by mel bramner
We like to think of our home as a place to decompress and wind down, but in reality, many of our homes are not as relaxing as we’d like them to be. Take a moment and think about the places and memories that are most calming for you – chances are, you’ve just thought of somewhere outdoors. Maybe a beach at sunset or standing on the summit of a mountain with the wind in your hair.
There’s plenty of scientific research that backs up what we all know – being outdoors makes us feel good. So how can we bring a bit of the outdoors into our homes? How can we take a spoonful of the spiritual lift and feeling of peace and joy we get from the wild and bring it indoors? Where you live should reflect you as a person so aside from a pile of muddy wellies and a heap of coats. How does your home reflect your outdoor interests?
Whether it’s opening up a view, hosting more plants, looking at your interior design or just curating a collection of outdoors ephemera, there will be something you can do to suit your situation.
Not everybody has the luck to have a wonderful view from their sitting room window of a garden or beach, but even a little bit of view goes a long way. Many of us have our furniture arranged for a good view of the TV or the log burner – could you angle a seat to make the most of a view of a tree outside or the plants on your balcony? Set up bird feeders within view of your kitchen window or plant window boxes so that you can always see something living from your windows.
Houseplants are good for your health. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, they can improve air quality, improve mood, reduce stress, reduce blood pressure, fatigue and headaches. Fill your home with plants, from cacti, succulents and ferns, to flowering plants and larger specimens. Most houseplants are not demanding and require little attention to flourish as long as they aren’t in direct sunlight or next to a radiator.
Interior design should be very personal, not something you can buy in a shop. To really reflect your love of the outdoors, use fabrics, textures and colours, which should reflect what you particularly love about the outdoors. Think about those calming memories from earlier and reflect those in your decorating choices:A whitewashed colour scheme with faded blues and golden yellows will give the feel of coast. Combine with sisal, wicker, linen, ticking stripes and driftwood to provide a backdrop to display seascape artwork, shells and pebbles or the occasional cushion cover with the image of a puffin or seal.
A natural palette of muted greens, grey and heather purple brings to mind days on the moor or in the mountains. Bare wood, tweed fabrics, natural leather coupled with sheepskins, log fires and images of hares and red deer.
Fresh greens and yellows and pastel colours add a softness that speaks of springtime, the promise of change in the air and more time to spend outside enjoying it. Reflect that new life with bunches of daffodils and spring bulbs.
A curated collection of wild things from your walks
Bring joy into your home in the form of an ever-changing display of found items from your walks. Inevitably this will be a seasonal feature. Use wooden bowls or wicker baskets to display conkers, pinecones and acorns; or vintage vases and jugs to display wildflowers, feathers, foliage and dried flowers.
It doesn’t have to be a big change all at once, just a little bit here and there can make a huge difference. Think about what you want your look to be, which kind of outdoors fills your cup, and then just add a piece here and piece there, along with your wild finds.