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From infrared saunas to meditation corners, “wellness” is 2022’s hottest design trend

Lo Bosworth, founder of the beauty brand Love Wellness, technically has a home office in her New York City apartment. But, more often than not, she found herself working from her kitchen table, preferring the airier space over the closed-off room whose classification was rooted more in realtor-speak than reality. And since this is New York City, where every square foot is a precious (and pricey) one, Bosworth was determined not to let the “office” go to waste. After months of deliberation, she installed a Clearlight Infrared sauna and covered the rest of the room in gym flooring ordered off of Amazon. Now, she uses the space almost daily, either for a dry heat session or for streaming an online workout class. “I have some metal toxicity and residual Epstein-Barr I'm working on, and an infrared sweat helps to detoxify the body, especially for anyone dealing with any kind of autoimmune issue,” she says of her choice. “I converted the space that got no use into one I use frequently.”

Bosworth is among the increasing number of Americans who are prioritizing wellness spaces, amenities, and accents in their own homes. In a recent report from the American Society of Interior Designers, “health and wellness” was highlighted as one of the top interior design trends for 2022: “Homeowners are increasingly searching for designs and products that will promote good health and an overall sense of well-being,” the report reads, noting an increased interest in “mental wellness enhancements,” “outdoor living spaces,” and “places where they can relax and restore from the increased stresses of everyday life.”

So what does “wellness” look like in a home, exactly? For some, like Bosworth, it’s a dedicated space for a relaxation treatment of choice. (Or treatments, plural: Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, enlisted Roman and Williams to craft a complete spa in her Montecito home.)

According to Victoria Sass, founder of interior design firm Prospect Refuge, infrared saunas and meditation corners have become extremely popular among her clientele. “I think these days we work at least one dedicated wellness space into nearly every project, if not more,” she says.

Other times, wellness isn’t just confined to one area. In fact, it can be the complete home concept: Fashion and home decor designer Jenni Kayne tells Vogue she has turned her 20-acre California ranch into a retreat geared toward “slow, intentional living.” Bathtubs have sprawling views of the Santa Ynez Mountains (“you can just sit there for hours,” she says) hammocks dot the backyard, and a pool provides ample room for relaxation. Meanwhile, there’s not a television in sight (because there simply aren’t any around).

Adam Rolston, Creative and Managing Director of New York-based INC Architecture & Design, says that increasingly, wellness has become the utmost priority in the buildings he designs. No longer can a building claim they have top-notch wellness amenities with just a gym: in Rolston’s Boerum Hill, Brooklyn condominium, spa-like amenities are spread throughout the entire structure, including a meditation garden, yoga, boxing, and pilates studios, as well as a “sun catcher” lounge meant for soaking in Vitamin D. An entire floor is dedicated to a three-part wellness circuit: residents first head to a dry heat infrared sauna, then a wet heat steam room, and finally a cold shower treatment. Then there’s the architecture of the building itself: “We are designing spaces that are lighter, calmer, and cleaner with biophilic elements and an emphasis on access to exterior space, and natural light,” Rolston explains.

For those with smaller spaces, wellness accents are becoming the decor choice du jour. Crystals, geodes, and agate—all known for their positive energy properties—are now sold at mass-appeal home goods stores like West Elm and CB2. Himalayan salt lamps—which claim to boost moods, improve sleep, and ease allergies—have seen a spike in Google search interest since 2017. Meanwhile, biophilic design (or, in layman's terms, having a bunch of plants to evoke the surroundings of nature) has been an extensively covered trend for a few years now.

The question is—why? Wellness is far from a new concept or buzzword. (Goop, after all, was founded over 14 years ago.) But perhaps this has something to do with it: In 2020, Americans' mental health hit new lows. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 67 percent of adults said they experienced stress over the course of the pandemic. Nearly half of adults reported this negatively impacted their behavior, from increased body tension, to unexpected mood swings, to screaming or yelling at loved ones. Furthermore, when Gallup asked adults across 116 countries in 2020 if they’d rather live a calm life or exciting life, 72 percent of them chose the latter. Simply put: after the year—or, at this point, years—that we’ve all collectively had, we just want to chill out. And the best place to do that? Our homes.

"We’ve all spent most of our time at home these past two years, which I think has really caused everyone to reprioritize wellness within a space. It’s no longer just a place you return to after a long day,” explains Kayne. “Your home should reflect and inspire the best in you.”

This article was originally published on Vogue US.

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