Homes are designed based on personal aesthetics, convenience and overall looks. Seldom is attention given to the functional aspect of furniture – what kind of seating is comfortable for the back and spine, how much at a distance should appliances be placed, how must one design the layout of the living room, and more. As mundane as these may sound, they must not be ignored.
Ergonomics is designing and arrangement of things so that they are easy to use and safe. Using furniture that isn’t ergonomic can have subtle, long-term detrimental effects on the body, spine and general health over a period of time. As a rule of thumb in decor, one must never sacrifice functionality for looks.
Below are 7 clever tips to ergonomically design your living space.
1. FEET SUPPORT
One of the tenets of good ergonomic design is support for the feet. Seating is very important and the lack of support to the legs results in dangling legs, stress on pressure points behind the knees and backs of the legs. Sitting forward to compensate this, leaves the back unsupported, resulting in pain and encouraging slouching.
2. RANDOM PLACEMENT OF GADGETS
Gadgets in a living room are often placed at varying heights, without any thought to convenience and usage. TV’s and music systems must be placed at approximately 30-34″ above floor level. This is also dependent on the homeowner’s height. Watching TV at eye level while sitting, reduces strain on sight.
3. UNDUE IMPORTANCE TO GADGETS
Placing the TV on the wall with a sofa facing it instantly promotes the TV to the most important position in the room around which everything else revolves. TV’s are unattractive, but most importantly they distract attention and divert focus from other people. Gadgets must never occupy pride of place in the living room.
4. CUSTOMIZED BUILT-IN FURNITURE
Customizing a long built-in bench or window prevents central clutter as well as creates window space that can be used for seating or storage. Placing all furniture in the center of the room is what we most often do, but can be stressful and space occupying. Moulding the window seat and creating curved support (just like in the homes of old), ups the ergonomic quotient providing comfort to the back and spine.
5. ADDITION OF CURVED LINES
Adding curved lines are a clever way of introducing ergonomic design to the living room. Curved lines are soothing, and every element – from artwork to furniture – can be chosen to mimic the cocoon effects and cushioning of the body for maximum comfort.
6. SPACE BETWEEN FURNITURE
Ensure that there is ample space between different types of furniture. Manoeuvring around the living space first happens mentally before the body makes its move. Leaving any less than 50cm space between different items of furniture becomes difficult in navigation and movement.
7. STRESS-LESS FURNITURE
Stress-less furniture is pieces where stylish designs and ergonomic forms meet. Recliners, cushioned sofas, L-shaped sofas, less sharp edges, more volume and extensive support provide comfort and take care of the body even after long hours of use. They lend aesthetics to the living space too.
Living rooms designed without aesthetic considerations of furniture and decor, tend to get stressful and chaotic over time. Often such furniture gets neglected, with people choosing other areas of the home to lounge around. While designing living rooms, it is essential to make ergonomics a central part of the design.