The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine defines wellness as being “achieved by a combination of emotional, environmental, mental, physical, social and spiritual health”. Most of us will be familiar with the concepts of eating healthily, regular exercise and getting enough sleep to remain healthy, but have you considered the role of interior design plays in your health and wellbeing?

Over the last few years (post Covid lockdowns) people have become more aware of their work and home environments. How the buildings and the aesthetics affect our daily lives, mental and physical health.  You may be surprised to learn that according to the National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants, the people in the USA spend 90% of their time indoors.

The overall figure may be a little lower for Spain due to the superb climate, but it illustrates the enormous effect that interior design can have on your mental health and wellbeing. Interior designers are finding that clients are increasingly interested in either adapting existing spaces to include more natural feel-good elements (see biophilic interior design below) or creating new dedicated wellness spaces.


Health and fitness spaces

As a result of more homeowners prioritising their health and well-being, there is increased interest in specific health and fitness spaces within the home. According to the American Society of Interior Designers, health and wellness was the top design trend in 2022.

Debbie Pea, Director and founder of Marbella based Originals Interiors, confirmed this trend, saying, “More and more clients are concerned with not only how their home will look but also how it will make them feel. There is a growing demand for creating calm and relaxing spaces for promoting mental and physical well-being, such as a sauna or spa, as a means of reducing stress and escaping every day anxiety”.


Biophilic interior design

When we think of wellness and well-being, we often envisage balance, mindfulness, exercise and a closeness to nature. Biophilic design is growing a trend in architecture and interior design, as nature has a positive effect on health and well-being.

Sometimes described as a fusion of interior design and neuroscience, biophilic design refers to the reconnection with nature in design. The use of natural wood, water, plants and daylight in an interior design scheme are common elements in this type of interior design.

There are so many factors that need to be taken into account in order to provide a holistic healthy space, such as the amount of daylight, sound and air quality, colour scheme, furnishings and accessories to name a few.  The look, texture and feel of the materials is crucial to the success and integrity of a space.


Famous fans

One of the most high-profile (and unsurprising) advocates of a home spa and wellness space, is the founder of the lifestyle and wellness brand ‘Goop’ and actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who has installed a luxury spa in her California home. The understated elegant spa features that can be found in a 5-star resort, including a sauna room and plunge pool (cold water!)


Choosing the right place

For an interior designer, the first task is to choose the right place for the wellness space, be it a home gym, spa or meditation corner. Elements to consider are light, size, access and somewhere with no distractions. For example, many properties include purpose-built gyms in the basement or convert a garage, as there is less chance of being disturbed by the hubbub of everyday life going on around you.  When deciding where to install a sauna the most obvious choice (if possible) is next to a bathroom which also needs to accommodate high temperatures and moisture levels.


Air quality

The air quality in any home gym, sauna or spa facility is crucial to good health and the overall experience, particularly in a gym. To ensure the space stays fresh and healthy, a ventilation or air purification system will be required.



When creating a home gym, most clients opt for a slightly subdued palette, as opposed to the loud colours often seen in commercial spaces. In a private residence there is no need for in-your-face branding, instead the colours can be an extension of your interior design.

There are many different decisions that need to make regarding the style, look and feel of your new space. Like Gwyneth Paltrow, you could create a classic ethereal feel, or maybe your preference is for texture or possibly full glamour, the choice is yours.

However, one of the most important questions is the choice of equipment, whether this is for a gym, spa or sauna. For example, when creating a sauna, the most important question is which type of stove to use. You can choose between infrared, electric or traditional wood burning (this is not an option in all properties as a chimney will be required).

Another crucial aspect of creating a relaxing vibe is the lighting, read our blog “How the right indoor lighting can transform your home” to find out why it is so important. Lighting is also essential to ensure safety in a room with a stove!  However, with the right materials, dimensions, lighting and stove, you have the recipe for the perfect stress relieving and relaxing experience.


If you need interior design help or advice about installing relaxing and sustainable wellness space in your home, get in touch at