Although most of us live in urbanized towns and cities, we humans are innately biological creatures – a part of the natural world, just like plants and animals – though we sometimes like to believe otherwise.
So, it’s no wonder that many of us seek to take inspiration from nature when designing and embellishing the spaces we inhabit.
More than this, numerous studies have found that incorporating natural design elements into a space benefit us by reducing our stress and feelings of tension, while boosting mood, creativity and even motivation.
With all this considered, it’s hardly surprising that you’re looking for ways to create a nature-inspired home aesthetic – to bring nature a bit closer to you, even if you live far away from it.
Here are 9 major things you can alter to make the space you inhabit a little more nature-esque.
1. The color scheme.
The aesthetic of any room starts with the colors you choose to incorporate in it, and this is even more true when creating a room that aims to reflect the beauty of nature.
When choosing the colors you use in your home – whether it’s for the walls, floors or even the furniture you install in the space – you should pick colors that commonly occur in the natural world.
So, woody colors – such as browns and greens – in addition to the blues and greens of the sky and sea are all great choices to make up the majority of your room coloring palette.
However, small embellishments of reds, yellows, pinks and purples are also fine – after all, flowers can be almost any color – but you don’t want to overpower your room with these shades.
If you do opt for some more weird and wonderful colors, however, you should veer away from choosing block colors, as these don’t exist in nature, and they will likely jar with the rest of your nature-inspired home aesthetic.
2. Incorporate natural materials into your design.
When it comes to choosing natural looking furniture and other items for your home, the most obvious thing you can do to adhere to a natural aesthetic is to purchase things made from materials that actually came from nature – this means steering clear of plastic and synthetics wherever possible.
While wood might be the first material that comes to mind – and, indeed, a wood-filled space will exude a natural forest aesthetic – it’s far from the only material you can use to make your home into a natural haven. In addition to wood, you can fill your space with rattan, bamboo, wool and even stone, to ensure your space is filled with a variety of textures.
3. Include nature inspired art and photography.
While nature inspired art and photography can increase the references to nature within your home, enhancing its natural aesthetic, it has also been found that scenes depicting nature – whether they’re captured on a camera or reimagined by an artist – can have a positive effect on our mental health.
A study about the effect of art in the workplace showed that having art in the space reduced workers’ stress, lowered their levels of anger and tension, and helped to restore their energy – and these benefits were boosted if the art depicted a natural scene or something from nature.
Although your home might not be your place of work (although – in this day and age – it’s fairly likely to be) you’re still going to be able to benefit from some of these effects.
And, natural home aesthetic or not, what home is complete without art? What better way to fill up the blank spaces on our walls than with the stunning products of human expression – especially those which pertain to nature – and by choosing art that speaks to you, you can put your stamp on your home, allowing you to make your space even more yours.
4. Install a nature-inspired mural.
Leading on from this, if you’re willing to take the nature aesthetic to the extreme, and have the vast majority of your guests ask you, in rhetoric: you really like the outdoors, don’t you? Then you could consider having a mural painted: one that immortalizes a stunning natural scene on your wall, or a landscape that you find particularly inspiring.
Alternatively, the route more commonly taken by nature aesthetes is to incorporate wallpaper printed with a nature scene – this can be pasted onto the walls of an entire room or, more often than not, onto a feature wall.
This home décor trend, in particular, has skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, particularly wallpaper depicting woody scenes, allowing anyone to turn their previously ordinary bedroom into an enchanted forest.
All the rage among DIY buffs and home décor fanatics alike, terrariums are some of the most aesthetically satisfying, versatile and customizable decorations that you can use to enhance the appearance of your home, whether you’re aiming for a nature-inspired aesthetic or not.
Typically encased in glass or transparent plastic, you can install a terrarium with an array of different plant species, allowing you to enjoy aesthetic diversity that you won’t get from a bog-standard house plant (though we still love them, too).
A terrarium can be any shape or size depending on the receptacle that the plants are encased in – which can be anything, from a see-through bauble, to a fishbowl or tank.
More than the various succulents, mosses and cactuses usually placed in terrariums, you can integrate other natural materials such as twigs, mud, and stones – some ambitious DIY-ers even build miniature ponds in their terrariums – allowing you to create an entire, though miniature, microhabitat within your home.
When it comes to terrariums, you can build your own – to give them a little more sentimental value, but also to allow you to partner your terrarium more closely to the spaces you’re trying to build – or you can browse a diverse selection of pre-made terrariums online.
6. Imbue your home with natural scents.
While I concede that this isn’t a way to alter the physical aesthetic of your home, it can make a significant difference to the way that your home is perceived, which is near enough the same thing (at least enough for it to make it onto the list).
There are a few different ways to enshroud your home with natural scents, whether its displaying sprigs of lavender in decorative containers (and this is an addition to a nature-inspired aesthetic), keeping wooden incense sticks in your bathroom, or burning some scented candles.
These days, you can buy candles that pertain to every smell in existence, from fresh linen to the smell of retro sweets. Though, to enhance the natural atmosphere of your home, you’re better off sticking to woody, grassy or beachy scents, though you can probably get away with smell that’s derived from nature (though cinnamon might be a bit of a stretch).
7. Decorate with ornaments and centerpieces borrowed from nature.
Though they’re physically small additions to a space, centerpieces and ornaments can make all the difference to a room, and completely revitalize the atmosphere of a space.
