My love for nature is reflected in the way I bring elements of nature indoors into the homes of my clients and to my own home. I love sharing how to bring nature indoors for you too! Some of the elements I use are plants, natural fiber art, ways to emphasize natural light and by layering jute rugs with vintage patterns.
Today I wanted to talk about how this special relationship between nature and our home environment can be impactful in improving our well-being.
How to Bring Nature Indoors: Facts about being outside
It’s quite easy for our homes to become dysfunctional if we don’t pay attention. One issue is that we rarely go outside to absorb fresh air and Vitamin D. Studies have shown that kids have now traded summer play time, climbing trees and building forts for 5-8 hours of screen time per day.
Since the 1990s, researchers have noticed a dramatic shift that has negatively influenced families from spending time together outside. A lot of this is due to devices and screen time but busy schedules can also be the culprit.
There are tremendous benefits to outdoor family time. Here are a few fun facts:
- Time spent in nature with increased fitness will improve cognitive function which means better school and work performance.
- Being outside slows down the frenetic mood we feel while playing video games or watching mindless YouTube videos. In return, we are calmer, less prone to depression and hyperactivity.
- It’s obvious that being outside improves eyesight as well. Straining our eyes for hours upon hours on devices can increase the risk of nearsightedness.
- Sleep is also impacted by the lack of outdoor time. When we are sluggish and stay inside, we become lethargic. The quality of sleep is decreased. Exposing ourselves to nature and enjoying the natural light and summer breeze increases serotonin levels which in turn means better sleep at night.
- Bringing nature into our homes, such as natural light, fresh air, plants and natural textiles is essential to bring up our dopamine and melatonin levels as well.
How to Bring Nature Indoors: Our relationship with our home
As I mentioned before, seeing our home as a special relationship is essential to improving wellness.
It’s a wonderful thing to intentionally choose a plant that can specifically help you in an extraordinary way. It can elevate your relationship with your home to something very personal and meaningful.
You become excited, happy and grateful for the nature that is brought in.
One room that I have a newfound appreciation for is my master bathroom. It’s as if my bathroom and I are in the honeymoon stage of the relationship! As many of you know already, I waited 10 years for this remodel. T-E-N years of wishing and dreaming and designing.
Now that it’s finally here, I’m so excited to share how I intentionally brought nature in so that I could meditate and start and end my day in a fulfilling manner.
How to Bring Nature Indoors: Seasonal Affect Disorder
I’ve always struggled with Seasonal Affect Disorder. Ever since I was 10 years old, I noticed my mood changing as the seasons changed. The worst months were January through March as the build-up of gray weather really impacted me.
Then as spring passed and summer weather hit Seattle, I became my brightest self.
When I reached young adulthood and heard about SAD, I knew that I had a name to the struggle. Even though I live in sunny Socal, our master bathroom has always been dark and uninviting. The 1997 builder grade aesthetics don’t help!
Last winter when I set about designing this space, I instantly envisioned the walls as floor to ceiling white tile. I wanted a classic marble floor and the shower to be accented with black hardware. I wanted simplicity without too many patterns I could control the materials to be used but there was one thing I couldn’t control. There is only one set of windows on the right side of the bathroom which means a dark and sad overall.
How to Bring Nature Indoors: Velux Skylight
When the option of adding a skylight to my bathroom presented itself, I was quite intrigued. Would it really make a difference? Do I really need it since our weather here is pretty mild? I grew up in Seattle where the wintery days were dark by 3pm but that didn’t happen here so I wasn’t sure.
But once the Velux skylight was put in, it literally felt like clouds opened and angels began singing. I know I can get easily over excited about design solutions. But exaggerations aside, it’s like the heavens opened up and we have LIGHT! Factor in the fresh air that is available anytime we want, this was a complete design surprise and solution for a long term problem.
Since then, I find myself excited to go in the morning and get ready for the day. The first thing I do is open the skylight shades and open the window. The crisp air and natural light streaming down in the morning is the best!
After I get ready, I actually sit on the bathroom floor and take about 10 minutes and pray and meditate. I’m extremely grateful for the Velux Skylight and I can’t express how it has changed the functionality of this room.
Which in return has really increased positive mood!
It’s a big positive chain reaction. Once we have increased positive mood, our serotonin levels are automatically increased as we literally begin our day.
Any chance that we can increase exposure to natural light and increase hormones for a better mood, I am all for it. Honestly, adding a Velux skylight will be completely life changing and you will wonder why you didn’t consider it a lot earlier!
How to Bring Nature Indoors: Plants and Wood Elements
Along with white tiled walls, the frameless glass shower and soaking tub, I knew I wanted a fiddle leaf plant.
Now these plants are quite finicky and I haven’t had great success in keeping them alive.
However this one has done extremely well. And I think I’ve figured out the secret!
Did you know fiddle leaf plants are actually tropical plants? When I was in Miami, there were HUGE fiddle leaf plants all over the city!
My guess is that the shower and bath time here produces enough steam where it is humid and makes this plant thrive. Fiddle leaf plants don’t have to be watered too often. Every 2-3 weeks is good and it must be well drained. It actually doesn’t mind being on the dry side. But I have noticed it likes humidity. And what better place to produce steam than our beautiful bathroom.
I also love having a gigantic air plant on my bathtub tray. It immediately sends signals to my brain of the association to a spa like environment.
Did you know that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text? It triggers emotions and improves comprehension.
For myself, I associate air plants with relaxation and modern aesthetics that I adore.
So when I see this in the bathroom, my mind first thinks, wow I really love my bathroom. Which in then evokes feelings of gratitude, happiness and faith. As I start the day with these feelings, my actions confirm my happiness. I sit down and meditate and express more gratitude, focus on positive energy and dream my big dreams.
This is the kind of thought life that can really make or break your productivity for the day. And honestly, if there wasn’t bright light streaming down from the Velux Skylight, I wouldn’t have been thinking these positive thoughts.
Another design aspect that I initially wanted was a white oak vanity. I loved the natural color that wasn’t too yellow or red. I knew it was going to add a natural and foundational element.
Lastly, the woven shades adds an organic element that balances the white tiled walls and artificial materials such as the hanging black pendant and acrylic soaking tub.
So how will you bring nature indoors? Can you see why this is such a heartfelt topic for me to share with you?
One of my biggest passions is to share design and cognitive functioning facts and tips that elevate your daily wellness.
It makes me feel so happy to know that I can help you feel better at home. And bringing in natural light, plants and organic elements in a very intentional and personalized way for you and you only is key!
I adore the white oak vanity. Who makes it?
It is custom made by my cabinet guy!