Everyone needs to have four walls and a roof over their head (or similar equivalent). Shelter is one of the basic requirements for human survival. But in a modern world where we seem busier than ever, continually turning to technology for productivity and entertainment, the comforts of home can be an afterthought to many.
If you’ve viewed the home as a purely functional space in the past, the pandemic might have changed your mind. Our lifestyles have suddenly shifted considerably toward indoor confinement over the last few months. Creating a more appealing interior no longer seems like an indulgent use of time or money when you no longer go out every day to work or socialize.
Yet, at the same time, the current situation might not be the best time to undertake a significant renovation. Small-scale changes with a big impact might be the way to go for now. Achieve that by using natural elements to bring better balance to your home.
Natural elements at work
Business leaders are always seeking out the next step when it comes to optimizing performance and gaining a competitive edge. Today’s workplaces are among the beneficiaries of this constant drive for improvement. If you’ve ever noticed a sudden proliferation of indoor plants at work, or regular use of natural light, that’s no coincidence.
Experts have found that people respond positively to the presence of nature in their environment. And in the typical office worker’s routine, nature gets squeezed out of the picture all too often. Thus, employers have been redesigning spaces to reintegrate natural elements to boost mood and performance across their workforce.
The same principles can be extended and applied to our homes on a small scale. For instance, you don’t have to install new windows or a skylight to let more daylight enter your home. Simply cleaning the glass and removing obstructions around the windows will increase the natural illumination inside. Noticing where the light falls, you can paint the receiving surface white, or position light-colored furniture in that area, and this will diffuse more natural light across the room.
Challenges of urban living
Not all homes are made equal, however. A lot of people live in densely populated cities where the cost of living is high, and floor space is at a premium. When you live in a concrete jungle, the presence of nature might be something you can only enjoy by going to local parks or similar green spaces.
Creative solutions can enable some homeowners to overcome these difficulties. An architect in Vietnam, for example, was able to design an urban house with trees on a small space of 14 x 49 feet. Vertical space can thus be made to work in your favor. Instead of having a couple of potted indoor plants, you can grow a low-maintenance indoor garden of moss, succulents, or herbs on a section of your wall.
Using more natural materials can also bring the same effects and improve your well-being. Changing out some furniture or adding accents with wood or stone elements isn’t limited to fans of the rustic trend. These materials evoke the outdoors and natural settings, giving a sense of connection to the natural world even for those who live within the heart of the city.
Learning from the ancients
You can be prepared to undertake more significant home improvements, but at the same time hesitant to embrace natural elements on a large scale. Is this just one of many interior design trends that come and go over the years?
If you’re worried about adopting a trend that will shortly fall out of fashion, fear not. Designing our homes to be in greater harmony with nature is at the core of ancient practices such as Chinese feng shui or Indian Vastu. And though these practices are shrouded in the esoteric, they have significant areas of overlap with the formal disciplines of architecture and interior design. Thus, balancing your home with nature is a principle backed by modern knowledge and the wisdom of the ancients.
You can take improvements a step further and learn selectively from these practices. The concept of chi might have no scientific merit, according to studies of environmental psychology. Still, there’s a lot of practical value to be found in designing your home with energy flows in mind. It makes sense to remove obstructions from the areas where people frequently pass through, or to install scissor stairs and make allowance for a subtle pause in movement between flights.
Home improvements are becoming even more vital in the age of the pandemic. Even with restrictions in place, you can work more nature into your home on any scale to restore balance and improve your mood each day.