Hospital design and the food industry could teach the residential real estate community a lot when it comes to creating healthier space, says Bea Spolidoro, principal at FisherARCHitecture in Pittsburgh. A person’s home can have a physical and psychological health impact, Spolidoro told Forbes.com.
Spolidoro says homes can be designed to limit the spread of germs and bacteria with flatter, smoother surfaces that are easier to clean. Spolidoro recommends reducing seams in countertops, ensuring nothing can easily fall behind built-in cabinetry, and avoiding overly complicated designs in high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, buttons, operating parts, and railings.
Nonporous materials are easier to clean and sanitize, such as steel, quartz, and Corian. On the other hand, granite and other natural stone countertop surfaces are more porous and can allow for microbial spores to accumulate. Look for materials that have natural antimicrobial properties, such as copper and its alloys—brasses, bronzes, copper, nickel, and zinc, among others.
Also, proper ventilation is important in reducing the spread of bacteria, limiting the accumulation of pollutants inside and outside a home, which can affect those with respiratory problems. Several indoor air quality monitors can help track levels of pollutants. Additionally, outdoor air quality monitors can warn when windows should be closed. Air purifiers and even some indoor plants also can help improve the air quality inside a home.