Icelandic Shelter – A Healthy Winter Home

Oliver Heath Biophilic design, colour, Eco Homes, Fabrics, Lighting, Natural stuff

For me every project is an opportunity to explore and investigate how design can improve our lives – be that for our health and wellbeing or perhaps purely aesthetic, but ideally a little of both. When Hillarys approached, me asking how their blinds and window coverings could make our homes and lives a little better- I felt it was an interesting opportunity to explore and create. As part of the project we decided that we’d like to explore the ideas through the makeover of a domestic space – and in this case one close to my heart – my own bedroom.




The creative concept that was to be the source of the inspiration was that of “Icelandic Shelter”. In the dark cold days of winter, and amidst a political landscape of the unknown, we all feel the need to nest down in a warm protective corner of the home. A space to hibernate through the darkness of winter to the bright sparkling days of spring and a little certainty. You can see our Pintertest inspiration board here:

Icelandic Shelter draws on the wild, raw and elemental beauty of the natural world, which acts as a backdrop and sensory contrast to the soft, warm cosy fabrics and surfaces – creating the ultimate winter retreat. The space aims to protect, to nourish, to enhance and recuperate- to prepare our mind and body’s for the activity of the year ahead.





Natural Light plays a key role in enhancing the space – and I’ve been keen to ensure we maximise what little winter light there is through our freshly cleaned windows; bouncing natural light off the walls and window boards and even reflecting it off carefully positioned mirrors. Natural light not only connects us to the time of day and season, but it’s also good for our circadian rhythms which help us to create a balanced sleep wake cycle.

But our windows can also be a problem letting in excess light during the summer, light pollution at night and even allowing precious heat to escape when its cold outside. So we’ve layered up fabrics – using Hillarys Thermashade pleated blinds alongside thick insulating curtains to reduce heat loss and also to create a little privacy in our urban neighbourhood.

But when day turns to night, artificial light allows us to create mood and atmosphere in this cosy space. Using a Philips Hue colour changing LED bulb allows me to switch an ordinary LED bulb to warmer richer colours, whilst a Himalayan rock salt lamp, creates a similar effect in a simpler, more natural way.




Wall colours for many are a means to create a statement, but I’ve used a neutral backdrop shade of soft grey to allow the other items in the room to shine out, whilst softening the harsh glare of sunshine on a winters day and reflecting warmer artificial light by night.


Natural materials define the Icelandic Shelter theme to create an elemental and sensual scheme. I’ve consciously opted for materials that create textural contrasts, be that the soft clean cool cotton sheets and felted wool cushions with the scorched brushed larch timber headboard of the bed; or the sheepskin throws that soften that first step out of bed in the morning before stepping onto the oak floorboards. Even sitting at the sideboard sweet chestnut console is a moment to reflect and connect with the textures of nature. It’s the realisation of these moments that zone spaces in a room, but also allow us to become more mindful of the moment – creating a richer sensory experience and one that seeks to reduce stress.




Plants are the final touch, that for me bring a dynamic form of health and wellbeing into the room. Not only do many plants such as ivy, palms and ferns reduce a build-up of toxins, but as research demonstrates they also add a calming restorative psychological benefit. It’s the polyphony of greens, their soft swaying movement, the richness of their visual texture that all goes to create a naturally recuperative quality.




Icelandic Shelter – inspired by the contrasts of the natural landscape – fire and snow, soft volcanic rock and soft green moss – to create a space that soothes the mind, recuperates the body, and puts you in a better place to face the year ahead.



If you’d like to create your very own Happy Home in this style, then here is the competition for you. The Hillarys Snuggly Bundle up for grabs includes £1000 worth of Hillarys thermal window dressings, a cosy throw, a sheepskin rug similar to Oliver Heath’s and a collection of cushions inspired by the Icelandic Shelter trend.

To enter, all you need to do is tell us, in no more than 50 words, what cosy means to you. To be entered into the draw, submit your entry to us no later than 11.59pm on Sunday 5 February.

The link is: