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Letting Nature In

Everyone loves having their homes feeling full of life and having a sense of freshness about the place. These days it is very easy to lose the connections we have with nature, especially for those of us who live in urban areas. The recent lockdowns and social distancing measures have meant that we've ve been cooped up within our four walls. We've lived, worked, home schooled and played in our spaces. Our lives seem to be getting consumed more and more by being indoors and it's time we brought back some of that natural world back into our lives.

"We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say we have lost our connection to nature, we have lost connection to ourselves." Andy Goldsworthy

Nature heals and has amazing natural healing qualities. 'Nature helps in emotional regulation and improves memory function.' A walk in the woods or a swim in the oceans can awaken our senses and uncover your innermost feelings of happiness and peace. Our connection and relationship with nature is genetic and it is in the very fibre of our being, according to environment psychology.

Environmental psychology is the study of human well-being in connectivity to the environment he lives in. (Stokols and Altman 1987) 'Studies have shown that people suffering from mild to severe depressive disorders showed significant mood upliftment when exposed to nature. Not only that, but they also felt more motivated and energised to recover and get back to normalcy.' (Bernan, Kross, Kaplan 2012) Environment psychology is rooted in the belief that nature has a significant role in human development and conduct. It believes that nature has a vital contribution to the way we think, feel and behave.

Image: Natural Selection Moodboard

One of the major trends of the year is all about embracing nature. Polished and refined materials are being replaced with raw and natural materials. The colours trending this year are natural blues and greens. It's all about reconnecting ourselves back to nature. Whether it's through the medium of colour, texture or pattern, nature is finding its way back into our design schemes. We all need to make a conscious effort to reconnect ourselves with nature inside our homes as well as outside.

Spring is the perfect season to start embracing all that nature has to offer us. The season of new blooms and fresh starts, of rejuvenating and reconnecting, of light and colour. So bring some of that energy into the interiors by embracing light and bright colours, such as pastels juxtaposed with sporadic splashes of blue and green. Embrace the colour white and make the most of the natural light. Accessorise with botanical inspired prints and patterns and try your hand at propagating indoor plants.

Image: Cult Furniture

One of the major upside to embracing nature in interiors is that nature allows the space to be warm, easy going and serene. Natural materials have a really positive impact on our overall well being and it makes a drastic change from being surrounded with synthetic and plastic materials. Indoor plants have been shown to help improve air quality, boost well-being and increase productivity levels. The very act of looking after a plant can be extremely beneficial for your well-being and mental health. Plants are amazingly versatile and you find a home for a plant anywhere in your house. They can help fill empty stagnant spaces by bringing about a burst of freshness. They can also help soften the atmosphere and be talking points and topics of conversations.

Image: Leaf Envy

Like with all interiors, colour can drastically make or break a room. Neutral and warm tones with a dashing of green is all that you need. If you are feeling braver and want to embrace bolder colours, try going for earthy tones such as deep reds, burnt oranges and mustard yellows. White and blue is also another timeless combination and is perfect if you prefer nautical and water inspired themes.

Materials and fabrics are another perfect way to link yourself back to nature. Natural, sustainable and ethically sourced materials are rising in the trends. I hesitate to call this a trend, because it is more of a conscious lifestyle choice. There are a huge number of brands and designers out there who have embraced this movement and are stepping away from synthetic materials. Try experimenting with different materials such as linen, leather, wool, wood, rattan and bamboo. Focus on layering colours, patterns, and materials. All of these natural materials have different textures and feels to them and can all help create a variety of design schemes.

One thing I love to do when designing nature inspired interiors is to champion local brands and designers and highlight hand crafted products and craftsmanship. Go for products made from natural, organic and sustainable materials. Products made from cocoa, cork, bronze, recycled or bio materials are also popping up in the Interior Design market. Paint brands and companies are now making eco paint and paint made from natural materials.

Take some time out and educate yourself on the origins of these products and materials, develop a connection, an understanding and an appreciation for the natural world. Follow the journey your products take from the very beginning right through to manufacturing. That way you will feel a real and genuine connection with your belongings and the environment and you will be able to appreciate them more.

Image: Wearth London

Daylight and natural light has the ability to make a room come alive and really helps to open up your space. Natural lighting also enhances the character appeal of a space by making it feel relaxed, easy-going and refreshing.

The trick to maxing out your natural light quotient is to keep your floors, walls and ceilings white or light coloured. The light colours will help reflect the natural light back into the room. Use sheer or light curtains in the spring/summer months, they will offer some shade from the summer sun whilst still keeping your space light and bright. And a few strategically placed mirrors will work in your favour. Glass and metal are two other materials which have amazing light reflecting qualities, so try incorporating this into your space. Baring in mind that this is all to reflect natural light not artificial light.

And now to add a little bit of interest and personality, bring out the patterns and the prints. Botanical prints obviously scream nature and a whole mess of leaves is exactly what you need to help you reconnect yourself to nature. Floral prints and patterns are a perfect fit for this as well. If you've gone for keeping a fairly neutral colour palette, add in a little bit of colour with your prints and patterns. Just be careful because it's quite easy to overdo it with the patterns, unless that is the vibe that you are going for in which case go ahead and go pattern crazy.

Image: Charlton Island

Environmental psychologists have argued that there is a value component added to the human-nature relationship. By staying close to nature, we feel more grateful and appreciative of what it has to offer us.' (Harold Proshansky)

"We resemble the seasons, and we mimic the patterns, phases and currents of the four season as they come full circle every year. We resemble the Earths natural rhythms and our moods, thoughts and emotions all play to the beat of the Earth. We need to allow ourselves to move with the seasons, go with the wind and bring some of nature into our homes to help us feel better about ourselves."

Thanks for staying until the end of the post and if you would like any help with designing your space, drop me a message or check out some of the design packages that I offer. Until next time...


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