not Just a Pretty Space:” Interior Design Advice from the Pros at High Point Market

“Not Just a Pretty Space:” Interior Design Advice from the Pros at High Point Market

We’ve all been spending more time at home the last seven months. How can we make our homes work for our wellness? On Wednesday, Oct. 14, we got to hear what design professionals have to say on the subject in a High Point Market webinar.

Diane Favley is the Editor-in-Chief for
Furniture, Lighting, & Decor magazine.

“The Intersection of Design and Wellness” was a panel discussion hosted by Diane Favley, editor of Furniture, Lighting, & Decor. Panelists included interior designers Lori Miller, Charles Pavarini, Clodagh as well as design marketing specialist Michael Peterson.

Interior design is about more than “a pretty space.”

Our spaces influence how we feel and are integral to our rhythms such as getting good rest. We all know this. But there’s more to it than that.

Charles Pavarini commented, “It’s about more than a pretty space. When you feel good about your environment, it extends to how you feel about others and yourself. COVID has helped us stop and look at how we live, how we live with others and the environment.”

Lori Miller articulated that her goal as a designer is to have her clients walk into their space and “breathe a sigh of relief.”

Eliminating clutter and creating a space where the client loves to be reduces stress. Not only that, but a home that is aesthetically pleasing, well-lit and comfortable can boost creativity.

Michael Peterson is the founder and president of
Visionary Design Marketing.

Michael Peterson cited the new Apple headquarters as an example of the intersection between design, science, and wellness. Apple CEO Tim Cook charged designers with creating a space that encourages creativity, where employees want to be.

Advice for designers: Explore the overlap between design and science.

Peterson encouraged the designers attending High Point Market to seek out partnerships and third-party accreditation as a “health-based design firm.” Medical and research professionals are already doing work on studying and quantifying the effects of color and other aspects of interior environments. These scientific fields can serve as a bridge to help designers articulate the value of a well-designed space to their clients.

To learn more, Peterson suggested that designers reach out to local colleges to get connected with researchers in fields such as neuroaesthetics.

More Advice from Designers at High Point Market

Clodagh is a renowned designer who thinks of her work as
part of a multi-disciplinary effort to “spread the fun around,”
she said in the High Point Market webinar.
Photo by Jonathan Bremer.

While High Point Market is a great place to dream big for design, panelists gave down-to-earth advice. We distilled some of the highlights and takeaways for you.

How to create spaces of refuge:

As many of us are at home all day everyday, having a place to retreat is especially important.

Designer Clodagh had many creative suggestions, such as using a large work of art as a screen to separate your desk space from your bed if your bedroom and office are one and the same. If all the rooms in your home are accounted for, “[f]ind your place and claim it,” she says.

Sometimes a chair by a window is all it takes to create peace and quiet.
Image courtesy of Chad Mellon for Atomic Ranch.

Clodagh elaborated that you do not necessarily need an enclosed room, but you can use a chair by a window or even a specific task like cooking. Inform those you live with that while you are in that chair or while you are cooking, that is your time and you do not want to be disturbed. Your body will learn to respond to the space you choose, as long as it is consistently set aside for the purpose of meditation or quiet.

Charles Pavarini is an interior designer with the eponymous
and award-winning Pavarini Design.
Pavarini emphasized the importance of lighting at
Wednesday’s webinar.

Pavarini shares his five essential elements of a space that contributes to wellness.

Charles Pavarini’s five key elements are:

  1. Improved air quality (this includes filters as well as plants)
  2. Flexible lighting (controlled and adjustable to aid in cicadian rhythms)
  3. Ergonomics/movement (especially consider floorplan and furniture layout)
  4. Thermal comfort
  5. Acoustic comfort (“When you want silence, can you achieve it?”)

Question your clutter.

Lori Miller is an award-winning interior designer at LGC, Inc.

Most of us know that clutter contributes to stress. Lori Miller noted, however, that “many people like clutter” just the same. The trick is why. Is it to have certain items close at hand, or is it to hold onto mementos that remind them of a loved one? The answer will help lead to a solution, such as a bookshelf for precious mementos where the objects can remain in view but out of the way.

Ideas for when space and budget might be tight.

Clodagh didn’t hesitate when asked what someone on a tight budget can do to improve their space. “Make basics simple, and set aside 15% of your budget for astounding beauty.” She recommends immersive art, meaning art that takes up an entire wall and presents something that you love to see.

Miller also suggested that paint color is a great way to refresh a space without much additional cost, if you already planned to repaint.

The importance of plants was also a recurring theme, and a living wall with an indoor water feature sounds dreamy. However, you can always start with good old-fashioned houseplants. Even for those who are convinced they do not have a green thumb, Clodagh recommends jade plants. “Jade plants will survive almost anything,” she says.

Statement art and color can make a huge qualitative contribution to a space.
Image courtesy of Bret Gum for Atomic Ranch.

To view the full webinar, visit their Youtube page. For more on houseplants, or High Point furniture, please visit our Lifestyle coverage.

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