According to a recent study, we spend less than half an hour a day outdoors1. Surely we’re outside for longer than a mere 30 minutes each day, you say?
Well, between our technology-oriented lifestyles, long working hours and, you guessed it, our infamous weather, it doesn’t seem all that surprising when you think about it.
But time and time again, scientific studies have emphasised that being in contact with nature has an extremely positive effect on both our mental and physical health2.
We recently carried out a survey explore people’s home habits in the UK, and the results mirrored the statement above. Our survey revealed that nearly half (44%) of Brits associate their garden with feelings of relaxation, and one in three (30%) with happiness. It’s little wonder, then, that the vast majority (81%) also indicate that having an outdoor space at home is important to them.
Whether it's a walk in the park, trip to the countryside, or an afternoon spent reading your favourite novel in the garden, immersing yourself in nature is a great way of escaping the stress and frantic pace of day-to-day life. Unfortunately, however, not everyone has the luxury of having a garden, greenery at their doorstep or time to get away, which can make experiencing the great outdoors a little tricky.
So, if you can’t go to nature, why not bring nature to you?
Here, we look at a few ways in which you can bring some of Mother Nature’s magnificence into your home, so you don’t have to miss out.
1. Indoor plants and flowers galore
Flowers are a great way to bring your indoor space to life, adding vibrant colours and fresh, natural scents to your home. The only downside is that you’ll have to keep replacing them due to their limited lifespan.
House plants, on the other hand, are a more permanent feature — depending on how well you look after them. When you’re looking into which plants to buy, remember to take into consideration how much sunlight they’ll need and if they’re suitable for indoor placement.
Intensify the visual impact flowers and plants have by matching the colour of their blooms to that of your furniture and walls.
2. Use natural materials
Bringing materials that are associated with the outdoors into play — such as wood and stone — is another great tactic.
While beautiful, these materials can be more costly, but achieving the look doesn’t need to be. Laminate, vinyl and engineered wood flooring, for example, offer a natural appearance without the hefty price tag.
If you’re looking for more minimal, stylish touches, rattan and straw ornaments or furniture can help you give your home a cosy, rustic feel.
3. Let the sunshine in
Natural light is one of the cheapest and easiest ways of bringing your home to life. It brightens up everything from walls to furniture, emphasises colours and is a sure-fire way of instantly boosting your mood.
It’s also something that’s often overlooked, so don’t be afraid to draw your curtains and let the sunshine in, especially during the spring and summer months when there’s plenty of bright light to be had.
4. Experiment with colour palettes
Which colours do you associate most with nature? Earthy tones — such as greens, golds and browns — that mimic lush hills and picturesque fields? Or blues, greys and whites that replicate the colours of the sky, clouds and sea?
Whatever your preference, there are countless colours to choose from, and there’s no right or wrong option. Just pick the colours that signify nature to you and use the palette to get decorating!
5. Hang images, photos and paintings of nature
It’s widely recognised, both in science and popular culture, that images depicting natural landscapes or flowers create a harmonic and tranquil environment, helping us feel calm and relaxed.
Whether it be a painting of your favourite beach or a photograph you took during a relaxing weekend trek in the mountains, an image can also instantly transport you back and help you relive a cherished memory.
6. Display stones, rocks, sand and seashells
Every time you go on holiday, or simply go out for a walk somewhere new, collect any fascinating rocks and stones, bizarre coloured sand and unusual sea shells you come across. You’ll be surprised how many different varieties you’ll accumulate.
These elements make great table or windowsill ornaments: simply display them in jars, or in a decorative plate or bowl.
7. Outdoor scents
Use floral, fruity or wood scents with candles, incense, diffusers and potpourri to recreate fresh, natural smells.
Another way to bring in outdoor scents is simply by opening your windows! Not a revolutionary idea, but one that helps you feel more at one with the outdoor world and brings natural scents into your living space.
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