Over the past decade or two, researchers have seen an interesting shift in the American lifestyle; namely, people are spending more time at home than ever before. Some speculate that the reasoning for such a change could be due to advances in technology that allow better work from home options or even apps that entice families to order groceries and meals online for delivery.
Whatever the case may be, it’s crucial to recognize the connection between our dwellings and our well-being. Our homes play a large role in our happiness and health, so now that people are spending more time at home, more focus should be put on creating a healthy home—and we have just the right ideas on how to do so. Read on to discover home renovations and upgrades that can help you and your family maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Complete a kitchen remodel
According to a Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, one-third of homeowners who complete a kitchen remodel report leading a healthier lifestyle, which can include spending more time with family, entertaining, and home cooking. This makes sense as the kitchen is a gathering point in the home, which is perfect for these activities.
Since the kitchen is so popular, it’s not uncommon for it to become worn due to wear and tear, making renovations a no brainier to recreate a space that will support your healthy lifestyle.
Islands are a popular addition in many kitchen renovations. However, the cost to build a kitchen island in a remodel varies greatly due to size, materials, and other add ons or upgrades. Multipurpose pieces, however, can be the hallmark of a fresh and functional kitchen. An island with seating options that also houses appliances is ideal for providing more space to prepare meals, store items, and serve as a gathering area for family and friends.
An excellent option for the island’s countertop is a low maintenance material, such as a stone or stainless steel, as they tend to be scratch and heat-resistant.
Then, consider adding an under-counter refrigerator that tucks away conveniently inside the island for easy access to beverages for guests and storage for appetizers or leftovers. Don’t forget to include some comfortable counter-height bar stools for seating!
2. Invite Nature Into Your Everyday Life
Bringing some natural life into your home can do wonders for how a room feels and for your health. As you may know, plants naturally turn carbon dioxide into oxygen and purify the air.
Not only can growing plants improve air quality, but by growing herbs specifically, you can have the freshest ingredients on hand when cooking in the kitchen. It’s crucial to make sure these plants have adequate sunlight and are taken care of properly in a window planter or a more advanced hydroponic system.
Another way to incorporate plant life into the design of your home is a living wall. This decorative method of breathing life into your home is becoming more popular as this vertical garden allows those with limited space in city settings to still grow their own vegetables without space to use boxes or a yard.
Several studies reveal that plants in an indoor environment can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and have an overall positive impact on your health. Not to mention growing herbs and other produce indoors can help promote an all-natural diet.
3. Build an Outdoor Greenhouse to Embrace Self-Sufficiency
A greenhouse is a great place to grow food without having to worry about animals eating everything before you can get to it. A greenhouse also gives your plants a great environment to grow in.
Every greenhouse doesn’t have to be a large building with a dugout foundation; there are many varieties of small premade options available that can be put together in an afternoon.
Just like how growing things indoors acts as a mood lifter, spending time outdoors helps your body get vital nutrients as well as gets you on your feet and being active.
Another benefit of this is that you can use it to grow different kinds of vegetables and cook a meal with food that you grew on your own and that feeling is truly something special.
4. Paint Rooms Uplifting Colors Reflecting Their Function
Another way to lift your mood by changing the environment in your home is repainting. For decades, experts have claimed that the color of a room can have a subtle effect on people’s moods. While there is no agreed-upon color to make people feel a certain way, many find bright warm colors like yellow to be the most uplifting.
Cooler colors like blue tend to have a calming effect but can vary based on the tone. For example, darker hues of blue convey a more serious mood while a lighter blue can feel more playful.
A combination of increased natural light and a lighter paint scheme can completely change how you use a room and how much time you want to spend in it.
If a room is too dark, then you may feel like it’s too work-oriented and not want to spend much recreational time there, which makes perfect sense why many recommend home offices be dark blue or grey.
5. Add More Natural Light
Natural light not only looks better but is also more economical, not to mention sunlight provides nutrients and can benefit your skin in moderation.
With an estimated 40% of Americans living with a vitamin D deficiency, adding more natural light to your home with a window can have a noticeable effect on your health. When your body doesn’t have enough vitamin D, you are at a higher risk of depression, fatigue, hair loss, and more.
An additional benefit of adding a window is that you can take the opportunity to change the whole room. If you go beyond just a single pane and add window seating with a bumped out window or flank it with bookcases to make a nook to sit in, the flow of the room will change with the added seating and is the perfect opportunity to adjust the rest of the room to reflect it.
6. Make Artificial Lighting Healthier
When lighting any room within a house, most people still use bulbs from an old pack of incandescent or a CFL bulb that grew in popularity over the last decade and a half. More recently, however, LED bulbs have drastically fallen in price and are only getting more popular.
To get the healthiest light in a room, most people would rather install a skylight or another window, but that isn’t always practical or possible. Picking the right bulb is important, but the healthiest artificial light source will require more effort.
Recently human-centric lighting has taken the top spot in high-quality artificial lighting. Designed to only emit certain wavelengths of light at different times of the day, they are the absolute best to mimic true sunlight. Humans have never been conditioned to receive the blue wavelength of light for the whole day.
Before, people wouldn’t surround themselves with artificial light all day, as the only time the blue wavelength of light was produced naturally was in the mornings. These lights will stop producing this wavelength later on in the day to promote healthier ambient lighting in your home.
Another way to make your in-home lighting even healthier is to diffuse it. Light diffusion combined with these innovative LEDs is the most holistic way to illuminate a room and make it feel as natural as possible. Installing a recessed and diffusing panel into the ceiling or even a wall can give you the best possible experience.
7. Install Smart-Home Technology
In the last few years, technology has crept into every appliance and tool throughout the house. From connecting one room to a whole home, the internet of things grows every day, and for a good reason. A connected ecosystem within your home can not only make your daily routine easier but safer as well.
Coffee is the lifeblood of America, and the home coffee pot has been relatively stagnant in terms of advancement until recently. Before, you would replace and fill the filter with ground coffee, flip a switch, then let your coffee brew. Today with a connected coffee maker, like this one from Behmor, you can set a specific temperature, pre-soak time, altitude, and connect with Alexa so it can automatically order more coffee when you’re getting low, all from the convenience of your phone.
A smart security system like Ring can not only provide security when you’re not home, but can also allow you to keep an eye on when your family is coming and going. Ring offers video doorbells, cameras, connected lighting, and even an alarm system. A system like this can keep your home safe as well as reduce stress about your household.
8. Turn Your Bedroom into a Tech-Free Zone
Smartphones, smart TVs, connected light bulbs, and home assistants all have their place within a home to make everyday life easier. The bedroom should be a place without any of these, and for a good reason. According to Consumer Reports, 27% of Americans have frequent issues falling asleep, and 68% struggle getting to sleep at least once a week. One cause of this they touch on is the use of technology when in bed.
Browsing social media in bed has become a favorite pastime for Americans and could be a leading factor in our collective sleep deprivation.
Leaving your phones outside of the bedroom and removing that extra TV can make a world of difference in terms of distractions from sleep. Sure, you may have to dig out that old-fashioned alarm clock, but not worrying about what that last notification is will be freeing.
9. Modernize With Hands-Free Fixtures
The general purpose behind a bathroom renovation is to improve the room’s aesthetic or to upgrade faulty or outdated plumbing fixtures. But if items are in need of replacing, why not go the extra mile by making upgrades that foster a healthier environment?
Bathrooms are breeding grounds for bacteria, and although they will always require regular sanitizing, implementing automated technology like touchless plumbing fixtures can reduce the amount of contact with germs lingering on bathroom surfaces.
From the bowl to the seat and the flush handle, toilets are a major source of bacteria. In fact, toilet handles can have upward of 83 bacteria per square inch. But it doesn’t end there; sinks can harbor 2,733 bacteria on just one square inch of its surface, and more alarmingly, faucets can have 6,267 bacteria per square inch.
Luckily, several manufacturers have adapted hands-free technology for the home, similar to commercial-grade fixtures found in public restrooms. Touchless toilets and hands-free faucets reduce contact with germ-infested surfaces through sensors and even voice activation controls. No-touch faucets are also great adaptations for kitchens too!
10. Replace Flooring
Being that floors make up a majority of a home’s real estate, it’s no surprise that they can have a significant impact on our health. Flooring materials, in addition to their installation process, can conjure up toxins and other harmful pollutants.
If possible, remove or avoid carpeting in rooms. While carpets may create a cozy feeling, their materials are full of chemicals that release toxins into the air long after installation. Additionally, carpets make the perfect trap for other pollutants and allergens, and if left damp can grow mold or mildew.
If you’re replacing carpeting or updating other floorings, solid hardwood and linoleum are two of the healthiest options to choose from. Both flooring choices are made from natural materials, and linoleum, in particular, is naturally antimicrobial.
11. Limit Airborne Pollutants and Service HVAC Systems
Many people don’t tend to think about their HVAC systems until something goes wrong with it. Just like a car, these systems greatly benefit from tune-ups as often as twice a year.
Not only can these tune-ups make sure damage is prevented from leaks, belts are secure, and having a professional assess the effectiveness of older units and the cleanliness of your ductwork can make a world of difference in catching in-home pollutants.
Newer units utilize the latest and cleanest filters, so an upgrade to your air conditioning unit can not only reduce monthly costs but also improve air quality throughout your home.
Candles are a trendy way to help make a home smell better without relying on aerosolized chemicals, and they improve the ambiance of your home. Not all candles are created equal.
Soy and Beeswax candles using 100% cotton wicks are the cleanest burning and least polluting kinds of wax there are. The biggest thing to look for before you light your candle next is that it uses real essential oils and fragrance extracts over anything artificial.
12. Build a Custom Closet
Clutter and mess are inevitable when you have more items than space. However, clutter can cause more problems than just additional chores like tidying up. Experts discovered that women who perceived their homes as “cluttered” or “full of unfinished projects” were more likely to experience fatigue, depression, and stress compared to women who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative.”
Between clothing, shoes, and other accessories, closets are one of the most common spaces to accrue clutter. Given this, organizing your closet can be a solution for reducing stress because it creates a greater sense of clarity. Of course, anyone can set aside time to sort through their wardrobe, but building a custom closet offers even more extraordinary benefits that adapt to your style and needs.
Working with a professional to create a custom closet can provide peace of mind by knowing that they will use high-quality materials and adjustable features, meaning you won’t need to re-do your closet for many years.
13. Build An In-Home Gym
The best way to a healthy lifestyle is exercise and diet. Most commonly, you lose weight through healthy practices in the kitchen, and you build muscles in the gym. Your gut is lost in the kitchen while muscles grow at the gym. Having a dedicated space for working out is an excellent way to help motivate an active lifestyle.
The idea of having that shiny new treadmill and with a squat rack and plenty of space is very attractive, but many are forced to choose just one. A smaller space with some free weights and an adjustable bench is a great place to start.
Ventilation is also very important for whatever space you’re using because you don’t want your home gym smelling like an actual gym. Ceiling fans are an easier installation, while a bathroom ventilation system would look much cleaner and do a better job of removing air rather than just circulating it around the room. A padded foam floor is also a necessity to make sure it stays protected from any falling weights.
14. Turn Your Bathroom Into a Spa
There’s almost nothing as rejuvenating as a spa day, but who really has time for that anymore? A simple solution is to turn your own bathroom into a spa. The most important piece of any spa is the tub. If your bathtub is old, then a replacement is a great way to update the space, and you’ll have the perfect opportunity to freshen up your backsplash.
Even if it’s just recaulking your seals or installing a new tile surround, these two things will have the greatest impact on how inviting your bathroom feels. Chances are your showerhead could also benefit from either a thorough cleaning or replacement.
There are plenty of smaller touches that’ll help turn your bathroom into a day spa, like a bathtub caddy and plenty of candles. Add an essential oil diffuser, and you might not even recognize the space when you’re relaxing. On top of making your bathroom more enjoyable, it’ll also help improve the value of your home.
15. Create an Entryway
First impressions are the hardest to change, that’s true for both people and places. If, when you walk into your home and are greeted with clutter and half-finished projects, you’ll be hard-pressed to shake that feeling throughout your home.
A finished entryway, such as a mudroom, is paramount to making your home an inviting space. This will also give you a place to put on and take off shoes and jackets without having to get dirt and other debris from outdoors on harder to clean surfaces like carpet.
Tile is the most durable option and is easy to clean for when dirt, mud, and snow do get tracked in. A coat closet is always preferable, but if space is limited, DIY coat hooks are a great way to make the space feel even more like your own and tie it into the rest of your home’s design.
Bringing It All Together
Any of these ideas will have an impact on how you view your home and will also improve your health. Whether it’s in a subtle way by modernizing your lighting or drastically changing a space with a new kitchen, simply taking steps to improve your health is the biggest accomplishment.