4 Ways to Use Wellness in Design

Hear about the four simple ways to inject wellness into your next space.

By GR Chair

Back of Sherman Chairs in restaurant.

With recent world events, wellness has gone from a trendy topic to a requirement for corporate and commercial spaces. In design, wellness surpasses the fashionable açai bowls and rightfully centers on creating spaces that are safe for people and the planet. While there are many approaches to incorporate wellness into design, we’re highlighting four simple ways to inject wellness into your next space.

  1. Outdoor Spaces
  2. Calming Color Palettes
  3. Comforting Design
  4. Cleanable Products

What is Wellness in Design?

Before we dive in, let’s dissect the idea of wellness in design. In general, the term “wellness” relates to living in balance, using exercise and nutrition to improve your wellbeing, fostering healthy social relationships, and emphasizing a mindful state of living. Wellness in design takes these elements and applies them to commercial spaces. It is the understanding and execution of how commercial spaces can influence our overall health and happiness.

Outdoor restaurant patio with white frame and yellow seat pads.

Outdoor Spaces

It’s hard to overstate the importance of outdoor spaces during the pandemic. For the hospitality industry, outdoor dining kept businesses afloat, often being the only way to serve guests outside of delivery or to-go.  If the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that outdoor dining provides viable revenue for the hospitality industry.

But what about indoor-outdoor spaces for offices, education, and retail? It turns out, yes, outdoor spaces are just as important for short and long-term success in other verticals. In their series about how the COVID-19 affects design, Gensler noted that indoor-outdoor spaces will become a tenant in commercial design, pointing to outdoor spaces as a key architectural solution for making people feel safe outside of their home in the post pandemic world. In fact, New York City is offering an incentive for building owners to create outdoor spaces in new and existing builds.

While those are long-term and pricey solutions, small businesses in every vertical have utilized available outdoor space to adjust for customer safety and concerns. Sidewalks, alleys, and parking lots were transformed into pocket parks, makeshift patios, and even outdoor meeting spaces. So, whether you are currently setting up your own patio or designing for something larger, here are our favorite products to create a comfortable and thoughtful outdoor experience:

  • Opla Collection: A retro-inspired collection that looks great in everything from offices to restaurants. An optional seat pad added comfort and place for print and pattern. Opla also stacks for easy storage.
  •  Hula Collection: Easy, breezy, and lightweight, the Hula does not disappoint. This one also stacks for easy storage.
  • Sadie II Outdoor Collection: While not only visually striking, the Sadie II is great for projects that need outdoor furniture fast. Fun fact: most of the Sadie II outdoor collection is welded, finished, and assembled in our Grand Rapids factory. This allows us to offer incredibly short lead times on this collection.

Calming and Neutral Color Palettes

We are always up for zany, colorful spaces. However, there’s something to be said about a space inspired by nature—especially in today’s climate. If we think about how interior spaces can affect our wellness, color plays a vital role in establishing context.

For wellness in design, we’re drawn to earthy greens, subtle taupes, and sunbaked clays. We’re not the only one--according to Behr 2021 Color Trends, consumers in 2o21 are leaning into earthy and calming color palettes, too. Benjamin Moore highlights a similar palette, focusing on blues that reminds us to reflect and reset.

For wellness design, these colors make sense; greens evoke a sense of quiet restoration, blues are calming and restorative, and rusts and clays supply and honest and optimistic energy to a space. Now more than ever, when we venture outside of our homes, we want to feel calm, assured, and relaxed. Below are a few of our favorite paints, stains, and fabrics that evoke a sense of wellness:

  •  Dusty Blue metal finish
  • Olive Green metal finish
  • Dune wood finish
  • Natural wood Finish
  • Pebble grey metal finish
  • Grey white metal finish
  • White Oak
  • Copper Brown metal finish
Harper Partially Upholstered Lounge Chairs.


Over the last decade, there’s been an evolution of comfort in the interior design space. We started with the heavy industrial style, using barn wood and raw steel on nearly every surface. From there, we craved a bit more comfort and sophistication. This desire led to increased ancillary spaces designed for casual interactions, usually supplemented by stylish couches or lounge seating. That grew into resimercial design, or the idea of bringing elements of the home into a workspace or commercial space. Then the pandemic hit, and many of us have been living in a perpetual state of comfort ever since.

All of this to say that we are continually craving comfort – whether at home, at a restaurant, or at the office. Wellness in design understands that need, offering more comfortable seating options as well as more physical spaces that allow for privacy and quiet moments. We’re convinced comfort will continue to play an even larger role in commercial spaces going forward.

Here are our favorite stylish and comfortable products:


Cleaning and disinfecting has become a top priority for nearly every business in every industry. The need to establish a clean and comfortable space is paramount for businesses to return to a quasi-normal state. While the pandemic is demanding more of our surfaces, wellness asks us to be more thoughtful of our material and furniture choices going forward.

Current and future state requires commercial spaces to be sanitized multiple times and day with heavy duty cleaners. It’s important that furniture can handle heavy traffic and multiple daily cleanings.

Our products are easy to clean and are manufactured using practices that are good for people and the planet. Our steel and aluminum lines are finished with a baked-on powder coat paint process that eliminates VOCs while maximizing color consistency and UV protection. Our solid wood tables are American-made, using lumber from sustainably harvested North American forests. We also include Bactiblock, an antimicrobial topcoat that uses silver-functionalized clay compounds to create a more hygienic surface, in all of our wood topcoats. And last but not least, we partner with major mills that provide bleach cleanable fabrics.

Below are some of our favorite ultra-durable and  easy-to-clean  products. Plus, check out our guide on how to clean and disinfect restaurant and commercial furniture.