How to design interiors that comply with COVID-19 guidelines

We can design interiors that comply with COVID 19 guidelines while still being a functional, beautiful, and elegant spaces where people can thrive and connect.

Being healthy is the single, most important part of our existence.

This is not the first time in history that the entire world has experienced a pandemic. The number of people infected globally is on the same scale as the Black Death and the 1918 Flu.

Every time humanity faces off against a microbe that kills or sickens many people, society learns a bit more about how science, medicine, society, politics, and economics are all intertwined, according to findings by medical historians from the University of Michigan.

”The purpose of our lives is to be happy” Dala Lama

As an Interior Designer with a background in medicine and public health, I found that my dual expertise has come into strong demand through the pandemic and still ongoing epidemic. For me it comes naturally to work aseptic or to think clean and protect, but this does not have to impinge on creating elegant and sophisticated spaces. I would say; even more now than ever, we need to feel happiness in the spaces that we inhabit throughout our daily lives.

The entire hospitality and commercial sector has to rethink and redesign to adhere to new guidelines, not only for the guidelines itself, but to take responsibility for public health and act as role models for future business models and its environments. 

We need to take a sustainable and holistic approach when designing spaces and be aware that going back to “normal” and putting in COVID 19 in the past, simply will not be the case.

Layout and secure spacing

Accommodating safe social distancing for clients and guests is a measure that needs to be reflected on when designing new spaces. This can be achieved by using chairs instead of sofas, with side tables between seating, and zoning into more separate areas. When separating areas, beautiful sustainable blind/fabric dividers, can help to secure areas while still letting the daylight shine through.

Create protocols for how many guests can be in a room at the same time and ensure you have a good secure flow for guests coming and going. Knowing your client journey within the space is important as you will need this information to be able set up a protocol of movement.

Clean and protect

When I worked as a Public and Safety Associate during the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the early 90s, one of our important messages was; to act as if everyone was infected, which means your behaviour should be the same whoever you meet and wherever you are. I believe this is a good approach in behaviour also for COVID 19.

 It takes a long time to change behaviours, but if everyone is doing the same everywhere, it becomes a natural thing to do. As more people adhere to the new guidelines in a natural way, it will become more acceptable among the greater public.

Cleaning surfaces to protect from contamination will also need to be integrated into regular protocols. It is of utmost importance to use materials that can be cleaned effortlessly.

I recommend understanding the client journey before selecting materials, so the flow and journey of guests is taken into account. Choose natural and sustainable materials that are easy to clean, and beneficial for our health and wellbeing.

My team and I recently redesigned a medical clinic in London into a luxurious new space. A design concept that now adheres to the new guidelines for COVID 19. Here the waiting area is seen with mandatory hand-sanitizer. We chose a sleek and aesthetic design that is well integrated into the space. It is functional due to its stature and how it is operating, aseptic because there is no need to touch it anywhere and it is easy to keep clean.

Education and awareness

A company is as good as its staff, and they will have a big part to play in keeping your guests or clients safe. Helping your staff feel secure and safe in their working environment and educate them about why the new guidelines are of importance and then how to implement them.

Air quality and biophilia

Ventilation and clean air are important for creating healthy spaces, so ensure the space has good airflow. Biophilia can be used to increase air quality, such as incorporating nature into design through natural materials, natural light, and vegetation.  Biophilic design encourages the connection between humans and nature and promotes wellbeing. 

Rethink and redesign for health and wellbeing

Although the effects of COVID 19 have created the need to rethink and redesign commercial spaces, we can continue to create beautiful environments without compromising the health of our clients and staff.

My design concept is focused on creating sustainable, inspiring environments with a keen focus on all five senses, designing spaces which radiate wellbeing and enduring beauty.

Our environment plays an important role in our wellbeing and human satisfaction, so it is important that interiors aren’t only designed for beauty, but also with the health and safety of its inhabitants in mind.

Does your Business need to” rethink and redesign” for health and wellbeing?

I provide consultancy in advising commercial and hospitality businesses on how to redesign their spaces to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, while maintaining functionality, beauty and pure elegance.

Let us respond to the challenges in the world together with consciousness, because the path of growth is connection, a blessing for humanity.

Maria Tibblin

Scandinavian Interior Designer for Health & Wellbeing

Holistic Design Director at MARIA TIBBLIN LTD


For further press information, case study images or interior design commentary please contact Emma Tweedie

Tel: 07711 515904 Email:

 Complimentary Consultation

I am delighted to offer a complimentary consultation to discuss a new project or a re-design that will generate and help finding new ways in adhering to the “new healthy normal” in an aesthetic and functional way.