How to Determine Your Clients’ Wellness Needs

Published: November 10, 2023

One of the most critical moments in the relationship between a designer and a client is the very beginning – the discovery phase. Many designers start with a project questionnaire as they onboard a new client, which allows both to have a greater understanding of the client’s wellness needs. It also helps both parties determine if they are a good fit for one another. From basic to very personal questions, finding the right set of inquiries will help you meet the needs of your client, as well as your firm.

Getting Down to Basics

It is essential to understand the habits of every-one in the home (including pets and guests) to properly understand how to complement their lifestyle and make them happier and healthier through design. Work schedules, spiritual practices, hobbies and exercise routines also offer in-sight into how we can enhance the home design specifically to their way of life.

A design proposal is heavily (if not entirely) centered around the personalities and needs of their clients. At my fi rm, we focus on lifestyle routines, dietary tendencies and mealtime habits. What do they have for breakfast? Where do they like to eat their meals, and is everyone present? How many nights a week is dinner prepared at home? What is their favorite meal to cook?

Identifying the challenges each of our clients may face in their routines allows us to incorporate systems to promote their own wellness regime. By making key areas of the home work and flow better, designers are actually promoting wellness at its most essential level.

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Self-regulation requires effort, but habits are effortless. In different stages of life, we learn to adopt new habits or adapt our old ones. The opportunity to do so is even more promising when transforming a new space like a kitchen or a primary suite. With this new space, how can we enhance the environment to promote habits of well-being and wellness? What aspects of their home life do our clients specifically want to improve?

Digging a Little Deeper

Wellness is certainly trending in media and commerce, but if we dive into its meaning, we see that the design community is uniquely poised to deliver impactful long-term solutions to promote wellness long after our projects and installations conclude.

The University of Maryland Health Center designates wellness into eight different categories, which include physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social, vocational, environmental and financial. Or put more simply, wellness is the state of living fully.

For centuries, builders, designers and architects have been using the principles of Feng Shui and biophilia to create serene sanctuary-like environments. Today, integrated lighting and sun filtration devices can create automated mood-enhancing environments with no effort required. With technological advances in lighting and window treatments, we can program a home to have its own habits that promote wellness automatically. A smart home’s habits can save money, energy and effort, promoting financial, environmental and physical wellness. When we marry ancient principles with modern technology, the outcome can be truly amazing.

If it is time for a review of your discovery phase process, consider incorporating your clients’ wellness needs and habits as an additional tool to guide the direction of your design. Although trends come and go, wellness in the age of technology is likely to become more essential to the well-being of the human existence.

Wellness isn’t just about trendy juice cleanses and ice baths. Creating serenity in a place that promotes positive routines is a very powerful gift. It is our calling as designers to help our clients live fully in their daily lives. As the adage says: Design is at its best when it goes unnoticed, much like a good habit.

By Wendy Greenwald, founder and co-owner of Jacó Kitchen and Bath, a full-service interior design firm in Costa Rica and the Florida Keys

Photo credit: fizkes/Adobe Stock


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