Need a room refresh? Invite the outdoors in.
There’s a litany of reasons why you might be spending more time than usual inside (inclement weather, injury, global pandemic — just to name a few). And while we must say that we love what you’ve done with the place, it’s true that the effects of being cooped up at home can’t be understated.
But why does being indoors for extended periods of time leave us feeling stressed or anxious? Shouldn’t our “Live, Laugh, Love” woodblock cut-out sustain us?
Turns out, being apart from nature can take its toll on us humans.
“Humans have an affinity toward nature that’s biologically embedded,” says Bethany Borel, a senior associate at CookFox Architects, in the New York Times. Borel and her firm design spaces that focus on incorporating biophilic elements (rooted in the theory that humans have an innate, genetic attraction to nature and its processes) into their designs, such as plant life and other natural materials and structures, to keep the people inside of them happy and healthy.
So, what can you do if you can’t hire a renowned architectural firm to bring the outdoors in through your doors?
We’ve got a few suggestions.
Get some plants
Yeah, this one might be low-hanging fruit, but it’s clear that if you’re lacking nature in your home, just bring some inside. It’s something we’ve even gone into in greater detail before on this humble blog.
But one little spider plant stuffed on top of the bookshelf generally won’t be the whirlwind refresh you need — you may have to throw a little plant party. In that same New York Times piece, we hear from Bill Browning, a colleague of Borel and founder of Terrapin Bright Green, a New York-based sustainability consulting firm.
“Environmental psychologists are theorizing that when we see a cluster of plants together, the brain says, ‘Oh, look, there’s a habitat, so this must be a good place for me to be.’” Yes, that one-bedroom of yours, that’s your habitat. So, try mixing and matching different types of plants in different locations. Make your habitat truly a home.
One thing to note: Make sure you’re only taking on as many plants as you can handle — no need to unnecessarily stress yourself out by giving your space an impromptu, wall-to-wall Pacific Rainforest makeover. Start with just a few and then learn how to keep your new leafy roommates alive.
Oh look, here’s a handy guide on how to do just that.
Bring in some natural materials
Whirls of natural wood grain, intricate wicker weaves of natural rattan, stone that’s cool to the touch and to look at — according to Borel, furniture that’s made from (and highlights) natural materials, like a solid-oak table, brings on the same soothing effects as house plants.
“When I’m sitting at a table that has a live edge, or some kind of articulation to the wood grain, I end up running my fingers over the edge of the table. That subconscious connection with the natural helps us calm down a little.”
The tactile nature of those organic materials can also contribute to lifting that curtain of malaise. The feeling of a wicker chair or stone end table. They do more than just hold things and look good, you know?
So if you find yourself in need of an import of fresh air into your home, make the natural choice with some of our favorite pieces. It may just help you breathe a little easier.