If you’re starved for the sounds, textures and moods of the great outdoors, bring the outdoors in!
Guest post by Lauren White
We live in a fast-paced, plugged-in world. Many of us don’t have the time to get outside and enjoy nature. This is unfortunate, as studies show that nature is an important part of our health and well-being. If you’re starved for the sounds, textures and moods of the great outdoors, bring the outdoors in! You can integrate the natural world into your living space with plants, raw and natural materials, and even art.
In the Woodwork
Wood can be a fantastic and high-impact design element. A solid piece of wooden furniture which shows the grain and has a natural finish can create a calm, grounded atmosphere. Wooden chairs, like wicker and bamboo, can do the same. Chunks of treated wood make for great floating bookshelves, and whole tree stumps can be used as seats and end tables. You can even turn slices of wood into custom-made coasters.
Growing indoor herb gardens is a popular, functional way to incorporate plants into your home environment. There are a great number of herbs which thrive on small amounts of water and sunlight, like rosemary and chives. If you’re not sure of your gardening skills, you can start with one hopeful herb on a windowsill. If you’re ambitious, you can plant up to 16 herbs in a shoe organizer or try growing vegetables indoors.
HomeAdvisor’s helpful guide to gardening breaks down the needs of individual herbs, vegetables and fruits. It’s important to do your research and know before you buy, so you don’t waste time cultivating a weepy indoor garden.
Succulents and terrariums are a low-maintenance option, as they require minimal attention to thrive. For a big-impact project, you can use succulents to create a living picture or wall. Living pictures are collections of succulents fitted into picture frames and held in by hardwire cloth. If you take this on as a DIY project, you can choose coordinating colors and arrange them however you like.
Perhaps somewhere in your house, there’s a Ziploc bag full of seashells or a box of unique rocks you’ve collected during your travels. Out in your yard, there’s a beautifully twisted twig or a perfect bunch of baby pine cones. Every one of these items is an opportunity to bring nature into your home. Incorporate twigs, branches and seashells by placing them among books and picture frames. Place stones, rocks and sand in vases and pair with a freshly plucked wildflower.
Pictures as Places
Hanging nature prints and art can make your room design more cohesive. A print of never-ending redwoods will draw attention to your forest-themed accents. A vast picture of the ocean or the view from a mountain-top will make a confined space feel more open and inviting. Take your own pictures from favorite places and vacations and have them enlarged to hang throughout your house.
The noises within a home are rarely natural. Your microwave beeps, your laptop whirs, your coffee pot sighs and your refrigerator hums. Perhaps the only natural things you hear throughout the day are your children’s laughter and the rush of water in the shower.
The sound of moving water can have a calming effect and even lower stress levels. Find a way to integrate a fountain or small waterfall into your home, particularly where you need it most. A fountain by your desk, where you pay your bills and rifle through your emails, can help you focus and better manage anxieties.
You can use as much or as little nature as you need, in your decor. You may only want one tall, elegant houseplant in the corner of your living room, or you may want your home office to feel entirely like a beach. Whichever your preference, bringing these natural elements into your home can turn it into the relaxing escape you need at the end of a long work day.