The Outdoors Inside

Bridge the gap between nature and nest

Whether it’s the smell of pine trees, the sound of crashing waves, or the feeling of grass beneath bare feet, the natural world has the power to calm and refresh us. It’s what Henry David Thoreau called “the tonic of wildness.” In Japan, the practice of forest bathing—reconnecting with nature by spending time in the woods—is even part of the national health program.

While there’s no replacement for the genuine deep breaths of the great outdoors, we can get some of the same benefits by adding touches of nature to our homes. Here are some ways to enliven your senses and ease your mind.

Go with Greenery

Plants and trees inside your home bring a lush, green, appeal—and keep the air clean. Opt for indoor varieties that are easy to grow such as ferns or philodendrons. Try making something unconventional, such as a terrarium inside a punchbowl, or a wreath of rosebuds and herbs.

Lighten Up

When possible, light your home with the sun. Open curtains or replace heavy blinds with more sheer window dressing. Consider finding a local contractor to install a skylight so you can catch as many rays as possible.

Start a Collection

Decorate with pinecones, seashells, branches, and other items from a sojourn into nature. Seeing them will take you back to a time when you felt connected with the earth. Pair these souvenirs with photographs of some of your favorite outdoor locales.

Play it by Ear

Bring the sounds of nature into your home as soothing background noise. Download one of the many free apps that provide sounds of the ocean, a babbling brook, or bird songs to get you feeling in tune with the outside world.

Use Good Scents

What we smell can be just as important as the sights and sounds of our home. Diffuse essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus. Stack your fireplace with fragrant dried cedar or apple wood. Fill a bowl with fresh potpourri or just-picked lemons and oranges.

Try Earthy Textures

Surround yourself with natural fibers such as bamboo flooring topped with a hemp rug and wicker chair. Use ecofriendly towels and bedding in natural hues of blue, green, or yellow. You may even want to select kitchen or bathroom fixtures with designs inspired by nature.

 

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