We may be living in an increasingly urbanised, mechanised and virtual world, barely taking a second to look up from our flickering screens, but we still have an innate urge to commune with nature. Modern humans have existed for around 200,000 years and for most of that time we have lived in close harmony with the natural world. It is not surprising that that instinct to commune with nature is rooted deeply within us, or that exposure to the great outdoors brings many health benefits, making us more relaxed and refreshed.
From the urban rooftop garden to the ever-popular conservatory, to the humble houseplant; the urge to make our domestic home environments more in tune with the natural world is both understandable and, with a little creative thinking, surprisingly easy to achieve.
Natural colours and textures
Where possible, introduce natural materials and fibres to your home. Cotton, hemp, jute or linen lampshades, cushions, throws and drapes are an easy way to bring a more natural and rustic touch to a room. Likewise look for wood, wicker or rattan furniture, or even a real stone washbasin. Combine these touches with colour schemes inspired by nature. Calming greens, relaxing sky blues, or cheerful sunny yellows, creams or beiges always look great in any room. Try studying beautiful landscape photography to help you put together a colour palette when choosing the colours for your walls, floors, furnishings and curtains.
Real wood or stone flooring never fails to look stylish and other natural materials such as cork or bamboo feel naturally warm and inviting in a home especially in bare feet. Flooring made purely from natural materials can be expensive, however; modern high-quality vinyl flooring can be an incredibly convincing alternative if you don’t have the budget for the real thing.
Natural light has a magical ability to make any room look and feel fresher and more spacious. Replace heavy or dark window dressings with lighter voiles. And a few strategically placed large mirrors can reflect natural light around the room and make it appear larger. Skylights or roof lanterns look spectacular in a downstairs extension or bedroom. They allow light to stream into the room and just imagine falling asleep underneath the stars.
To really open up a downstairs room, consider installing bi-folding doors. Not only will they let natural light flood into the room and give you unsurpassed views of your garden, but their clever concertina design allows them to be folded away neatly. On a warmer day, this gives you free easy access to the garden, making the home and the great outdoors seem to flow effortlessly into each other. Smart slimline aluminium bifold doors are a great choice; their slimline profile allows them to fold away discreetly when opened and the sturdy aluminium frames can be finished in a choice of 200 RAL colours allowing you to coordinate perfectly with your interior and exterior design colour schemes.
The easiest way to introduce more “nature” into your home is to literally bring in natural things; the most obvious being houseplants. Placing flowers and plants in every room is inexpensive, and with a little research, they are normally easy to look after. You might be surprised how they can also lift your mood and that of the rest of the family too. The more adventurous homeowner, with a little more floor space to play with, might also want to consider bringing a gorgeous tree into the home. Housed in large planters and with the appropriate internal environmental conditions, an indoor tree can make a stunning focal point in a room.