Bring the Outside In

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Other Senses

Touchable Textures

Integrating reedy, grassy, and woody textures into your interiors will make artificial surroundings more organic.

  • On walls, use grass cloth -- this blast from the past is back and more sophisticated than ever.

  • Use woven mats as wall art on painted walls.

  • On the floor, cover hard surfaces with sisal, sea grass, or jute.

  • Accent with furniture pieces made from wicker, rattan, twigs, or bamboo.

  • Include rough-hewn beams, hand-woven rugs, and distressed antiques in your home. The small imperfections help remind you that life goes on despite irregularities.

  • As wall colors, choose earth, sky, or watery tones, or shades of your favorite flowers.

Beneficial Breezes

Feeling nature is just as important as seeing it.

  • From time to time, turn off the air conditioner and open your windows.

  • Hang items that are sensitive to the movements of the wind, such as wind chimes or singular Japanese bells.

  • Just inside your window, hang mobiles and plants that will catch the breeze when the window is open.

  • Use sheer, lightweight curtain panels that will billow out.

Unplugged Moments

Every once in awhile, turn off and tune in.

  • Eliminate background noise, such as the TV, stereo, and computer, and pay attention to the sounds of the wind, rain, and birds.

  • At least once a week, cut all the lights and eat dinner by candlelight. Follow up dinner with low-tech activities, such as reading or board games.

  • As a contrast, pick up a few CDs of natural sounds that relax you, whether ocean waves, a rainforest, or birdsongs.

Fresh Scents

Your home is filled with artificial smells: cleaners, perfumes, medicines, and plastics. Replace those smells with natural aromas instead.

Scented Herbs
Enlarge Image

Scented herbs offer
both sights and smells
of nature.

  • Indulge in the new designer soaps and home-cleaning products scented with essential oils.
  • Plant a kitchen window garden with herbs such as mint and tarragon, which emit fragrance when brushed by your hand.
  • Place lavender-filled sachets behind sofa cushions so that fragrance bursts forth whenever someone sits down.

  • On a breezy, sunny day, hang some of the laundry -- especially bed sheets -- outside to dry instead of tossing everything in the dryer.

  • Candles, potpourri, and other room scents can also bring nature to mind.


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