We grounded the living. room with a brown and white wood rug, drawing from the adjacent family room’s earthy hues. The coordinating colors. and textures create an aesthetically pleasing connection between the two rooms.

Aristotle figured it out a long, long time ago.  And, we couldn’t agree more. In design, there are so many elements – some that can stand alone, some that can’t.  Rhythm is what pulls it all together to create a comforting, welcoming space.

Our designs integrate colors and shapes to create a rhythmic flow. One color might be used as the primary in one space, as a secondary color in an adjacent space and as an accent in the next, to visually lead people from room to room. Photo groupings, lighting patterns and floor patterns can use the same rules and have the same effect in hallways.

Rhythm is introduced in many ways. Subtle colors and shapes, repetition and gradation, textures and patterns are used to bring all the parts together to create collective harmony.

If you have any questions or need more information about livable design, please feel free to schedule a call through my calendar. I’m here to help guide you.

This month’s Wellnotes delves into the principles of “Livable Design”, more commonly referred to as “aging in place”. When we think about “aging in place” we think of wider doorways or higher electrical outlets. A recent statistic however, shifted our focus from a physical to an emotional point of view: “Half of nursing home residents are placed there, not for health reasons but the absence of social interaction due to a lack of accessibility”. A large part of a designer’s job is to implement designs so that social connections aren’t lost and more importantly, don’t look like an after thought. As Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) we can recommend many design options that not only speak to an aging population, but also benefits families with young children planning on staying in their homes indefinitely, such as:

  1. Levered door handles easily grasped by aging hands and small children. 
  2. A slight entranceway ramp instead of stairs that are both wheelchair and stroller friendly. 
  3. Entranceway cameras with an intercom system (with smartphone features) providing security to both the elderly and mothers with small children. 
  4. Hallway motion sensor lights that illuminate objects benefiting both the elderly and toddler’s leaping out of bed in middle of the night.

Livable design is a thoughtful design process that can be implemented now and work for all ages.

Can art help people connect? Research says yes. One organization recently examined how its institutional art collection affected their employee’s mood and performance. It was discovered that the staff garnered a connection to their work place. The artwork promoted social interactions, evoked emotional responses and facilitated personal connections. 

As a design firm specializing in wellness, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of the artwork you choose to display in your home or workplace. Art speaks to us about where we are and why. If you’re surrounded by meaningful pieces, you’re reminded of what’s important…and that can never be a bad thing. 

Our goal for any space we are designing is that it becomes a place where you will gravitate.

Here are our top five (simple yet effective) wellness tips for creating a space that is bound to make your guests want to stay longer.

1. Inject color – How do you want to feel in this space? Our client wanted this room to energize her as it’s also her home office. So we used saturated oranges and electric blues to do just that. Fun fact: orange is associated with joy and radiates warmth. In the body, it’s associated with circulation and the nervous system.

2. Material selections – Use materials that can alter your guest’s experience of warmth – when people are physically warmer, their levels of interpersonal warmth increase. Because who needs a cranky guest? Simple additions include adding a warm throw and a few colorful pillows on the bed. Soft fabrics on upholstered pieces such as the chair in this space add to the comfort of this room. (teaser for our next post!)

3. Lighting control – Lift your guest’s mood with natural sunlight but also give them the ability to control the amount of sunlight the room. Window treatments should not only be operable but also have black out lining to ensure a good night’s rest. (Did you know that direct access to daylight and views reduces blood pressure, lowers the incidence of headaches, and in healthcare setting results in the need for less pain medication and shorter stays in the hospital?)

4. If you have bare wood floors, adding a throw rug serves two purposes: added warmth to the space (who wants to wake up and put their feet on a bare floor?) and also addresses any acoustical challenges. The bold, large scaled striped throw rug that we used for this project injects personality and warmth to this space.

5. Artwork – We chose artwork that energizes…that “sparks joy” in our client. Artwork personalizes the room and becomes the perfect finishing touch.

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Is it just me or does everyone feel a bit off kilter when they walk into a dark and cluttered room? 

And, how about when you enter a light-filled space, filled with earth tones like beiges and browns with muted cranberry accents? Doesn’t that make you feel a little more serene and stable?

It’s amazing the effect the right design can have on our psyche. Research proves how a room’s design influences and enhances people’s moods and emotions.

Fiori Interior Design takes that concept, blending your goals with your personal style to design spaces that elevate moods, improve focus and enhance efficiency. By bringing your favorite vintage or patina items into the design, we raise the bar, making your space infinitely more interesting and welcoming.

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time with one of my favorite clients. We’ve been having a blast working on her house, designing one room at a time. After finishing up her family room, she sat down on her new –and now favorite – sofa. She literally started petting it, saying how warm and happy her sofa makes her feel. As you might imagine, we cracked a few jokes over her new “pet!” 

But, in all seriousness, tactile experiences are important. Research has revealed how significantly our sense of touch influences our worldview. In one series of studies, participants negotiating while sitting in soft chairs did not drive as hard a bargain as those sitting on harder chairs with no cushions!

And while we’re not usually conducting serious business in our family rooms, the notion is the same. We are definitely influenced by how things look and feel. In your home, a pleasant tactile experience can greatly improve our conversations as well as our own personal comfort. 

In this month’s newsletter, we’re discussing the third installment of our six design principles: Spatial Planning.

A client recently asked us to re-design their large sized family room. Seating in the current layout consisted of only a sectional and a recliner.  
In our questionnaire we uncovered the fact that the wife usually found herself reading or relaxing in the adjoining room…while her husband and three kids would congregate in the family room in front of the TV. Although their family room is fairly large, there really wasn’t a place for her. We decided to change that by creating a “territory” that would become her own personal space where she could still connect with her family.  

Research proves that “all humans are territorial as well as social and having a territory at home is important for our mental well-being”(Smith, 1994).

Here are two examples of nooks that we’ve created in the past: