Spending time outdoors can help us feel refreshed and recharged. But is it still possible to enjoy nature while remaining inside? It turns out that even the smallest spaces can benefit from a little exterior influence.
There are many ways to bring the outside inside, and we’ve rounded up some of the easiest – and some of the most creative – tips and ideas to turn your house into a spring haven.
1. Plants, plants and more plants
The easiest and most obvious way to give your home a spring spruce-up is to fill it with plants. Not only will it add a splash of colour, but there is something to be said for lovingly caring for your houseplants.
That’s not to mention the physical benefits and the improved air quality that they can provide!
You can theme different parts of your house or tailor your displays to the current season – if you are heading out for a bit of exercise, why not take a little detour to forage for ferns or collect a couple of wildflowers? Figuring out what will look good in your home is part of the fun – and more importantly, it is free!
What should I buy?
Laura Grainger from Border Flowers, Gretna, says: “The Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’) is a good all-rounder. It will create a great atmosphere in your home while giving you a nod when it’s ready for a water.
“When you’re buying house plants, if you think about where the plant wants to be, not where you want it to go, you will have a happy plant from the beginning. Home it in a place with plenty of indirect light, water it well once a week, and mist it twice a week. Touch the top soil and if it’s dry, it needs a drink.”
2. Terrific terrariums
If space is at a premium but you would still like your own garden, make it a tiny one. Terrariums can be as small as a vase or as big as a bookcase.
Growing your own garden under glass is a challenge, but get it right and it can be a fascinating addition to any room. There are unlimited options and you tend to find that a terrarium is a good reflection of your personality.
A touch of gravel, charcoal, soil or moss, and a handful of moisture-loving plants and you are good to go. A daily drop of water is all they need, and the rewards are there for all to see.
3. Grow your own at home
We’d all love an allotment, right? They’re a perfect place to catch some rays and cultivate a few carrots.
Unfortunately, in Britain those sunny days can be few and far between. For a less weather-dependent but equally enriching alternative, create your own indoor veg patch. Lettuces, tomatoes, carrots and kale are all surprisingly easy to grow at home without taking over a whole room.
With the right seeds, a bit of sunlight, and a deep enough pot, there are plenty of vegetables that can thrive on a windowsill or in a conservatory. They won’t break any size records but they can provide a good meal and cure any green-fingered itches.
Of course chillies and herbs thrive in this kind of environment and can provide a sustainable source of spice and seasoning, and the smells are a pleasing side benefit.
The more ambitious indoor gardeners may even consider planting a tree. Citrus plants love being the centre-piece of a room – just as long as you keep an eye on the temperature.
4. Recreate your favourite view
Plants aren’t always practical, especially if you have a pet or a toddler that takes a shine to them. There are other ways to get a glimpse of the great outdoors – although they might remind you what you are missing.
Think of your favourite place, a view that means a lot to you or your favourite holiday location. Now imagine it on your wall.
You can blow up your photos onto large canvasses or frame them to hang above your fireplace – or you can go all-out and create custom printed wallpaper so your favourite view spans the full length of your living room.
5. Make the most of natural materials
Forget flatpack furniture – for the full outdoor experience try and find furniture that has that natural feel.
Wood is one of the most versatile materials, and will go with whatever colour scheme you have going on. You’ll want it to have the right look though, and there are many amazing furniture makers in the UK who can create bespoke pieces to suit your tastes.
Rattan wicker chairs work for some people, pared-back pine or oak can give that rustic look, but some may want to forgo tradition altogether – have you ever considered a coffee table forged from a tree stump, or a bookshelf made out of bamboo? The possibilities are endless.
6. Explore the endless possibilities of outdoor décor
Most people’s childhood bedrooms will have been adorned with quirkily-shaped rocks or various seashells from visits to the beach, but there are ways to incorporate them into a more mature living space.
The trend for jars of coloured sand may have had its heyday, but if you can make them work then they can add some intrigue – as can adorning your rooms with pieces of driftwood, Scandi-style. Always keep your eye out for anything on your walk that might look good on your wall.
7. Add flowers to your furnishings
Some would say that flowery cushion covers or leaves on your living room wall is no substitute for the real thing – and they would be right – but they can certainly help set the scene.
A lick of green paint and plant patterns on your furnishings will go a long way to transporting you outdoors while you sit on the sofa. Try and bring as much natural light as possible into your indoor oasis.
8. Set your streaming service to birdsong
Yes, this is a thing now.
You will be surprised how much the sound of nature can transform every day living. Place speakers around your home, search ‘Sounds of the Earth’ playlists on your streaming service and turn up the volume.