Here are a couple of things that (as Oprah would say)"I know for sure":
Thing 1-- I am feeling more isolated and stressed these days than I usually am. Many many others, maybe you, are feeling the same way.
Thing 2-- I feel best after I have spent time outside, and the further into nature I go, the more able I am to just 'exhale'.
We can use this idea to help us make our homes a better place to be, better for us and our families.
I fill my home with as much nature as I can, and I do the same for my clients. Transforming their living environment has a much bigger impact than simply giving them a beautiful space. It can impact their mental health and their physical wellbeing too, which affects how they cope with stress, how they interact with the people they love, how they wake up feeling every day. And these days, for many of us our home is now also our work or learning environment, our spending time with family environment, our me-time environment, our social environment--pretty much our everything environment. That makes it more important than ever.
In summertime, we tend to spend more time outside in the fresh air, and there are flowers and foliage in abundance that we can easily bring inside our homes. We can get our dose of nature easily. Now fall is here, beautiful fall, and we should make sure that we bring those rich and nuanced fall colours and textures into our homes. Because, well, winter is coming.
Research shows that contact with nature makes you feel better-- both emotionally and physically. I thought I would write you all a guide to ways you can get yourself some nature, or rather a lot of nature, the more the better, into your homes.
These wood countertops, the plentiful greenery and natural light (plus that bunny!) let the homeowners feel almost outside while they're enjoying their new kitchen, below. You can see the details of this kitchen reno in this post
Let's start with the obvious one, one that you're probably already doing: Plants, duh.
Research has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a definite impact on stress and anxiety. Think flowers from the supermarket, houseplants on the kitchen window ledge. House plants were out of vogue for a decade or two, but are back with a vengeance and a life-giving puff of oxygen for our homes.
In the living room below I used both houseplants in pots and cut sprigs of greenery, pressed framed ferns, as well as wooden beads, pine cones animal and landscape art. the chairs are slipcovered in linen and the floor is covered in natural jute. Plenty of wood warms up the colour palette.
Don't be afraid to think out of the box this fall, when it comes to adding plant life to your decor. There are lots of things growing under the sun, not just those we officially designate as "flowers". I travel with a pair of garden clippers in my glove compartment and in the carry bag on the back of my bike. There is no tall wavy grass, seed pod, wildflower or roadside weed (who decides what's a weed, anyway?) that I won't bring home and stick in a vase/bowl/bell jar or jug. If I find it beautiful and it makes me happy, in it comes. (Sometimes itchy eyes and a sneeze mean 'out it goes' soon after, but then I enjoy viewing it through my back window, on the patio : ) Live and learn!
There are lots of other bits of nature that you can bring inside to make your interior feel more like a human's natural habitat:
No, not dirt.
Beautiful pieces of tree bark, branches, stumps, pine cones, acorns, moss, pretty stones are all things I like to incorporate into a home. If you live near water, then seashells, driftwood, river rocks, layers of sand in a clear vase (okay, turns out I do endorse dirt coming in after all) will all help bring your outside in. So get out there and forage, my friends!
Studies have shown that even just looking at a nature scene is enough to improve your mood and reduce blood pressure. Looks like those 19th century landscape painters were on to something...
Which bring me to the next, and super simple, way to get more nature into your indoor life: Art. There are a bazillion (not exaggerating) prints and originals out there, so there's something to appeal to every taste, suit every decor style, go with every palette. Landscapes, botanicals, birds, bees and animals from every continent.
And the possibilities go beyond art on the wall. Many artists and artisans create stunning work using natural materials: woodworkers, weavers, potters just to name a few.
Find something you love and bring it home : )
Speaking of natural materials, that's another way I like to make a home feel nature-based. And the bonus to using natural materials is that it also means added texture, and you all know how I feel about texture. In general, nature's not smooth, it's full of a multitude of tactile and visual patterns and subtly varied hues. When selecting pieces, I opt for natural materials whenever possible: upholstery and drapery fabrics in linen, cotton and wool, grasscloth wallpaper. Furniture pieces made of real wood (vintage pieces are a great source!) or metals that will develop patina naturally over time. Wood or stone for flooring when possible. Carpets in wool, jute or sea grass are natural, and very durable as well.
In the living room below I used jute carpeting, fresh cut flowers and grass plumes, clay vessels, birchwood logs, wicker baskets and aged metals to create a room that feels classic and connected to nature.
In this basement wine tasting area, a live edge wood bar, cut branches and grass plumes add touches of nature, A vintage printer's tray displays little treasures found on nature walks: pretty stones, seed heads, pine cones and shells.
Nature has been shown in many studies to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones --we can all use a bit of that medicine during these strange and difficult times.
If you're looking for more examples of nature based decorating to inspire you, visit my website and scroll through my portfolio to play Spot the Nature in each photo. Fun! If you'd like help creating a layered and natural decor in your own home, please reach out to me via my contact page.
Time to go for a walk, get a healthy dose of fresh air, and see what you can bring inside : )
Until next time,