How to Create a Healthy Home

In the winter, when many of us are spending less time outdoors, it is the ideal time to reflect on how we can boost our wellbeing by bringing nature indoors. We have an innate affinity with the natural world, known as biophilia, which is why bringing the outside in can have health benefits. We can do that in three key ways: by having natural objects in the home (e.g. plants, wood or shells); by incorporating representations of nature (e.g. in paintings, as sculpture or printed on fabrics); and by creating natural environments within the home (e.g. a safe snug, a vibrant living room or making the most of views). Here are a few ideas to consider…


Colour can evoke an emotional response in us associated with nature, so soft, natural blues remind us of the sky and water, which can help us to feel relaxed; vibrant greens bring with them the calm energy of forests and meadows; yellows represent sunshine and harvests, so energise us and help us feel sociable; shades of purple are like the mysterious light at dawn and dusk; and oranges and reds excite us like ripe fruit and berries did our ancestors. How does the colour scheme in each room in your home fit with how you want to feel in that room?


We are spoilt for choice when it comes to bringing patterns mimicking nature into the home, whether that is in artwork, fabric, wallpaper or floor coverings. The repeating patterns that are so common in nature, for example the ever-branching nature of trees and river deltas, are known as fractals and they can have a positive impact on our emotional health, so we can tap into that when choosing patterns for the home. A recent blog post of mine talks in more detail about fractals, so you can learn more about them in The Healing Power of Fractals.


Despite our modern lifestyles, we still have an internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, geared to the environment that we evolved in, and light has a strong influence on the timing of that clock. Disrupting it can cause all sorts of health issues: mental health problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, liver disease, obesity and diabetes to name but a few. You can learn more about optimising your circadian rhythm in my blog post Why You Feel Like Hibernating in Winter. To use light in your home to support your circadian rhythm, try a sunrise alarm to wake you naturally, let the morning light in as soon as you wake, have bright natural or artificial lighting during the day, dim the lights in the evening and block out all light sources in the bedroom at night, including from electrical equipment.


There are several ways to create the right acoustic environment for your home. For a peaceful space, you can reduce unwanted noise with judicious use of soft furnishings indoors or using planting in the garden to screen out road noise or noisy neighbours, and when you come to replace electrical items, you may be able to find quieter alternatives (the Quiet Mark website is great resource for that). And of course you can play the sounds of nature to mask unwanted noise or create a sense of calm.

Air Quality

You may not have much control over the quality of the air outside your home, but you can improve it indoors by choosing toxin-free paints, furnishings and household products, and by tackling any damp or mould problems by ensuring adequate warmth and ventilation. Houseplants can improve air quality too, as well as enhancing the environment in many other ways, all of which I cover in my blog post Houseplants as Part of a Healthy Home.

Introducing natural scents to the home can enhance the space, like herbs in plant pots in the kitchen or cut flowers in the hallway. Be careful to avoid artificially scented products (often described as fragranced), which may contain harmful chemicals known as phthalates (these are often found in air fresheners).


Tuning into our senses is a mindful practice, so natural textures in the home can help us tune into our sense of touch in an uplifting way. As biophilic interior designer Oliver Heath explains: “If a texture looks inviting, we take this as a ‘haptic invitation’ (an appeal to our sense of touch to have a positive tactile experience). These experiences can create a sense of belonging, and we feel more comfortable if we are surrounded by appealing textures.”

I hope you have found something to inspire you here to optimise your home environment for health by stimulating your senses with the sight, sound, scent and feel of nature. Stimulating your sense of taste I leave up to your culinary skills!