Creative ways to bring nature indoors
There's nothing quite like the healing power of nature when it comes to relaxation. Simply being in the presence of trees is scientifically proven to reduce stress, lower your heart rate and blood pressure and boost your immune system. Of course, very few of us have the luxury of being able to pop off to the nearest forest when life gets a bit too much, but the alternative - bringing nature indoors to you - is much easier than you might think! "Nature as a design element has become extremely popular in the last few years," says Debbie Reabow, brand and communications manager at the Rawson Property Group, and design aficionado. "We're living busier lives in smaller homes, and green spaces are often few and far between. People are having to find creative ways to get that all-important nature fix, which, luckily for us, means it's getting easier and easier to get in on the action."
Tips on how to nature up your home: Potted plants
The most obvious option for bringing nature indoors is… well… literally bringing nature indoors! "Potted plants are a wonderful addition to any interior," says Reabow, "and you'll find countless options, from tiny succulents to indoor trees, at your nearest garden centre." She recommends choosing a theme for your indoor plants that will complement your interior style. "Desert themes work well for minimalist interiors - think succulents, air plants and cacti," she says. "Softer plants like Maidenhair Fern and orchids are perfect for more delicate, feminine spaces. For a lusher, contemporary effect, bold tropical plants are the way to go - try fiddle leaf figs, delicious monsters, rubber tree plants and philodendrons."
Indoor wall gardens are a great alternative to potted plants, but Reabow says they do take a little more effort to get right. "You get some amazing indoor wall systems that you can use for anything from a kitchen herb garden to a green accent wall," she says, "but you'll likely have to get a professional installation done for the best results. Unlike potted plants, you can't just move your wall garden if it's not doing well in a particular spot, so think through your options very carefully before committing to a design."
If you don't have a green thumb, don't worry - living plants aren't your only option for bringing nature indoors. Botanical prints make a lovely addition to any home and come in a variety of styles to suit all kinds of interiors. "Botanical prints can bring pops of natural beauty to a room without taking up any floor space, or requiring any care," says Reabow. "A lot of local South African artists do botanical sketches, drawings and paintings, and you can find anything from fynbos varietals to exotic flowers and elaborate leaves in a number of styles."
If a few prints aren't quite enough to satisfy your nature craving, why not create a nature- scape on a feature wall, using one of the many amazing wallpaper designs available? "With wallpaper, you can have your very own forest or jungle inside your home," says Reabow. "Modern printing technology gives exceptional image quality, and you can really create an immersive experience." Not only is wallpaper a gorgeous and dramatic addition to an interior, it's also very durable, available in water-resistant options for wet areas like bathrooms, and easy to change if you get bored!
Nature isn't just about greenery, and Reabow urges homeowners not to forget about materials like stone, wood and natural fibres. These, she says, add a touch of earthiness to an interior that complements natureinspired décor to perfection. "It's not just about stone cladding or wooden floors," she says, "there are a thousand options for bringing natural materials into your décor. Wooden bowls, woven seagrass rugs, driftwood sculptures and river pebble displays are just a few of them. Get creative and have fun - it all adds to the relaxation experience."