Home spaces are an important aspect in observing how our familiar surroundings affect us. From a minute modification to a total overhaul, the primary source of transforming homes could be either a reflection of our emotions, traditions, environment, and the climate of where we live. In today’s fast-paced life, it has become essential to pay attention to the climatic conditions of our environs while planning and executing our home interiors. Factors like heat, humidity, AQI (Air Quality Index), noise and the salt content in the air plays a cardinal role. Choosing materials and designs that work in partnership with the climate is essential to finding the sweet spot between aesthetics and functionality.
As the world is shifting towards the new normal with the changes in the social and cultural dynamics, there is an increased demand from individuals to approach the complexity in the design of their homes with a whole new perspective. The current crisis is acting as a catalyst towards the deceleration of our overheated globalized and complicated world. Different climatic regions come with unique vulnerabilities for buildings and home interiors. Interior designers must compensate for unfamiliar climatic conditions and know creative ways to cope with these challenges.
Here are some of the factors to take into consideration when choosing interior design styles that will improve the inclusive quality of life:
- Energy consumption is a crucial factor in climate change wherein heating and lighting influence it. The effects of climate change can be ameliorated by proper planning of openings like doors, windows and ventilation while being sentient of climatology.
- HVAC System – A proper system of HVAC i.e., heat, ventilation and air conditioning is essential since it reduces the load to maintain HVAC artificially. For example, if we have proper knowledge of the site context, then it would be easier to plan the openings with respect to the facade (the sun direction is from east to west through south and wind direction is from northwest to southeast). The roofs must be insulated for good cross ventilation, windows must be abundant in the north and defended in the south from the pernicious sun glare with the strategic use of open courtyards and overhangs.
- Topography of a building’s site includes natural and man-made features which can affect its energy consumption by diminishing or increasing the effects of climatic influences. For example, the trees surrounding a building can diminish the intensity of sunlight or decrease the velocity of the wind. If located close enough to the building, trees can also modify outdoor humidity in the immediate building area.
- Colour psychology plays a crucial role in maintaining energy efficiency. Use dark colours for absorption on north walls or roofs in cold climates and light colours for reflection on roofs in warm climates. The colour of outside surfaces should also be considered.
- Open floor plan is a floor plan that embraces large, open spaces while minimizing small, enclosed rooms. In other words, open floor plans consist of at least one large, open room that connects and contains smaller spaces/rooms that serve different functions. This floor plan has been beneficial throughout the transition from a work-from-home setting to official workplaces as it reduces the risk of infection through the promotion of light and ventilation and psychologically reduces stress and increases productivity.
- Blackout curtains are the best way to block out light that is entering your room and also help with noise pollution by blocking out unwanted sounds from the outside. During summers, blackout curtains provide great protection against heat and sunlight which means that it also helps in lowering air conditioning costs by blocking out excess heat during peak hours.
- Provision of automated blinds, also known as smart blinds, are the most popular window treatments. It makes your life quite easier and your home fully automatic as you can operate them with the help of remote control. One can also operate automated blinds with the help of an app on the smartphone or through virtual assistance like Alexa and google home.
- Personalised garden and green spaces – There are numerous benefits that green spaces bring to the environment and personal well-being. Plants have remarkable traits that can help reduce urban air pollution and improve AQI (Air Quality Index). Plants also act as sound barriers by absorbing and deflecting sound waves coming from cars on the road or from noisy neighbours.
Gardening can be a relaxing pastime, with benefits to mental health and is good for ventilation too.
- Organic materials – Decorating and using natural materials in interior design is becoming an increasingly substantial trend. The understanding is that the zero-waste lifestyle and nature conservation must be our priority. Natural materials include jute, wicker, rattan, wood, thread, cork, stone, bamboo, and others. These materials can be found in nature and usually do not need too much processing, have less carbon footprint, and are economic too.
- Use of marbles – Marble is one of the most versatile and durable stones. It contributes to magnificence, luxury and keeps the interiors cool. It is the most shining stone which is available at pocket-friendly prices.
- Use of recycled products – Materials like recycled plastics and metals are great options for interior designers. These metals do not need an extensive manufacturing process which reduces energy consumption and leaves less carbon footprint. At the same time, they also reduce wastage by salvaging the same materials for new designs.
- Using natural fibers – Upholstery made from natural fibers like organic cotton or linen is a good choice for furniture. It makes the room more inviting and comfortable. Additionally, they are hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant. In the case of raw and rustic interiors, another good option is high-end cane furniture. Compared to traditional wooden furniture, cane handles both heat and moisture very well and is not high maintenance. Cane furniture can be used outdoors too.
- Reduce Reuse Recycle – The three R’s’ should be central to the design strategy with climate change in mind. Using the R’s’ is one of the most effective ways to save cost and energy whilst producing charm and charisma by the masses. For example, we can make provision for reusing rainwater with rainwater harvesting and recharging the groundwater table.
- Modern technology plays a vital role in interior design. Smart devices like smart bulbs, smart taps, motion-based lights, photovoltaics, fans, and other appliances make sure that energy usage can be reduced. This is where designers can be innovative and integrate modern technology into their designs to form energy-efficient designs.
Among the climate factors that can affect house design are temperature, insolation, rainfall, snowfall, and average wind speed. In conclusion, climate plays a huge element in interior design and the choice of materials. However, one can choose to entirely ignore the weather in the designing process, but this often results in disaster for practicality, durability and comfort. Therefore, the secret is to decide prudently and work with nature rather than against it in order to maintain your décor with relative ease.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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