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Dubai: Did you know that your home’s architecture could play an important role in fighting disease?

For example, in the heart of a quiet forest in Finland is Alvar Aalto’s tuberculosis sanatorium, which is known as Paimio Sanatorium. It is recognised today as one of the early masterpieces of modernist architecture, it’s a building that was designed to bring nature as close to the indoors as possible, in order to provide optimism, healing and inspiration for tuberculosis patients.

Here it is:

Historians like Paul Overy have also studied the relationship between attributes in modern architecture as a response to the fight against disease in an era before the invention of antibiotics.

From iconic sanatoriums like the Paimio Sanatorium to residences like Richard Neutra’s therapeutic Lovell Health house in Los Angeles, with its seamless connection to the environment and sunlight – as well as a kitchen built for a vegetarian diet, curative design elements were eventually transferred from hospital settings into homes, and even to furniture.

Lovell Health house
Lovell Health House in LA

Now, at a time where that feeling of living without antibiotics has returned, we find ourselves retreating to our homes and thinking about health and wellness again. There are many ways we can bring in these principles that were so central to how houses were built and apply them to our homes today.

Gulf News speaks to Melissa Bayik, the Head of Brand, Arada for insider tips on how to create a space that could help cure your mind and body.

Fresh air

Unfortunately, air quality on our earth is often poor, and the concentrations of air pollutants are often up to five times higher indoors. With poor air quality tied to so many chronic lung and respiratory problems, it makes sense that we should make an effort to keep the air fresh, clean, and circulating.

This may sound obvious, but when the weather is cooler, really take advantage of the situation and open your windows and let fresh air into the house. You could buy HEPA-filtered air purifiers that clean the air and remove particles, and you should also make sure filters are changed regularly. Avoid adding to the air pollution by using scented candles or incense, smoking, and remember to use the exhaust fan while cooking.

Sunlight

There are many ways you can bring sunlight into your house. Keeping your windows clean, using sheer drapery, removing obstacles from windows, using reflective surfaces, light colour palettes and light fabrics all help.

With rapid urbanisation we have, to a degree, lost touch with sunlight and nature. The bright artificial lights that are installed in offices, malls and homes keep us awake and energetic, and disrupt our bodies’ circadian rhythms. By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, you can get some balance back. There are circadian lights you can install in your homes to mimic the daylight spectrum and give you the right amount of light, colour and temperature to work in harmony with your circadian rhythm.

Interior decoration

Avoid using heavy drapes and curtains and carpets that harbor dust, as well as avoid old furniture with ornate features which can also retain dust and microbes. These can be replaced with light curtains that let sunlight through, and simple furniture that is bright and easily cleaned.

Select materials that are natural and honest, like wood, cork and rattan, as well as fabrics that are hygienic and light. An area that is becoming more and more popular are materials that have been specially created with hygiene and sustainability in mind. For example, after years in the making, IKEA has recently released fabric curtains with air-purification technology.

Visual decluttering

Many people are facing a “clutter crisis” where the things they collected over the years become emotionally and physically stressful and do not fit their homes. Marie Kondo has a cult following with her guides on decluttering selling millions of copies in over 40 languages. Her tips include taking photo of a space before beginning to clean up, committing to tidying up and following a process - the KonMari way.

With more objects and smaller apartments, there are more flexible and multi-functional furniture styles as well as creative storage options available to help you make the best use of your space. A multitude of wall and ceiling storage, drawer organisers, and multi-functional storage can be found at IKEA. Get some, declutter and allow your eyes to rest!

Nature

Connecting with nature plays an important role in making our communities, homes, and ourselves healthier. If you have access to views of nature, open this space up. If not, you can add plants into your space. In a an article by National Geographic, people with views of trees and grass were shown to recover faster in hospitals, perform better in school and even display less violent behaviour in neighbourhoods.

The greatest opportunity lies in shifting the way we think about our homes. Our homes are more important now than ever before, not just as buildings but as spaces that shape us and our lives, just as much as we shape them.