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A connection to nature is hard to maintain, especially in urban spaces. Here are some home decor ideas that bring natural textures and imagery inside.

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Since the invention of gas lighting, we’ve slowly disconnected our circadian rhythms with that of the sun and the seasons. (Just as an interesting tidbit, plays in the time of Shakespeare happened during the day in a semi-outdoors space; the indoor theatre is a Victorian invention.) Our urban living, far from the wildness of nature, has changed what we expect from it: perfectly manicured parks with benches and nicely walkable trails.

We often forget that we come from and belong to nature in our civilized, overly controlled cities. People who spend time in nature are healthier in so many ways that the American Society of Landscape Architects has put this page together with research articles on all the benefits.

For those who actually prefer to live in a cabin in the woods, it’s not difficult to maintain this connection to nature. However, since most of us live in urban or suburban settings with no frequent direct contact, there are ways you can bring nature in your home for a little boost of health and decor appeal.

Find images of nature

One easy, no-maintenance way to have a more natural space is through putting images of nature throughout your home. Whether you prefer a green forest, an azure beach or a sandy desert, you can bring an image of your favourite natural spot in the comfort of your home.

Modern Nursery by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Jen Talbot Design

There are many ways to do this: photos, paintings, murals and decals are all effective. And the images don’t have to be fully figurative either: give your nature a little twist by using more abstract, artsy interpretations of the world that surrounds us.

Pot plenty of nature

Sure, one plant is nice, but to really get the nature effect, you should go all in. Think “urban jungle”. Try different types of plants of different sizes, leafy greens and colorful flowers, woody plants and herby plants. Keep some practical fine herbs for your kitchen and an indoor tree for shade in the living room. