How your interiors can impact your wellbeing

Surface View Blog / 25 Jan 2021

Can your home interiors really impact your health and wellbeing? We’ve put this question to Ruth Adams from the Bourne House Practice. Ruth is a leading Psycho-sensory Therapist and Mind Coach who has a new practice in the Cotswolds and holds clinics in London and Europe. She specialises in emotional and hormonal responses and how they impact our wellbeing.

Can your interiors have an impact your health and wellbeing?

“The short answer is yes!” Ruth explains that there can be no doubt that the environments we live in, spaces we work in and places we visit have a huge impact on our mental and physical health. “Interior design in the home is so important. We live in a shifting society, which is constantly running at pace, that does not always benefit our wellbeing.” This has caused interior designers to take a step back and reflect on the role of our interiors. Ruth elaborates, “it’s almost going back to its roots of creating spaces which fulfil the five basic needs our mind requires in order to restore calm and balance.”

The five basic needs for wellbeing in our homes:

1.      Safety

2.      Comfort

3.      Nature

4.      Identity

5.      Value 

“When we consider these basic needs, it’s really important to break them down. Safety is the first and possibly the most important. It’s crucial that we feel safe in any space. Comfort, is tied to this. When entering a new space you’ll subconsciously evaluate it and ask yourself do I feel relaxed here? This is a particularly important one for families, as young children only focus on these two needs when connecting with a space.

Nature, is the unconscious ease we feel when we are connected to nature through a space. This is such a basic need that it is so often overlooked, but it is constantly active and when we do take ourselves to a natural environment the impact is noticeable.  

Identity, is where we attach to the space emotionally. Does this space reflect me? Does it evoke a feeling within me? And what is that feeling?

Then lastly, Value. Whilst this isn’t referring to monetary value, although for some this is important, this is emotional value. Does this space hold the items I value the most? Does it contain any emotional treasures and memories?”

If we consider each of these needs when designing spaces for our homes, we start to develop attachments to the environment we’ve created. The impact it has on us is “a feeling of contentment, peace, calm or any other of the positive powerhouse emotions. By encouraging the subtle ‘cultivation’ of these emotions through the design of a room we can change how someone feels and truly impact their mental and physical health.”

What types of designs encourage the most positive and mindful spaces?

“Plants, plants and more plants!” 

Ruth explains that “our mind and bodies, really connect with living things and that they give a wonderful amount of wellbeing back to us.” And with Nature being one of our five basic needs, it makes sense that scenes of our natural surroundings act as mood boosters.

“Choose your colours carefully”

“The psychology of colour is a huge topic, but the key is to get a really good feeling for a particular colour or range of colours.” Colours can portray a range of moods and emotions, take note of how you feel when you look at that blue skyscape wallpaper or green forest canvas print.  Be aware that “colour reaction is different for everyone, but there are certain soft colours, which when used within a space bring a sense of calm.” Ruth suggests looking towards earthy, natural, light and subtle tones to instil serenity to your home. She also suggests getting samples and testing them on the walls and living with them for a while deciding what to use.

“Things we love”

Take time to choose images or designs that have emotional resonance. Perhaps they evoke memories of happy times, or you just get a wonderful feeling when you look at them. Always choose the things you love.

“Learn to look not just with your eyes but with your heart. Find the things that connect with you. How else will you know how to design your home?” Kelly Hoppen, Interior Designer

Ruth’s top five designs to evoke a sense of wellbeing in your home

1 Chinoiserie mural wallpapers

“To induce a calmer state of wellbeing I love to use large wall art as a focal point for the senses, I am particularly in love with chinoiseries at the moment and beautiful natural scenes.”

Ruth’s favourite is 'Camellia Chinoiseries Wallpaper Fragment’. “I love it so much we are using this as the centre piece within my therapy room at The Bourne House Practice. It’s a beautifully engaging soft green and the subtle details are incredibly calming.” The delicate chinoiseries from the V&A collection are perfectly paired with soft pinks and luscious green leaves. Try using this design in bedrooms, living rooms or dining rooms.

2 Trompe l’oeil tree wallpaper murals

Unsurprisingly with her love of plants, ‘Winter Garden Vienna’ mural wallpaper features in Ruth’s top list of must have murals. “I just adore this mural, it’s the perfect mirror into a scene of wonder. The trompe l’oeil effect brings your senses into the moment, the room and beyond.” 

Perfect for dining rooms, this gorgeous tropical glasshouse scene from the Royal Horticultural Society collection not only brings nature in but the incredible arch adds a sense of height and light to walls.

3 Soft warmed toned wallpaper patterns

Demonstrating the importance of colour on our wellbeing, Ruth selects one of our new designs ‘Cranford Damask Sandstone’ as a mood boosting mural. “The soft warm tones within this piece are incredibly calming and the perfect backdrop for a study space where stress levels can be raised.” Try using it in a technology free living room for a really restful space.

4 Classic Blue and White Interiors

A timeless combination, blue and white exudes a freshness and sophistication which never goes out of style. Originally found on Chinese pottery way back in the ninth century, the classic pairing is an interiors staple. Ruth is a big fan. “Blue and white has been used for thousands of years to create a sense of calm and it still creates these feelings within us today.”

Add a sense of calm to your bathroom with our ‘Ming Mountain Scenic China Blue' ceramic tile mural. The gentle rolling hills and soft painterly effect of this mural combined with the simple colour palette to create a really restful space.

5 Bring the outside in

We don’t all have the luxury of looking out of our windows onto mood enhancing scenes of rolling hills or light dappled trees. Our printed window films are a great solution for rooms without views or rooms where you need privacy but want to keep that mood enhancing light pouring in. 

“‘Gilded Paper' Decorative Window Film creates the wonderful sense of ease we feel when walking in woodland.” Alternatively try this design as a wallpaper mural, Ruth’s advice is it’s “perfect, for hallways and spaces where we are moving from one room to another.”


Don’t delay, transform your space and wellbeing – starting today. Browse our mood boosting designs and images here.

For more great insights from Ruth Adams or to work with her on your mindful decorating project visit or email

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