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How to Get a Wellness-Inspired, Living and Dining Room

People of all ages and levels of wellbeing are interested in leading their best lives in their homes and that means their homes must support them in all their health and wellness endeavors, with or without a gym membership.

Being at home more has made everyone think differently about how your home supports your health and wellness. Now and for the foreseeable future, your home is one of the most important assets in your life, not just as a financial investment but from an emotional stand point too.

You need it to be not only beautiful to your senses but also, supportive of the healthy lifestyle you want to lead. A bright, well-planned kitchen for prepping healthy meals; a bedroom designed as the perfect down time respite; a beautiful, comfy common area or two for reconnecting with yourself and loved ones; inspiring spaces for your workouts; and restful color schemes. Making your home ‘user friendly’ doesn’t mean you have to give up the aesthetics you want either, in fact, quite the contrary. How it looks is actually super important too!

A beautiful room has all the power of the ocean because it elevates your mood, energizes or relaxes you, and most importantly it inspires you to live a healthier, happier, more balanced life. But if your home is dragging you under instead of supporting you in your best life, let’s get you some real results post haste.

I’ve got you covered.

Where to Begin

Start your design projects with the living room and work your way around to the dining room and entry. Whether you design one room or your entire home you want the styles and colors to flow; to form a visually unified whole.

I always start with the living room. Sometimes you need additional window space, sometimes you need a doorway widened, and sometimes you need a strong visual anchor (some might call it a focal point) like a mantel, fireplace surround and flanking built-in bookcases. It depends on the home and budget.

Above, Leanne Ford

A room is like the inside of a box. It’s what you put on the inner surfaces of your box that counts. What paint will you put on the walls and ceiling? High quality paint has more pigment, a richer quality, and better formulated colors. I love Farrow and Ball, Pratt and Lambert, Fine Paints of Europe and Dunn Edwards.

What kind of flooring will you choose? Choose the best flooring materials you can afford and keep the choices to a minimum to avoid what I call patchwork quilt syndrome. I’m partial to flooring of bamboo, hardwood, natural stone and luxury vinyl tile. What will be the size and placement of the doors and windows? It depends on your room configurations and what will be seen from the new windows. All choices should be compatible with your architecture, geography and according to your local building codes.

Furniture and Accessories

Choosing furniture and accessories is an art, not a science! Therefore, strict decorating rules really don’t apply. However, there is always one best furniture arrangement in almost every situation.

Start each room by placing the largest pieces first, with no furniture placed on diagonals. When first starting out, I like to stand in the main entrance to the room, where you approach the room, generally coming from a formal or informal entry. I try to make the biggest design statement from this vantage point. In my own living room, you turn left from the formal entrance from a double wide doorway with a Palladian arch Since only the side of the fireplace is seen upon entry, I placed the sofa to be the main focal point facing the entrance. The sofa, main armchairs and cocktail table are grouped around the fireplace, floating in the room. I also chose this floating arrangement because the room is over 800 square feet and a room this large really needs two to three conversation areas, or furniture groupings.

Function always comes before aesthetics however, so if you don’t observe foot traffic, your furniture placements will look silly. For smaller living rooms with through foot traffic, furniture can be placed against the walls, about three to six inches from the wall. In another of our homes I didn’t place the sofa and cocktail table facing the entrance because it would have created a major bottleneck to one of the bedrooms. Instead, I placed armchairs in that spot. Because they didn’t require a cocktail table in front of them, they didn’t block traffic. And because the armchairs were the first thing seen upon entering this living room, I made that arrangement extra attractive with a unique end table between them and a beautiful arrangement of flowers.

An average size sofa is 90 inches wide. An average size chair is 34 inches wide. For larger rooms you can go well over 100 inches for sectional sofas and 40 inches for armchairs. Just remember with pieces this large, other furniture will look dwarfed if they’re not to this scale.

Choose simply and elegantly designed cocktail tables and lamps. A lot of designers think they can save their clients’ money by choosing cheaper lamps and tables but really, it’s better to save money on the overall size of your home rather than skimp on quality anywhere else in the home.

Today good quality lamps cost $800- 2,000 per lamp. Similarly, many cocktail tables today have poor quality and tacky design. When in doubt, choose iron framed designed cocktail tables with simple finishes in gold, black or gunmetal gray and thick, beveled glass tops. Wood finishes are particularly sensitive to nicks and chips in many of today’s products so again, go with high quality brands.

I’m fond of telling my clients and readers that a dining room is a vast sea of wood. Think about it. Wood chairs, wood table, wood sideboard. Add to that wood frames on the floors, base and crown molding and doorways. It has all the potential for being the coldest feeling room in the home! For this reason, I always have at least two chairs and drapery panels done in fabric. I love to coordinate them with whatever is going on in the formal living room, even if they not within sight of one another. Whether you have print fabrics or solid fabrics include a sense of continuity between the two formal room’s finishes and materials.

How your rooms flow; how you place furniture; how densely you furnish your home; the amount of natural light it has; the ceiling height; even the dimensions of the doors all add up to the overall feel of your home.

A home that’s open with plenty of natural light, natural materials, healing colors and clean lines give your home, and thus, you the feeling of wellness and contentment.

Thanks for dropping by Joy of Nesting! I love sharing all my best design and wellness tips with you right here on the blog and on my InstaGram page! But I also created this great little, at a glance check list to help you better navigate the whole new world of Wellness Design! It’s free yes, but it acts as a great primer and outline for your journey to a healthier home.

Here is the link to the Wellness Home Check List.

See you next time friend!

Shiree