Natural Design

In recent years, the design-concept of “bringing the outdoors in” has become very popular. While some homeowners may think of the interior and exterior of the home as two distinct spaces, others view the outdoors as an extension of the home, finding design inspiration in the natural world and bringing it indoors.

Exposure to natural elements, such as wood, stone, plants and natural light can benefit our mental and physical health. This includes reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Something as simple as a vase of flowers can produce feelings of happiness, and research indicates that indoor plants improve air quality as well as concentration, productivity and memory.

So how can you bring the outdoors into your home? Below are just a few, small choices that can make a big impact.

Go Green: Think low maintenance house plants. Pothos, for example, is very forgiving. If you forget to water it for a few weeks, it will give you a hint that it’s thirsty when its leaves start to curl. A little water will perk it right up. And it doesn’t need to be by a window, you can grow it anywhere.

Orchids are another good houseplant. I know what you’re thinking, those are NOT low maintenance. But consider the natural environment where orchids grow—in trees. So they don’t need fertilizer or plant food. Just water them once a week, let them drain, then leave them alone. I love orchids because they look expensive but in reality, they’re not. They add a nice pop of color and an architectural element in whatever room you put them.

Why not grow an herb garden on your kitchen counter? Herbs are pleasing to the eye, the nose and the palette. What’s not to like?

But before you go out looking for new house plants to buy, look at the ones you may already have. Do they need to be repotted? Are they dead or dying? Is it time for an upgrade or is it time to admit that you just don’t have the time to care for your plants?

Faux Green: Don’t turn your nose up just yet. Some silk plants are very realistic looking, and they are perfect for the person who doesn’t have the time to invest in caring for a live plant. The point is to keep elements that remind you of nature and that help you to de-stress. If real plants add stress, then replace them with high-quality silk ones. Just don’t forget to make it a spring cleaning project to dust or vacuum them.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most Americans spend 90% of their lives indoors, and 11 hours a day in front of a screen. It’s no wonder we are all feeling more stress than our parents did when they were our age.

Thankfully, the cure is right outside. The principles of de-stressing and lowering anxiety are directly related to spending time in nature. So bring the outdoors in by incorporating live or silk plants. Your modern stresses can be solved or even dissolved through inexpensive, natural design.