The first fall chill in the air is a reminder that the garden and park life we’ve been enjoying is about to make way for the stay-home life. COVID numbers are rising again, and we know that indoors gatherings are part of the problem, so we’ll likely be doing some version of what we did back in spring, and spending a lot more time with members of our own household at home.
We haven’t forgotten that awful feeling we had in March and April, before the weather warmed up, of being trapped indoors. So many of us are now looking for ways to make our home feel cozy and nurturing for the winter months. One way to go from cabin fever to cabin chic is to bring the outdoors in. Try introducing some of these nature-inspired ideas into your family living space.
Growing house plants makes life more beautiful. They’re soothing; they’re something to nurture (and even talk to, if you’re missing your friends and co-workers); and they create a healthy environment.
Just be careful what plants you choose, if you have pets that like to nibble on greenery: These plants are not safe for dogs and these plants are toxic to cats. Otherwise, here are some ideas for greening up your home:
Put orchids in steamy places
Bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, where the humidity is high and the temperature warm, are excellent spots for orchids, whose natural habit is the rainforest.
Orchids do best with soft indirect light and should be watered once every two weeks in winter. Leave exposed roots in peace, they’re hard at work extracting moisture from the air.
Spruce up your place with indoor trees
If you have the space, a tiny forest of one’s own is the decor trend that could help make 2020 more bearable. Trees that do well indoors and that are easy to care for include the rubber tree, citrus tree, weeping fig, banana tree, and the yucca.
Investing in a planter on wheels makes it easier to move your little tree around. And, you can find a vessel that maximizes the nature theme, say in hardwood, stone or clay.
Not convinced you’ve got a green enough thumb to keep a living-room tree alive? This handmade grand faux olive tree from Restoration Hardware looks extremely convincing, if you want to fake it.
Buy plants that purify the air
We’ve never been more keen to keep our air clean than in the COVID era.
Click through the slideshow below to see which plants are known for their purifying powers:
Does your pandemic living space smell like eau de wet dog and slushy boots? Time to bring in fresh aromas, inspired by nature!
Use essential oils with floral, herbal, citrus or forest scents
Essential oils are versatile and distilled from natural botanical ingredients, so they do an amazing job of turning your home into anything from an orange grove to a herb garden (well, at least if you close your eyes and use your imagination).
You can release them into the air with a diffuser or burner, or add a few drops to your bath, body care products or homemade cleaning products, to gently scent the air in your home. As well as making your pad smell fresh and outdoorsy, essential oils are said to have mood-shifting properties. Lavender and chamomile are particularly soothing and tea tree oil has antiseptic qualities and can help you breathe more easily, if you’re a bit stuffed up.
Note: Using essential oils is not recommended if you have a baby under the age of three months in your household. You should also seek your vet’s advice, if you have cats, dogs, rodents or birds, on what’s safe for your pets.
Splurge on sweet-smelling cut flowers
Some of the most fragrant flowers can give your home a meadow-like mood, include magnolias, roses, lilacs, freesia and geraniums.
Canadian online florists such as Bloomex, Heart & Thorn, and Hazelton’s all have flower clubs or subscription services, that mean you’re guaranteed fresh-flower drop-offs every two weeks or month, even if all the stores end up shutting down again (Please don’t let the stores shut down again).
Get creative with a hanging flower arrangement
Vases, glass jars, wine bottles and the likes are all respectable cut flower containers, but if you’re feeling crafty, why not make a flower chandelier to suspend over the dining room table? Fresh flowers bring the scent and artificial blooms stoke the imagination. Use a mix of both for practicality, longevity and fragrance combined.
Or, follow the instructions from The Learner Observer craft blog, to craft your own flower wall hanging.
Evoke travel memories with outdoorsy-themed candles
Scents from non-toxic candles (of course), are a wonderful way to make your home environment smell like the great outdoors.
Just place candles in high places, if you have pets or younger kids, and be sure not to leave them burning unattended.
Click through the slideshow below to discover a variety of nature-inspired candles:
The more you draw on natural materials ― or artistic representations of the natural world ― the less you’ll feel unnaturally cooped up.
Go full lumberjack
These raw-wood pieces evoke wholesome forest life. They’ll also last a whole lot longer and off-gas fewer toxic fumes than flat-pack particleboard furnishings and decor. And some require a little DIY work, which will help you while away a few hours in this never-ending pandemic time loop.
Made from a disk of tree trunk, cut in Northern Ontario, this poplar wood side table has a dried-bark edge for the rustic look. It’s available online, from Canada-based Etsy store JourneyToAsia.
Rock your world
Stones, pebbles and rocks evoke coastal and lakeside landscapes, and are amazing in a decor scheme to keep your family feeling grounded.
A fun DIY project to try is making this pebble mat with real river rocks, silicone and a rubber bath mat. Find instructions on the website DIY & Crafts.
This DIY aged stone planter, from Anderson and Grant, is also easy to make yourself and looks high-end, even though it’s a budget project.
And just for fun, why not create a cozy living room with these VERCART Huge Living Stones Pillows? Made from soft cotton, they’re fortunately more comfortable than actual rocks.
Now is the time to cover your walls in images or wallpapers that celebrate wide-open landscapes and elements of nature from birds to forest creatures to giant blooms. They’ll keep you going, when the sunlight hours get short and the months feel long.
Click through the slideshow below for wall art and wallpapers to soothe your pandemic-weary soul.
WATCH: Soothing home decor to make your living space a low-stress environment.