Nature inspired interiors
Nature inspired interiors
Little Greene Paint Company – Kings Rd, Chelsea, London
Reading time 2 mins
As a freelancer, I have the pleasure of choosing my working space. Even though my office is organised, full of colour and items to keep me focused, I often opt for a different setting just to keep me on my toes. Sofa, dining table, coffee shop … Little Greene paint company showroom at Chelsea …. what?
Could not resist this kind of invitation, especially the posh side of London, so I accepted the challenge to open everyone’s eyes to what Nature inspired interiors actually looks like.
You mean, how to bring outdoors in? This is such an old term, we can rephrase that, something like …. let’s stretch out the positive feeling we get whilst outside, profit from the happy memories we share with nature or even take advantage from the mental stimulation fresh air has on us. Sounds better.
Keep the answer to this question to yourself but when was the last time you enjoyed the pleasures of various shades of blues and greens, appreciated inviting textures of old trees, savoured the smell of freshly cut grass or simply allowed to be entertained by chirping birds? What I have just described is engaging with nature with all 5 senses. Not often we think of being outside as something so valuable to our overall well-being. A hot topic.
My mission for the day was to show everyone who attended the Nature inspired interiors talk how to translate these happy moments we share with nature into our interiors. How to engage with our senses and acknowledge the beautiful contrast nature offers us and how to stop shutting our door on what is quite frankly something so important, we can’t live without it. We are hard wired to love nature, it is in our DNA, we need it and it needs us. Placing nature at the heart of every decision we make is the first step to applying Biophilic design.
Biophilia = love for nature.
It really is framework used by architects since early 1980 but due to its proven positive effects from reintroducing greenery and the use of natural material, designing spaces for living, working, learning, recovering as well as shopping became that much straight forward.
Would you know how much time on average you spend indoors a day? Studies shown it can be anything between 80-90%. Scary. So what can we do to reconnect?
Nowadays, biophilic design is important more than ever and just by introducing direct and indirect elements (these are only two out of 14 patterns) we can change our mood, improve concentration, rekindle creativity as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Let’s talk about it in a bit more detail. At first, you may see a tree with long branches covered in pretty green leaves and emerging curved rainbow behind it. The sun is making you wince, the air smells fresh and birds are coming out of their hiding places. What you are looking at is a picture full of contrast, a mix of irregular lines combined with soothing round shape, layers of shades of green inviting you to make another step igniting your curiosity, whilst you are absorbing the sunlight and fresh air. You connected. This simplest connection can be done from your kitchen window. But what if you are not so lucky to have such a view?
How do you create this multisensory environment?
It is all about LIGHT, FRESH AIR, TEMPERATURE, PLANTS, NATURAL LANDSCAPE, COLOUR, TEXTURE, PATTERN, SEASONAL CHANGES and a lot more but I think I might have to send you to find something green to look at for a brain break to “restore” your concentration.
Considering, that lack of day light affects our enthusiasm, there is no surprise that any space with tall windows, large bi-fold doors or sky light is a winner in everyone’s eyes so if you are extending your property, adding an extra window/door or a roof lantern will not only magnify the amount of daylight inside but also reconnects you to your garden. Is your circadian rhythm beating like a clock work? The blue colour of daylight is telling our bodies to work, think and make decisions so the more daylight, the more productive our brain is.
A no brainer but it actually is good to feel the changes of temperature on our skin. Air conditioning units provide SAME temperature. Great for certain places but imagine if we lived with SAME colours, SAME textures, SAME patterns. We have created a stagnant environment where nothing changes. You are left with environment without passion or excitement. Who would have though that Goosebumps are actually good for us?
Do you remember the time in interiors when bringing foliage indoors was sacrilege? Safe to say that now it is a must for more than one reason. Not only they provide a visually pleasing stimuli but also softens any harsh lines, corners and can be used as room dividers. Of course you know about their purifying properties but if you like name dropping, then Spider plant, Aloe Vera or Mother-in-law’s tong made the top 10 plants. For those less green fingered amongst us, I totally encourage you to mix real with faux. Saves a lot of money long term chucking dead plants.
This comes to its own when you are styling your shelves, bookcases or your side table. Use the different heights to keep your eye entertained.
Blue is officially voted the most favourite colour. Is it because the water coverage on our planet Earth amounts to 75% of? With so many different shades of blue to choose from (forget-me-nots, azure, indigo, denim no wonder we relate to it on such a high level so if you don’t feel like installing a water element in your house, can you imagine the impact this would have in a large office block? Indeed, biophilic design stretches beyond residential spaces and really pleased to say that even the big guys like Google, eBay are taking this on board to make employees working life happier and healthier. Next to blue on a scale of favourite colours sits green. That might have something to do with the fact it helps to reduce blood pressure and slow down heart rate. Take a note. Choose your shade of green from mint, sage, emerald, forest, lime, olive, pear. There is a shade for everyone.
Whilst we talk colours of nature, if it exists outside, it’s a colour of nature.
Bring in the natural material to make physical connection and add these elements around social spaces for example kitchens or living areas where you spend most of your time. From wooden cladded walls, wicker chair, cane storage basket, leather trimming to laser cut sheets of copper. Don’t forget coarse linen, silk, cotton, wool will give you sense of reconnecting. Human receptors can tell the difference between real and fake so there is no excuse for any more plastic.
Placing images of nature is great to trigger happy memories, especially any photograph from a great family day out. When it comes to pattern, think large leaves next to small leaves, patterned with plain, horizontal with vertical, large with small. Remember at the beginning of this blog I put you in a place with irregular lines softened with curved lines? Contrast. Always contrast.
This is one of my favourites. Imagine what would the world look like if we had only one season. Well that would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it? But why do we treat our interiors this way? We decorate and leave it for years and years and wonder why we don’t feel the buzz from the newly painted walls. This is the most achievable way to keep our mind on our toes. Keep it fresh with seasonal flowers, change chunky blankets for lighter ones, invest in brighter colour cushion covers and keep swapping you accessories around your home.
And you thought I would suggest you redecorate your home 4 times a year. No need for such an extravagant move but if you learn to read the patterns of nature it will in return provide you with a home where you can rest, recharge and recover from daily stresses.
Here you have it, a summery how to create an energising environment with tips on enhancing your mood, reducing stress and above all highlighting that curiosity about nature changes, adapts and ages is a first step in making a healthy home for our families.
Let’s all make the most of the physical connection with nature and make our interiors a little less grey and a little more green.
Thank you Little Greene paint company for inviting me.