It’s springtime here in Chicago. And while it may be rainy and gray on the day that I’m writing this, I know that fresh, bright, and sunny days are just around the corner — and that’s got me yearning to go outside and into nature. It’s also got me thinking about the best ways to bring the natural world indoors, for those days when you can’t spend hours in the Great Outdoors.
Studies have shown that nature is good for our health. Really! A growing body of research has shown that engaging with nature can help increase our energy levels; reduce stress and anxiety; improve our immune systems; decrease chronic illness and pain; and even increase longevity.
And while there’s no substitute for time outdoors, there are lots of ways you can bring a harmonious and natural feeling into your home. Here are seven fun, inexpensive, and easy ways to bring the outdoors in, and incorporate nature into your living space:
1.) Bring In Houseplants and Flowers
There’s nothing like bringing plants inside to help connect your interiors to the lush, green natural world that’s just beyond your front door. Invest in striking green houseplants that fill the space while purifying the air in your home. Herbs are aromatic, appealing, and useful in the kitchen. Flowers are fresh and vibrant and can help brighten up a space while bringing a wonderful scent. And what could be more immersive than an indoor tree, such as a palm or citrus? You could add window boxes, a vertical garden, or even a biophilic wall for maximum impact.
2.) Let In as Much Natural Light as Possible
A wide body of research has shown that exposure to natural light can help increase your focus and productivity, improve your vision, give you a better night’s sleep, and elevate your mood and outlook. This soothing, pleasant light is also great for bringing you closer to nature! To let as much natural light as possible in, invest in sheer curtains. You can also accentuate natural light with light colored walls, mirrors, and reflective or glass accent pieces. Don’t forget to keep those windows clean and streak-free, and those mirrors spotless!
3.) Bring In Fresh Air and Use Natural, Earthy Smells
Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful. As they say, “the nose knows” — and your nose knows how soothing, transportive, and pleasant fragrant outdoor smells can be. At Sweeping Dimensions, we believe your home should be a breath of fresh air… literally. One of the easiest ways to bring in nature is to open up your windows and let fresh air in. Outdoor air is often less polluted than indoor air, and studies have shown that breathing fresh outdoor air can do wonders for your brain, body, and spirit. Don’t forget to regularly dust your vents, and take care to change out your air filters to get rid of dust, debris, and other allergens.
You can also bring in your favorite all-natural scents in creative ways. Whip up a DIY misting spray or set up a diffuser with your favorite earthy essential oils; whip up some natural potpourri; or create a simmer pot with your favorite citrus fruits and herbs.
4.) Use More All-Natural Household Products and Decor
I write all the time here about the perils of plastic. Plastic is incredibly damaging to our waterways, where it builds up and poisons aquatic life — which in turn affects the food that we eat. On top of its many environmental harms, plastic feels unnatural, and a house full of this harmful material feels cut off from the rest of our ecosystem.
Fortunately, there are many swaps that can empower you to take better care of the environment, while helping to bring a pleasantly natural touch into your home. For instance, you can replace many single-use plastic products with bamboo and other plant-based alternatives; some common swaps include toothbrushes, sponges, and mats. Use glass jars instead of plastic containers, and bring a bit of the earth into your kitchen or bathroom with coconut or loofah scrubbers. You can also embrace natural materials with your design and decor choices! For instance, you can bring the outdoors in with reclaimed wood furniture and accents; wicker and rattan textures; natural stone finishes; or fabrics made from natural products such as hemp, wool, or jute.
Want to keep all of your favorite natural surfaces and finishes looking their best for years to come? Check out our guide to protecting those important household surfaces you may be damaging.
5.) Use Earthy, Natural Colors and Prints
Color is incredibly powerful. The colors and patterns we see can influence us psychologically; for instance, greens, blues, and tans all help evoke the colors of nature and help to promote relaxation and calm. You could bring these natural-feeling tones to your home by painting your walls, ceilings, or doors, or by creating a color story with your furnishings. You could also use floral wallpapers or natural prints to help create that outdoorsy sensation at home.
Interested in how you can incorporate cutting edge design into your home — without losing sight of the importance of cleanliness along the way? Check out our interior design trends guide here, or click here to learn how to keep bright colors in your home feeling fresh.
6.) Finish With Natural Accents
Little flourishes and small design choices can help transform any home into a luxurious retreat or relaxing oasis. What little bits of nature can you incorporate around your space? For instance, natural elements like rocks, shells, sand, fruits, vegetables, branches, and wood can all be seamlessly woven into your decor scheme. You can keep your displays looking their best with our guide to cleaning collections and antiques, available here.
If your home is wired for sound, you could play soothing nature sounds on your audio system. Think soothing and immersive soundscapes with themes such as rainy day, forest noises, or ocean noises.
7.) Be Mindful of Your Impact on the Natural World
While this might seem obvious, one of the best ways to bring the natural world home is to keep it in your thoughts. Be mindful of your connection with nature, and you will feel it all around you. This might also manifest in making more environmentally conscious choices each day, such as investing in eco-friendly household cleaning products, taking steps to start composting, throwing more sustainable parties, and being mindful of upcycling and recycling whenever possible. You could foster a connection with nature by making time to enjoy your patio or balcony, meditating, going on nature walks, or even just playing with your pets. You could also look into joining or supporting environmental organizations advocating for cleaner water and air.
Sweeping Dimensions: A Cleaning With a Conscience
Here at Sweeping Dimensions, we focus on handling all sorts of cleaning and housekeeping projects, so you can focus on the other things that matter most to you. We make a point of always having sustainable and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions on hand and ready to use.
The more people we can bring together in our mission for a greener world, the better off all of us will be!
So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, or making a green switch in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch – I am always happy to talk shop! At SDCS, we are sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.
Want to set up a green cleaning for your Chicago home? Don’t hesitate to reach out for your FREE service estimate!
Looking to exchange eco-friendly party ideas, or share how you’re going to focus on sustainability this year? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch via email or on social media to let us know your thoughts.