5 Ways to Incorporate Nature Into Your Home
Creating a home that feels inviting involves more than just paint color and furniture selection. Well-curated spaces often utilize the natural world in creative ways to connect an interior space to the greater world beyond. Here are 5 ways you can add natural elements into your home to elevate your space and make you feel better in it.
1. Add House Plants
This may seem like a no-brainer, but house plants are often overlooked and under-utilized. House plants not only help purify our interior air, but they also add color, texture, and literal life to our spaces. Sterile white walls sing as a backdrop to houseplants. Empty corners soften with a well-placed tree or plant stand. Bookshelves draw our eye when they are punctuated succulents and vines. Don't have a green thumb? Try hard-to-kill plant varieties like Snake Plant or Pothos as a starting point to green up your space.
2. Rock Out
Crystals and gems are not just for incense-laden hippie stores. Stones are tactile, and as such, they encourage us to interact with them. Add a bowl of large, rounded labradorite on a coffee table for young children to touch and hold, or to rub your thumb against after a long day. Try a giant crystal on a sunny ledge to help bounce light around your room. Accentuate a wall color with texture by adding a shelf and styling it with a chunky stone of the same tone. In a world that is full of plastic and synthetic decor, natural stones ground us in the material world and add organic beauty to our interiors.
3. Add NATURAL Smells
A well-designed home facilitates sensory joy, and one sense that is often overlooked (unless it's a garbage bag that needs to be taken out) is smell. Boutique stores and fancy hotels understand the psychological underpinnings that scent can have on our brains, and many of them create their own signature brand of smell to anchor us in the space they inhabit and thus, keep us coming back for more. Your home can uplift, relax, delight, and inspire you based on the scents you choose to imbue it with. Avoid synthetic plug-ins and sprays that are often laden with toxic chemicals, and opt instead for essential oil cool-mist diffusers, reed diffusers, or candles. Try boiling orange peel, clove, and cinnamon on your stove top for an autumnal mood. Or, fill a drawer with lavender sachets to freshen your clothing and linens.
4. Add Seasonal Cuttings
A thrift store vase and a pair of scissors is all you need to add an instant pop of nature into your home. If you don't have a rose garden or a back yard, find a park or a tree-lined street to forage for cuttings (Just make sure it's not private property). Make it a weekly habit to go on a hunt for seasonal stems. In fall, a few branches of changing leaves can create a gorgeous centerpiece for your table. In winter, look for dried flowers and branches to add to a zen-style meditation corner or bathroom. In spring, a vase of daffodils or budding branches can add instant cheer to your home. By adding seasonal cuttings to your home, your home will become grounded to the season in which you reside, and so will you!
5. Display Your Food
Bowls of fruits and vegetables need not be reserved for still-life paintings. Produce can add color, texture, and smell to a room. Why not entice your children to reach for a healthy after-school snack by displaying a bowl of ripe peaches in a vintage milk glass bowl? Instead of stowing away your potatoes and onions in a back corner of your pantry, toss them into an old wooden bread bowl as a centerpiece on your table. Any shelf-stable fruit or vegetable can be made boho, farmhouse, mid-mod, or contemporary by displaying it in a vessel of your choosing.
A Natural Home is a De-Stressed Home
Public health researchers have found that connecting to nature makes us feel better emotionally. It contributes to our wellbeing, reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. With most of us living busy, out-of-nature lives bent over computers or tucked away in cubicles, it is important to have a space where we can feel healthy and calm. Bringing earthy elements into our home can help us connect to the natural world and give us just the connection we need when we can't make it to the trailhead or beach. Even small stones and plants can remind us of our place on this planet we call home.