The outdoors can be such a relaxing, refreshing place. In fact, several studies have found that, when in the presence of nature, we become happier, calmer, and more relaxed. But let’s be real – not all of us can get outdoors as often as we’d like – whether it be the middle of winter with cold temps, or if work requires that we spend a lot of time indoors stuck to our desks. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that we can bring the great outdoors inside to create more relaxing and grounding living spaces…
Put plants & flowers – everywhere!
Introducing potted plants and fresh flowers into your home is the easiest way to bring the outdoors in. The more you add, the more refreshing and relaxing your indoor space will feel!
One option is to bring in a bunch of smaller potted plants and place them all throughout your home – on your desk, on your dresser, and any other surface to add a pop of color, refresh your space (literally – with cleaner air!), and give you some of that green therapy. You can even start an indoor herb garden!
Another option is to use larger plants and pop in 1 or 2 into each room. In fact, you can even bring trees inside! Plop one in a large pot, and place it in front of a window so it gets plenty of light.
Growing some rosemary and basil in my little indoor herb garden!
Of course, if you’re traveling a lot, then another option is faux plants. They’re low-maintenance and if you find ones that look as natural as the real thing, they can have the same relaxing effect on your mind when used around your home. I’ve purchased quite a few artificial plants online and from local craft stores, but none of them have impressed me as much as Nearly Natural’s when it came to quality.
Everything from their flowers to their succulents look like the real deal (including this set, which I have shown on my vanity below). I love the detailing and texture in everything from the leaves to the petals on their flowers – the bouquet of tulips I have sitting on my kitchen table is especially pretty! In fact, Nearly Natural goes as far as employing horticulturalists to ensure that product looks realistic! I highly recommend checking them out if you’re on the market for some low-maintenance, but beautiful faux plants!
Get 20% off your order at Nearly Natural using code ‘DecorJess20’, now through 9/20/18!
Incorporate natural elements into your home and furniture.
If you have the option to upgrade your home’s kitchen or bathroom, or flooring, try incorporating stone or wood elements whenever you can. For example, floors made of materials such as bamboo or wood can add instant warmth to any space.
The same goes for furniture. Wood bed frames, nightstands, coffee tables, kitchen tables (especially those rustic picnic style ones!), and shelves are great options. And for window treatments, light wood or bamboo blinds add extra texture and warmth, plus they look so chic!
The next step? Complement those wooden elements by adding furniture with natural fibers. This can be anything from rattan chairs to cute jute ottomans that double as seats when you have guests!
Live in a dorm, or don’t have the budget for larger home or furniture changes? Look for artwork and smaller accessories that you can add all around your space…
Turn a wall into a window to nature.
For an immersive feel, try hanging a wall to floor tapestry that depicts one of your favorite nature scenes. These work great behind a bed, or as an accent wall in the living area. You can also add large-scale, high-definition photography that captures scenes like ocean waves and beaches, or hiking trails and waterfalls (IKEA has a great selection to choose from as great prices too!).
And for smaller touches, hang a small collection of artwork or photos that capture nature scenes, or close-ups of plants, flowers, streams, moss, or whatever you enjoy the most!
Incorporate earthy colors & designs into your decor.
Another way to more easily incorporate nature into your home decor is to swap out a few everyday accessories and decorative items for those with earthy elements, fabrics, colors, or designs. If you can’t paint the walls in your dorm or apartment, it’s not problem! Let those accessories do all the work and pop against the white backdrop. Here are a few ideas…
To warm up your living room or bedroom, try swapping plastic storage boxes and hampers for storage with natural textures and fibers, like woven baskets and seagrass hampers. Instead of metal or painted wood frames, choose raw wood frames for things like photo displays or standing mirrors. And for smaller touches, wood trays (for the kitchen or your vanity) and coasters can help add a warm, rustic feel, plus they cost next to nothing! Looking for a slightly more dramatic change to a dorm or apartment? Opt for a woven rug that incorporates neutral earth tones – they’re a great way to introduce natural textures. They also allow you to bring in richer earthy tones like deep reds and browns without it being overwhelming.
Speaking of color, you can also add a few splashes simply by updating your couch pillows or towels. Look for ones in soft green hues like sage, seafoam, or jade – they tend to be the most calming and grounding, and work especially well in the bedroom and living rooms. Mix with light blue accents for an airier feel (great for bathrooms!), or soft earth-toned accents – like sand or slate – for more grounding living spaces.
A few other fun accessories: colorful agate coasters, natural crystals in your favorite hues, and dried flower shadow boxes (which you can learn how to make at home here)!
Create a background of nature sounds.
Nature sounds of rain and ocean waves can make your whole body feel relaxed and more in tune with nature. And all it takes are a few speakers and a playlist to bring that same feeling into into your home. It’s also a great way to drown out noise if you live in a busier town or city – you can mentally ‘escape’ to a more serene, tropical rainforest in seconds!
Let in natural light.
Natural light is absolutely free and can have a profound effect on our mood, making us feel happier and re-energized! So as tempting as it may be to buy those black-out curtains or other heavy drapery, opt for lighter fabrics or sheers instead, or blinds that allow natural light in while also providing some privacy.
Also, try to get in the habit of opening up all your blinds and curtains right before you go to bed so that the sunlight can fill up your space as soon as it rises in the morning. Because the more sunlight, the better! You’ll wake up feeling happier, and on the weekend, you won’t be as tempted to sleep in. Plus, your plants will thank you too! 🙂
Open your windows & breathe in fresh air.
Feeling that breeze on your face as you wake up in the morning, or while you’re retreating for the evening in a cozy bed, can be incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating. I also find that it promotes better breathing as you subconsciously take in deeper breathes while drawing in the scents of the outdoors. So if it’s warm wear you live, turn off the air conditioning occasionally and let in that fresh air!
Fill your space with natural scents.
If it’s too cold outside to open the windows, or if you don’t want to leave them open while you’re away, place a few woodsy fragrance oils around your home or light some incense to bring those nature scents indoors. I personally love anything with sandalwood or patchouli – I find those scents to be so warm, relaxing, and inviting! For lighter scents in the warm months, try citrus or floral notes. Experiment with essential oils and fragrance oils until you find your favorites (mine are bergamot and hyacinth!).
What are some of your favorite ways to bring the outdoors into your home?
Thank you Nearly Natural for sponsoring this post!