Healthy Kitchen Design

Dean Weston from Commodore Design offers advice on how you can create kitchens that meet the growing demand for healthier living.

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Now worth £3.5tn, the global wellness industry is rapidly growing as more and more people across the globe seek to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. This wellness megatrend is filtering through many aspects of our lives, including the design of our homes.

Kitchens, in particular, offer huge potential for house-builders and developers to help their customers feel healthier and happier. Here are just some of the ways in which this can be achieved.

Multisensory design

Multisensory design is already being used in workplaces and urban planning but can be reflected across the home too. It’s a concept that acknowledges people’s experiences and reacts to space in many ways, using all of their senses. This can affect the way we feel, our behaviour and physical and mental wellbeing.

For example, the colour of a kitchen will appeal to our sense of sight, but there is also strong evidence that colour schemes can affect our mood. Research linked to colour chromotherapy, which is believed to affect body vibrations, has highlighted that different shades can trigger a variety of emotional responses.

In the kitchen, this means a splash of the right colour could make a significant difference to the owner. Shades to consider include yellow, which can brighten a person’s mood and increase energy, and blue, which can increase a sense of calm and relaxation.

Increase natural light

Lighting can be complex in a kitchen where functionality and comfort must combine, but it’s another important consideration when designing for healthier living.

Too much artificial lighting can cause headaches and eye strain, so different options such as dimmable lights must be weaved into the final design. However, one of the most beneficial solutions for our wellbeing is to flood the space with natural light.

Skylights and bi-fold doors work particularly well but if these aren’t feasible, then consider how kitchen finishes could be affected by light. For example, light-coloured worktops can help to disperse light more evenly, whereas darker ones will absorb more light. Gloss cabinets can also make the most of natural light.

Add noise-minimising features

Open-plan spaces are here to stay, but sociable living needs to be balanced with high levels of comfort, including minimising noise.

This could involve zoning larger spaces using screening to help contain the noise or installing products and systems specifically designed to absorb noise. Recent innovations include acoustic panels printed with patterns for floor-to-ceiling applications as well as adjustable acoustic beams that can be applied to both ceilings and walls to absorb sound and are available in 17 colours.

The choice of kitchen appliance is also important to keep the peace, and there are several products worth considering in this respect. Kitchen appliance manufacturer, Novy, has launched a range of products aimed at providing silent power in the kitchen. Its cooker hoods have been designed with an advanced soundproofing system and a double-walled bottom plate, which make them quieter than whatever is cooking.

Miele also offers an extractor fan with a specially insulated motor, chimney and cooker hood canopy for effective soundproofing. The same product diffuses one of three selected scents and changes colour, helping to appeal to more senses as part of a multisensory design approach.

Clean the air

A study commissioned by environmental charity Global Action Plan revealed that indoor air pollution is 3.5 times worse than outdoor air pollution and at its peak can be up to 560 times higher.

Although there are various ways homeowners can help to reduce air pollution, such as air purifiers, house-builders can also play a part.

Many building products emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are toxic gases which are partly responsible for an increase in respiratory and other serious health conditions. Choosing materials at the design stage that are rated as low/no VOC can; therefore, significantly improve air quality. These include natural construction materials for countertops such as stone, recycled glass, reclaimed wood and stainless steel.

A happy home

There is no denying that wellness is a global trend. With a rapidly rising number of people taking action to improve their wellbeing, house-builders and developers must move quickly to keep up.

From the application of new technologies and natural building materials through to more considered design concepts, there are many ways to create a bespoke kitchen that ensures homebuyers are not only happier but healthier.

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