Bring Peace to Your Home with Natural Materials
Add pieces straight from Mother Nature to your abode
We’re constantly on the go. Our smartphones buzz nonstop with notifications, as our eyes glaze over computer screens all day.
Our bodies desperately need a break from the consistent hum of the desktop and dinging of our phones. The constant use of technology has infiltrated our workspace, often leaving us high-strung at the end of the day.
Some people strive to unplug their home from the fast pace technology and link it to the slow rhythms of nature.
Experts certainly understand why.
“By our very nature and origins as human beings, people generally react positively toward objects and surfaces that remind us of the natural environment,” says Dr. Jill Pable, professor of interior design at Florida State University. “There’s a name for this.”
It’s called biophilia, which Pable defines as “our natural tendency to interact or associate ourselves with nature.”
Researchers point to biophilia for its crucial role in our mental and emotional health. For many, our homes provide our “safe space,” giving us a sense of stability.
That leads us to another term: biophilic design, which “seeks to connect our inherent need to affiliate with nature in the modern built environment,” Stephen R. Kellert wrote in a 2015 article for Metropolis magazine.
Through the addition of components from the natural world, you can make such a connection in your home.
One strategy: Decorate with more artisan fixtures and fewer synthetic materials.
Dr. Pable says she recommends materials close to their natural state that can reference the beauty of nature, such as cork flooring, wood furnishings and millwork.
She adds: “Frank Lloyd Wright is known for his homes that were constructed from bricks made right on the home’s site using local sand.”
Tallahassee interior designer Ashley Cortese suggests using tree stumps for different types of tables. One stump can function as a side table, a small cluster of stumps as a coffee table.
“One of my favorite projects included a long farmhouse table and bench made from locally harvested river cypress,” she said.
Indoor plants are a practical and aesthetically pleasing way to create this natural shift in your home. Looking at plants and greenery makes us more relaxed.
Even if you don’t consider yourself the best plant caretaker, many options require little attention. Succulents and windowsill gardens are trendy for this purpose.
“Simply adding live greenery in a decorative vase or using yard clippings can bring life into each room,” Cortese says. Eucalyptus and reindeer moss are low-maintenance options that preserve well, she says.
Additionally, plants keep the air clean. While releasing oxygen and lowering carbon dioxide in the air, they are simultaneously reducing toxins in your space.
Natural light is another possible addition to the home. It improves our vitamin D levels — an essential nutrient that supports bone growth and other important bodily functions. It also can help with seasonal depression, acting as a natural booster of spirits.
So think about the size and location of your windows.
Tallahassee residential designer Elizabeth Wallace suggests adding a transom window over an interior door or using glass-pane French doors in unexpected areas. They can bring in light and add character to any space, she says.
Turn off those fluorescents and open up those curtains to let some sunshine in. Hanging mirrors can reflect sunlight, brighten a room and make the space seem bigger. Even art containing warm colors that emulate natural lighting can produce this effect.
Filling your home with soothing materials designed to mimic nature ensures a sense of relaxation.
“It is also rare for natural elements to fall out of style,” Wallace said. “By creating a design centered around natural tones and textures, your space can evolve through time and function.”