If Scandinavian minimalism or industrial chic isn’t your thing, then why not bring some more natural elements into your home interior design.
Everyone benefits from being surrounded by nature.
Getting out into the wild helps us relax, with the feeling of the air, the sound of the leaves and natural light all helping to promote a sense of peace and calm. But that’s not always possible with the Irish weather, so what can we do to feel this same sense at home?
Whether you’re looking to bring more plants into the home or in love with the idea of exposed stonework, here are our top tips for a more natural home.
Welcome back the sun
The simplest way to bring nature into your home is by opening up to natural light, which provides a wide spectrum of light, naturally improving both your mood and your health.
Heavy blinds and curtains can block out the light, so consider tiebacks or lightweight nets which help to soften and diffuse the light but still maintain a level of privacy.
Strategic use of mirrors can allow light to penetrate deep into the darkest home, whilst solar tubes can be effective in bringing natural light into windowless bathrooms and staircases for a fraction of the cost of skylights and Velux windows.
Oxygenate your room with indoor planters.
Large potted plants are great for creating an outdoor atmosphere but can be a lot of work. However, most garden centres now stock a range of low maintenance and controllable indoor plant options which can bring colour and energy into the home.
From potted indoor bulbs for a splash of colour, oxygenating foliage, herbal planters for a wonderful aromatic display to a comprehensive range of cacti and other succulents, indoor plants provide a treat for all the senses.
Ditch the coal
As the Autumn and Winter nights draw in, there are few things more comforting than a roaring fire for those lucky enough to enjoy a working fireplace. But rather than just reaching for the convenient options of coal and peat-based products, why not go old school with a wood fire.
Not only is this better for the environment, avoiding damage to peat bogs and reducing the levels of pollutants, wood fires feel more alive and allow you to enjoy the aromas of the natural oils and resins as they evaporate from the fire.
If you have space, a woodpile near the fire brings an all year round appeal, aesthetically pleasing as it suggests the randomness of nature and bringing the aromas of the forest into your home.
Enjoy the shower
Showers are more than just a way to keep clean. The flow of water reminds us of the rain, which calls back to the great outdoors. The movement of the water oxygenates it and the warmth of the water helps us relax.
It’s no wonder that it leads to so many moments of inspiration and insight that it has its own psychological concept named after it.
You can further optimise the sense of calm and relaxation through the use of different showerheads and by bringing plants into larger showers ( not only good for you but saves the bother of watering them!).
Waterfall or rainfall showerheads, hydrotherapy jets and atomisers which produce a mist letting you feel like you’re walking through a cloud, all reinforce the naturalness of the water, letting your mind drift off to the wild.
Some designers have created vertical gardens, using mosses, ferns and lichens used to living in damp environments to create living walls of greenery inside showers, and whilst this may not be the most practical solution, it definitely makes you think your showering under a tropical waterfall!
More down to earth options include potted ferns for wet rooms and larger showers, which further oxygenate the air and bringing a welcome splash of colour to the room.
The wonders of wood
Few things are more evocative of the outdoors than natural wood. From veneered floors to polished wood furniture, every piece of wood is unique and it’s the combination of individuality and randomness of pattern that reinforces the natural look and feel of wooden product.
The minimalist and industrial trends have moved furniture away from the unique in favour of the uniform. Clean lines, consistent painted or metallic finishes are artificial, and our brains recognise this. They highlight imperfection and dirt, which can make people feel anxious, as we seek to return to the perfect.
Natural finishes demonstrate and celebrate the infinite variety of the natural world, reminding us that it’s great to be different! Natural finishes, whether wooden tables, rattan chairs, reed mats or natural fabrics tend to be warm colours, which also help us to relax.
Rejoice in the found
Natural and found products allow us to promote sustainability by repurposing products that have come to the end of their original purpose. From railway ties used as mantlepieces, reclaimed tiles and stone floors to raw unfinished wooden furniture, we’re bringing a variety of natural shapes and finishes into our homes, whilst avoiding the materials being taking to landfill.
There are now a wide range of sustainable businesses bringing life back to reclaimed furniture, building materials and stonework, or using antique and distressed wood for floors and furniture, helping to promote sustainability and reuse rather than mass-produced products.