For instance, if you install a bowl of pinecones at the center of a table, this automatically makes the room feel autumnal, while decorative sprigs of holly sing to the depths of winter – and natural ornaments can do more than just change the season of a space.
If you plant a collection of decorative seashells in the bathroom, for example, anyone who enters will pick up on beachy atmosphere (appropriate, as the bathroom is the wettest room in the house) due to the coastal associations that these natural ornaments have in people’s minds and memories.
Additionally, glass fruit ornaments, or even real fruit, can be used as centerpieces in the dining room or kitchen, since these are the rooms we associate with eating.
Some decorative indoor plants also make for great centerpieces, such as miniature bonsai trees, if you have a more suave, sophisticated natural aesthetic in mind for a particular room (or, if you’re a fan of Japanese home décor – a style that’s rapidly increasing in popularity – you could install this in a room that already has some bamboo items, to give the space a natural oriental feel).
While you could argue that honing your home décor to this extent might be a little obsessive (and maybe even unnecessary, if you were being really harsh) there’s nothing like having each room within your home in perfect harmony, and with every little thing that exists within each space looking as though it’s meant to be there.
8. Consider installing a trellis in your home.
If you’re a born and bred city dweller, you might not even know what a trellis is, and even if you do know, you might a thinking: a trellis indoors?
Others, however – like the obsessed Pinterest browsers and the home décor junkies (guilty on both counts) – will have seen, and fawned over, images of greenery strewn space separators and fauna-embroidered wall hangings.
So, to clear up any confusion quickly – what is a trellis?
Briefly, a trellis is a framework of wood, or sometimes metal, which is defined by its purpose of supporting plants – namely, climbing plants, which grow up and around the structure, decorating it with its leaves and vines.
The stunning result is that you can create archways, space separators or geometric wall hangings which are decorated and enveloped by foliage, giving you yet another avenue with which to include nature in your home, without having to plant an orchard in your living room.
While it is possible to convert a garden trellis into a structure suitable for the indoors, there are plenty of indoor-specific trellises available on the market now, which make your home aesthetic a priority.
Yep. We’ve been saving the most crucial addition to any nature-inspired home aesthetic until last, because there’s a lot to say (and lots of plants that you could incorporate into the space – though I’ll only mention a few).
Obviously, the best way to bring nature indoors is to actually bring nature indoors.
Installing plants in the different rooms of your home helps to instill each of these spaces with the feeling that they’re an individual habitat – which they are: each room in your home is a space in which you live and, as such, the aesthetic should reflect what feels natural to you.
To make the most out of what plants have to offer your home’s nature-inspired aesthetic, you should choose a variety of different species, and plants of different sizes, colors and leaf shape among other things – after all, nature isn’t monotonous.
Here are a few types of plant which are stunning additions to any home, while being easy enough to maintain and keep alive.
As a type of plant that can endure fairly dry conditions – a.k.a. they will probably survive if you forget to water them for a week or two – succulents are an extremely popular indoor plant, as its small enough to put pretty much anywhere, from your desk to your mantelpiece.
More than this, succulents are gorgeous plants with robust leaves that come in a huge array of shades, colors, textures and shapes, depending on the plant species you choose. So, there’s a succulent to match everyone’s taste.
Another famously low-maintenance plant, cactuses are great for keeping in the house and, likewise, they come in a ton of different varieties.
Cactuses come in all shapes and sizes, so you can keep a little potted cactus on the windowsill, or you can choose a taller variety to stand on the floor (probably out of everyone’s way in the corner of the room though, for the sake of health and safety).
Trees offer something different to a space than their smaller counterparts do. Whereas a little potted succulent or cactus appears as a pleasant little ornament on a previously unoccupied surface, a tree has a presence, appearing more like a piece of furniture, making it a focal point of the room.
When it comes to choosing an indoor tree plant species, there are two key things to consider: ease of maintenance, and size.
Bearing this in mind, a variety of Ficus (including the rubber tree – an indoor favorite – and the weeping fig), Dracaena (including the dragon tree), some palm species, and a plant known as the Bird of Paradise, are all gorgeous plants, and feasible indoor additions to boost your nature-inspired home aesthetic.
If anyone were to ask me if I preferred a bouquet of flowers or an indoor plant in a pot, the indoor plant would always win, hands down. After all, where’s the fun in watching a beautiful bunch of flowers wilt day after day, for weeks (if you’re lucky) as they sink quickly and inevitably towards their death?
On a brighter note, there are plenty of indoor flowering plants that you can watch prosper and bloom for years and years. In particular, Christmas cactuses – which bloom at different times of year, depending on the plant – and African violets can live for decades.
More great choices for indoor house plants include orchids – and though they may look dainty and delicate, they’re actually incredibly hardy, and can bloom for months on end – and peace lilies, which are gorgeous plants even when not in bloom, with huge, dark, waxy leaves to complement the white head of the lily.
And these are just a small selection of the plants you could choose from to personalize your unique natural haven.
While it’s unnecessary to incorporate all of these elements to create the perfect nature-inspired home aesthetic – and to be honest, it might end up being a little too much if you did (though you should feel free to add as much greenery and as many natural features as your heart desires) – you can choose some of these elements to bring your home life just a little bit closer to nature, and create the natural-looking, nature-inspired home of your dreams.
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