rē•align Your Space With Your Wellness Journey
Taking interior design beyond aesthetic.
Vastu shastra. Feng shui. Biophilic design and the science of decluttering. Wisdom traditions and modern techniques name the many ways our living spaces impact every corner of our lives—but even without explanation, we instinctively feel and understand the impact of our external environment on our wellness journey and daily routines. Yet, so often, why do the parts of our homes that aren’t specifically set aside for self-care routines feel tertiary to our wellness practices and overall journey?
“The whole way we, as a society, have approached wellness and homes has been so grossly superficial that it is no wonder we feel unsatisfied,” Victoria Sass, founder of Prospect Refuge Studio, tells rē•spin. “I truly believe in, and have experienced, life-changing spaces, but it does take a bit of work and self-reflection, vulnerability, and commitment.”
The key is seeking the same balance in our homes that we pursue through physical wellness practices and routines. By exploring how our spaces and their design affect our productivity, mental and emotional health, and how we connect and communicate with individuals in our life—loved ones and new connections alike—we can align our physical spaces with our wellness routines and journey.
Cultivating an environment that works for you
When you think about curating your home environment, where do you traditionally start? Is it all about visual impact and the impression your space creates, or how certain pieces fit your aesthetic and stylistic preferences? Is your vision tailored to the space itself and considerate of what would work within its dimensions?
More often than not, we approach our interior design from a one-dimensional visual perspective—from the furniture we choose and the color we decide on for the walls down to the accent pillows that coordinate (or contrast, it’s your space) with the couch. We’ve been seemingly conditioned to see our homes from a strictly aesthetic point of view without taking our individual needs as humans into account.
What if we considered all these factors on a deeper level, seeking out the aspects of our home that align with facets of wellness? Harnessing the power of color theory and our psychological connections to specific colors; considering how natural and artificial lighting will affect our mood, sleep, and amenities (as well as how it will inspire or distract us); and prioritizing comfort beyond the physical realm can influence how our whole selves experience home and pour into the rest of our being.
“I used to think that good design would solve all problems, that it would help you build a perfect life,” Sass explains. “I’ve done that kind of design, you know—I’ve sourced the bombproof sofa, maximized storage capacity and functionality, pursued the impervious countertop, and curated immaculately styled shelves. But, I also realized that striving toward perfection is not where the magic lies. Instead, it’s in the uncertainty, in the possibility, in the connection.”
Our homes and spaces are where we can live out the pillars of rē•spin and complement our wellness journeys—take into account what happens in yours! Home is a place where we’re able to strengthen not only our bodies but our minds and spirits, so it’s essential to be mindful of our daily actions and health needs—not just how our home will appear visually. Home is a place where we can connect with family and friends and have a warm, safe place to cultivate memories and reminisce on old times. Creating a space that considers our genuine thoughts, feelings, and emotions help us explore our whole selves more deeply.
rē•invigorate your senses
When we look at a space to understand how it can best support our wellness, we begin to cultivate a sense of home. Our houses aren’t simply boxes where we sleep, eat, and spend time between our activities—these four walls become a personal container for many of our life experiences. We have the opportunity to evoke all of our senses and create a multifaceted experience for ourselves that doesn’t take our space for granted but appreciates everything it can provide us.
“The sooner you begin to think of your home like a partner rather than a servant, the better,” Sass explains. “It should be supportive but surprising, complicated but honest, the two of you should grow together over time but—and here’s the controversial part—too often we think of our homes in a one-sided way. We want our home to do all the work for us, but like any good and healthy relationship, if you try to control every little piece of the story, it will never have the chance to surprise you; you will never learn something new about it (and maybe yourself). In a nutshell, you’ll miss out on all the magic.”
Home is an individual experience because what we need to forge a path to our version of well-being is entirely unique. However, as we delve deeper into personal wellness practices, what we surround ourselves with at home can help our senses unlock new levels of self-care and support our mental and emotional selves.
Our spaces provide multi-dimensional layers: Our chosen decor reflects what we’re attracted to, the scents we prefer become a signature backdrop in our space, the textures between our fingertips or toes provide comfort, the music we play or media we consume impacts our thoughts, the meals we cook and serve can both feed our bodies and create a welcoming environment for conversation with our loved ones.
“Our homes are so much more than just a photography subject,” Sass says, “they’re the main stage where life is lived each and every day.” When we engage emotionally with our interior design process, our homes become more than a place to show off—they become powerfully personal and increasingly aligned with our wellness routines.
Sass uses her own office as an example: “What you don’t know is how it smells like oiled wood and incense, how the temperature is about 10 degrees higher than the rest of the house because of the oversized antique radiator, how the light always has a golden cast like a vintage photo, and how I can hear every footstep, creak, and groan in this old house because it is smack dab in the middle of the main floor,” she explains. “All of this comes together for a very comforting environment that gives this funny feeling of time standing still. Photography can tell you the visual part of the story, but we have the ability to take it so much farther.”