October 23, 2015 Guest Post
There’s something incredibly pleasant about spending time outdoors – especially in a scenic area when the weather is nice. Being inside all day can make us feel claustrophobic, stir crazy and irritable, whereas getting outside into the fresh air lets us enjoy wide open space, cool air and beautiful sunshine which all conspires to help us feel more relaxed and at ease.
The truth is that we are evolutionarily programmed to seek out areas that are green. These are the spaces that would have once provided us with shelter, with resources and with safety, and our brain is programmed to recognise them as such. As soon as you get outside into a lush park or a nice beach, your brain produces endorphins and other ‘feel good’ hormones to let you know you’re home.
This creates something of a problem though when you are trying to create an interior layout that will let you feel more relaxed and at ease. How do you bring the same kind of calm and ‘natural’ vibe indoors so that your rooms are just as pleasant to spend time in as those parks and those beaches?
Here are some tips you can use that will help you do just that…
Studies have shown that looking at plants, trees and grass can instantly calm our heart rate and reduce our blood pressure – which is the exact same kind of response you ideally want your home décor to trigger.
Well the good news is that research has also found that simply looking at the colour green can have a similar effect. Want to make your home more ‘naturally’ calming? Then try using green in the décor. And if not green, you can choose from a number of other calming colours. One calming hue that is particularly popular in interior design is light blue which can look like a clear sky when implemented correctly.
Better yet, why not fill your home with actual greenery by getting some house plants? This will also bring life to your home which is another very comforting feeling. And if you don’t want plants then another option to try is fish which have a particularly relaxing impact thanks to the way they move. Fake plants can also work (though not quite as well) and a particular favourite of mine is to use a ‘grass rug’ which makes it look and feel like you have a lawn in your living room.
Of course it makes sense if you want to make your home feel more natural to try working with natural materials. These can include materials such as woods and stones. Why not use a hardwood floor to make it feel like you’re out walking in the woods and to match your home to your natural surroundings?
Natural light is another great signal that we’re outside and another thing that can make us feel relaxed and at ease. Light from lamps just doesn’t have the same effect, so open up your rooms by installing more windows and removing things that might block the light coming in through them. Better yet, let the light reflect around your rooms too by painting your walls white (this reflects a greater wavelength of light than any other colour) or by adding large mirrors opposite your windows. It’s also important to avoid clutter and to go with a minimalist layout. This will allow light to get around more freely and will also ensure you don’t feel claustrophobic or cooped up. The brain likes space!
The Other Senses
If you want to fool your brain into thinking it’s outside then you shouldn’t just focus on how your space looks. Think too about the other senses – a nice smell can help a great deal for instance so use air freshener, while the right sounds can also be highly relaxing. Try using a water fountain in order to add that gentle babbling sound that you get by the side of a river.
Focus on all these elements and your rooms will be just as calming as nature – but without the bees. It’s not fengshui… it’s much more effective!
Leslie Kramer, the author of this post, is a freelance blogger, who is currently writing for Alliance Floor Source, specializes in providing all types of flooring for your home and office. Leslie is an interior designer and uses blogging as a platform to share interior designing tips.