During the confinement necessary as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus, we can understand better than ever the importance that interior design and the spaces in which we live have in our health and well-being, both physical and psychological.
It is true that concern for others and for oneself, for health, the economy, uncertainty and the evolution of events, are not the best scenario to discover how comfortable you can be at home, since choosing to stay at home and doing it out of necessity are different things. But confinement also frees you from the frenetic pace that working life can bring and gives you the opportunity to make it the ideal time to carry out all the activities that require tranquility and always postpone due to lack of time, such as writing, reading, drawing, ordering , sleep well and if you want, daydream.
Designing interior spaces, houses or others, requires researching, planning, creating, coordinating and managing projects to obtain a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people who use them. First, it is essential to understand the way of life of those who will inhabit them, what they need and is functional for their day to day. The organization of flows and stays is a starting point. The basic design of the spaces through walls, furniture and objects, accessibility standards, ergonomics and conditions of thermal, light and acoustic comfort are also very important; as well as the choice of coatings.
Environmental quality in an interior is essential in an increasingly dense and populated world. The Covid-19 pandemic is making society more aware of the importance of good environmental hygiene. A comfortable, safe and healthy interior space is decisive for people’s health, considering that in general we spend most of our lives in them.
Comfort in a home (or any other interior space) ranges from its aesthetics, the aroma that floats in the room, the temperature felt when opening the access door and the breeze that enters through the window, to accessibility, the application of technology or passive strategies to facilitate and improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, among other aspects. Some questions you can ask yourself in this regard are:
- How is space visually perceived? Its color, brightness, height, width and depth will determine if a space is perceived as cozy, safe, lively, calm, flexible, etc.
- Is it too hot or too cold? The temperature should be approx. between 20 and 25 degrees centigrade to make it comfortable. Excess cold or heat is not only annoying, it also favors the incubation of different diseases.
- Is it acoustically comfortable? An adequate acoustic treatment favors rest and health, not only at the acoustic level, but also at the nervous and general level; It will also allow you to speak without straining your voice and listen without straining your ears.
- Does the ventilation system keep the indoor air as clean as possible? Bad odors, mites, fungi, and compounds from some materials added to pollution in rooms can be toxic to human health.
In the ergonomic aspect we will ask ourselves questions like these:
- Do I move comfortably, without detours or stumbling, throughout the space? The accessibility, the flow of circulation and the correct placement and dimensions of the furniture make life easier.
- Is the furniture such that it allows me to adopt a good posture? Ergonomics facilitates any day-to-day task, while in the medium and long term it prevents injuries at the musculoskeletal level, in addition to preventing possible accidents.
Ergonomics (or study of human factors) is the scientific discipline that deals with the interactions between human beings and other elements of a system, as well as the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize the well-being of the human being and the overall result of the system. [The Council of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) agreed on this definition in August 2000, a definition that has been adopted as ‘official’ by many standardization entities, institutions and bodies.]
The level of success of a good interior design is closely related to its detailed analysis and a good start can be through studying the dimensions and proportions of the human body.
There are anthropometric investigations that group the population according to the dimensions and proportions of the human body in its immense variety, parameters that allow flexible solutions to be provided for the largest number of potential users.
There are also publications with a more architectural aspect, which add the appropriate dimensions and connections for each type of use of space, such as Ernst Neufert’s book “Art of projecting in architecture” , already a classic since its first edition in 1936. its 16th edition and review and compiles the foundations, norms and prescriptions on rooms, buildings, program requirements, spatial relations, dimensions of buildings, premises, rooms, facilities and utensils with the human being as measure and objective.
Increasingly numerous mini-houses and mini-floors are designed in defiance of these minimum standards, demonstrating that the rules are flexible. The main thing is to understand individual and family needs to propose functional and appropriate designs for each space.
Although the choice of coatings or finishes is generally based on factors such as aesthetics, function and price, it is also important to consider the composition of the materials and the effect this can have on the environment and on our health. Today, the supply of coating materials is generally very broad and allows factors such as their origin, durability, ease of subsequent recycling and environmental properties to be evaluated.
The choice of coating should take into account factors such as:
- Fixing and installation systems. The construction process of the finishes includes adhesives, which are recommended to be replaced by mechanical fixings as much as possible, in order to facilitate subsequent recycling, avoid mistakes during the construction process and promote the environment.
- The use of space. Both the function of the space or use that will be given, and the diversity of its potential users, will determine the choice of materials. Consider, for example, the level of traffic in the area and wear, cleaning conditions, humidity and exposure to the environment. Other aesthetic factors, such as textures and colors, help to diffuse light and understand the space of its inhabitants and affect their mood.
- The composition of the material. The composition of each material will define its range of applications, depending on its resistance, flexibility and malleability. In chemical terms, it is recommended to attend to the composition of plastic coatings, binders or additives and paints, due to the long-term effects they may have on indoor air quality. For example, it is advisable to use water-based and eco-friendly paints, breathable and with an environmental seal.
- The final top coat. Surfaces can be treated as non-slip, non-stick and waterproof, which is essential in damp rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms to avoid accidents and guarantee their durability.
On the other hand, elements such as flashing, corner pieces, handles, etc., facilitate cleaning and prevent many domestic accidents.
The choice and placement of furniture, whether fixed or mobile, directly influences the quality of any interior design project.
The furniture must favor the use of space and not impair circulation, especially when it comes to small spaces , the choice of each piece of furniture is essential. In many cases it is more interesting to design custom furniture to make more efficient use of space and take advantage of every inch.
The convertible furniture and multifunction, next to the stackable and folding furniture, are considered the furniture industry of the future. More and more companies are manufacturing furniture of this type for mini-houses, furniture that defies standardized measures and is key for smaller rooms.
Understanding the human being in its physiological, anatomical and psychological dimension and in all its diversity, helps to achieve a high level of comfort.
Not only is everyone different in size and proportions, we also move differently and feel comfortable with different amounts of light and temperature. For this reason, when designing spaces focused on well-being, a holistic approach must be considered, in which each of the factors must not be analyzed in isolation, but rather in their interaction with the others.
The personalized analysis of each user is key to an interior design that gets them to say now and always.