Whether you’re looking to eat healthier, entertain more or stress less, designing a kitchen that inspires you to achieve your personal wellness goals will give you the boost you need to live your domestic life to the fullest.
Jacinta Walsh speaks with interior designer Melanie DeMelt of Town & Country Designs to discuss the ‘healthy kitchen’ trend.
Well-being, self-care, mindfulness – these buzzwords are catching everyone’s attention, but why are they becoming so popular? As we learn to take an introspective look at what makes our lives that little bit better, it seems there is more to our wellness than simply eating right and keeping fit.
Wellness is an active process that requires us to create healthy habits that promote mental, physical and emotional growth. An effective way to implement positive change in your everyday life is to focus on the design of your kitchen, which can have a significant impact on your health. In doing so, you will give yourself a better chance of achieving and maintaining your wellness goals, whether they involve spending more time with your family, earning a green thumb, or being more eco-conscious.
Creating a wellness-inspired kitchen is a step in the right direction when it comes to improving the self, your home, relationships and the world around you. Each of these facets is inextricably linked and plays a dynamic role in your life, so what better way to call it all into focus than mindfully updating the heart of your home?
We are often prone to choosing convenience over effort, and this is reflected in the modern kitchen. A wellness kitchen challenges this behaviour to instead give you the agency to achieve a healthier lifestyle. The trend, which sees kitchen design transcending style and functionality, seeks to inspire homeowners to willingly select the harder yet ultimately more rewarding option.
Designing a kitchen that inspires wellness begins with identifying the change that you want to see in yourself. Start by thinking about your lifestyle, or how you would like to live. For some people this might mean a place to read the paper, relax and practice mindfulness, while to others it may mean extra cupboard space so that they feel less overwhelmed by clutter.
A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
While navigating our hyper-digitalised society, it’s important to maintain tangible relationships. Engaging with others in person is proven to enhance our thought processes so that we are more open to new ideas, through learning and collaboration.
There are several ways to foster a more social lifestyle in your kitchen design. An open-plan living area gives the illusion of extra space and will provide your kitchen with a welcoming energy. “An island bench often becomes the hub of the home,” Melanie DeMelt says. “Friends can sit with a glass of wine while you prepare food, or families can enjoy cooking or completing homework together.”
Adding stools or other seating around your island bench will encourage communal living throughout the week, and will ensure that everyone stays involved without getting in each other’s way.
INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE
First and foremost, the kitchen is a utilitarian space and therefore benefits from premium appliances. A glass-front fridge can benefit both you and the planet, which is a huge plus if your goal is to implement sustainable living practices in your home. It will give you the motivation to keep the inside of your fridge looking appealing, so no more hiding your guilty pleasures or mouldy veggies in your crisper! Further, you can inspect its contents to your heart’s desire without having to open the door and let all the cold air escape.
When it comes to dry storage, cupboards are traditionally designed to accommodate canned and processed foods with longer shelf lives – foods that aren’t typically high in nutritional value. Mesh-front containers are a great way to keep fresh produce in storage for longer, which will encourage you to stock up on nutrient-rich veggies.
To minimise waste, DeMelt says “it’s a good idea to keep your pantry organised to avoid products going out of date”. A scullery or butler’s pantry will help maintain a clutter-free kitchen that promotes a calm mind. However, a minimalist space needn’t come at the cost of convenience. “By keeping small appliances such as your toaster, kettle, sandwich press and juicer plugged in but out of sight, they will always be ready to go,” DeMelt says.
Don’t underestimate the power of your appliances in creating a healthy kitchen. “Dishwashers wash at a higher temperature than our hands can typically stand to kill more germs and reduce the spread of colds and the flu,” says DeMelt, who also suggests using items like a steam oven to retain your food’s nutrients while cooking, and a filtered tap for clean water that’s free of nasties.
Revolutionising the way we design buildings, the WELL Building Standard is growing in popularity in Australia. Created to measure and monitor built environments, it considers how various factors such as air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and the mind impact human health and well-being. The rating system seeks to optimise and advance the ways in which buildings can improve our health, so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing appliances for your home.
CULTIVATE YOUR INNER WORLD
An indoor garden is the perfect way to bring nature into your wellness space. Proven to boost our mood, “plants will bring life into your home”, DeMelt says.
When designing your interior garden it’s important to consider its position within the house, so that your plants can soak up sunlight, water, air and nutrients. An irrigation system may be needed to provide adequate water, while a skylight is a great way to bring more natural light into the space. If you don’t want to commit to a garden wall, a small herb garden or hanging pots are a great way to add fresh greenery to your space without too much added upkeep. “It will also allow you to use fresh herbs in your cooking,” DeMelt says.
Colours have the power to evoke different emotions, so choosing the right palette for your kitchen is critical. An essential part of good health is being in a positive head space, so choose colours that promote calm and happiness, such as yellows, greens, blues and whites. Sticking to tonal variations of one hue throughout the space will achieve a harmonious effect that encourages a peaceful inner state while you cook up a storm.
Minimalism is growing in popularity as a cost-effective solution for homeowners who wish to invest their money elsewhere. It’s human nature to want the best of everything, but a cluttered home can lead to an overactive mind.
If your wellness goal is to feel less stressed, then a minimalist ‘less is more’ approach can assist in reducing financial pressure and anxieties in the long term. “You may also feel more inspired to entertain in an organised, stress-free kitchen,” DeMelt says.
However you wish to improve your well-being, take the time to think about how your kitchen can help you reach your goals. Maybe this means knocking down a wall, or simply painting your cabinetry in a brighter colour; whatever makes a positive difference to your state of mind will make all the difference in the long run.
Images courtesy of Town & Country Designs