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Designing with Natural Elements

Spending time in the great outdoors has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, help you find clarity, and rejuvenate your mind and body according to the website Mental Floss. One of the reasons nature is so valuable is that it forces your mind to disconnect and go into what has been called a Zen state – not quite asleep, but not working at 100% either. Going into a Zen state allows the body and mind to recharge.

Bringing natural elements into your home can help create a feeling of relaxation and aid in creating a less stressful environment. This includes keeping electronics to a minimum, hiding them, or even designing a no-tech zone.

Begin with Wood

One way to design with natural elements is to choose a wood floor. Whether the wood is engineered hardwood, laminate, or wood-look porcelain planks, the style, and texture of wood brings outdoor elements indoors.

Wood floors add value to your home, are beautiful, durable, easy to clean and can last for generations. They also reduce allergens, providing better air quality.

Vintage wood furniture adds style, depth, and uniqueness. Another thing about vintage wood furniture is that it is well-made. Unlike most furniture made today which is fiberboard under a thin layer of wood veneer, real wood furniture can be sanded and repaired. Modern furniture is designed to be thrown away, which is environmentally unfriendly.

Another advantage of vintage furniture is that it has a story attached, adding history which makes it unique in and of itself. A chair may have belonged to a long-dead relative who brought it across the country in a covered wagon. Or it might be an example of a period of time – like Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern.

Mid-Century Modern furniture is becoming more popular today because of its quality, beautiful design, and durability of the wood.

If the medium to dark wood of Mid-Century Modern is not what you are looking for, don’t paint it, just choose a different material. Bamboo furniture is fun and stylish. Bamboo is light and airy. Or, if you don’t like bamboo, another option is rattan.

Rocks, Shells, and Sticks

In the movie, Something’s Gotta Give, Diane Keaton’s character collects white stones from the beach and stores them in jars around her airy home. They are used to symbolize her lightness, as opposed to Jack Nicholson’s character’s darkness. He collects black stones and lives in a dark space. Rocks are always a fun design element. They can carry with them memories of a place or time.

A jar of heart-shaped rocks may be a combination of foundlings, discovered at special moments or at special places, mixed with others given by friends and loved ones.

Like rocks, shells carry memories of place and time, be they collected in the wild, or purchased for their beauty. For example, shells and sand collected from a trip to Hawaii may accessorize a candle or fill random-sized jars on an entry hall table.

Driftwood, bamboo, dried branches, and small birch tree trunks are all fun items to use to pull in a touch of the outdoors. A few pieces of driftwood may be added to a terrarium filled with moss and small ferns. Bamboo may fill an artisan vase in a bathroom. A birch limb can make a one-of-a-kind curtain rod.

Live Plants Can Clean the Air

There is nothing quite like having green plants in your home. They are relaxing, and some varieties will actually enhance home air quality.

While fiddle-leafed figs are the designer’s plant of choice right now, what they neglect to tell you is that these plants are notoriously finicky. They will die at the drop of a hat, the change of season or placement in the home. There are many other plants that are just as interesting, and much easier to care for.

Some good choices are Bamboo Palms, Dragon Tree, Spider Plants, Boston Ferns, and Ficus Plants. There are a number of other ones, but some can be toxic to pets, like Peace Lilies, so be aware.

Succulents and air plants are growing in popularity because they require less care, but still add a natural look of visual interest to your home.

Natural Element Possibilities are Endless

These are only a few ideas of ways to bring natural elements into the home. Others include the use of natural fabrics like jute, cotton, and linen. If plants are out, bring in a fish tank. Wood bowls and clay fired pots are also natural elements.

Options are limitless. Let Mother Nature inspire your senses.

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