In Japan, many people practice shinrin-yoku in their pursuit of health, wellbeing, and healing. What is it? Literally, “forest bathing.” The idea is that nature is both preventative and curative, and it’s one that is backed by a large, and growing, body of evidence. Immersing yourself in nature reduces stress, boosts mood, cognitive functioning, and productivity, increases resiliency, and enhances physical and psychological health.  

Bringing nature inside your home also makes quite the style statement! Biophilia (a term that captures our innate desire to connect with the natural world) is one of the year’s hottest trends – one that looks just as fantastic as it feels! 

3 Big Ways to Bring Nature Inside Your Home 

Could you use a prescription for nature? Here are three ways to incorporate natural elements in your build and design: 

1. Windows: Bigger Is Better!

You know the saying: people in glass houses… get an abundance of natural light! When building a custom home, there are areas in which you can save and those in which it makes sense to splurge. Installing large windows is certainly an investment worth making. Natural light increases your vitamin D intake, helps combat the winter blahs, increases focus, benefits physical health (e.g., reducing blood pressure, increasing immune efficiency, enhancing sleep quality), and more. Windows even benefit the bottom line by increasing home value and cutting energy costs.  

Here, bigger is definitely better, as you can see in this Modern Prairie home: 

2. Go Au Naturale with Wood 

Like oversized blazers and shoulder pads or jean-on-jean ensembles, natural wood was huge in the 1980s and 1990s. Then, it seemed like we discovered paint, and people began to see wood as outdated, as boring, as blah, as… well, overwhelmingly brown. Just like oversized blazers and shoulder pads or jean-on-jean ensembles, though, wood is back.  

Incorporating wood in your design allows you to bring nature inside your home without overwhelming other elements. For example, if you are using darker wood, balance it with crisp, bright walls and colorful furnishings and accent pieces.  

Where are some places that benefit from the versatility of natural wood? 

  • Mantels. Hardwoods like walnut or hickory are exceptional choices for mantels; they are durable and tough enough to withstand everyday use and look stunning for years to come. Tie the design together by pulling out similar threads of color or stain and echoing them in other areas (e.g. placing a wooden bowl on the shelf). 
  • Board and batten trim. This is a great way to add visual interest to a space, and when you use natural wood, you can complement the upper portion of the walls with crisp white or color to complement the stain and grain of the wood. 
  • Countertop accents. You can go full-out with a butcher block countertop, which is also a top trend, particularly in cottage and farmhouse style homes. Or you can dabble in wood by choosing strategic accents. An addition as simple as a wooden cutting board, fruit bowl, or island accent or insert infuses a space with elegance and warmth without overpowering. 

3. Green Is the New Black

One of the easiest, and most effective, ways to bring nature inside your home is to incorporate greenery. The beauty here is that there is a houseplant for every taste. Go to a local garden center and choose what speaks to you. Some guidelines to keep in mind: 

  • Arrange plants in odd numbers to achieve an effortlessly casual look. 
  • Select plants in different sizes. 
  • Choose containers and pots that tie into your overall decor for a sense of cohesion. 
  • Don’t be afraid. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can find plants that will work for you. For the beginners and black thumbs among us, just try and kill a spider plant or aloe vera! 

Plants and greenery add texture and complement virtually all design choices. But they can also serve a tasty purpose: providing organic, homegrown food. A sunroom equipped with a vertical garden, for instance, can nurture fresh basil, dill, mint, rosemary, sage, kale, leaf lettuce, beans, carrots, cucumbers, and other delicious culinary staples. A beautiful way to utilize your light-rich space. 

Savor Nature’s Bounty – Inside 

Achieve your style and aesthetic goals and enjoy the benefits with which Mother Nature is so generous. If these ideas inspired you – or you have your own to share – contact the G&G Custom Homes team. Let’s invite nature in.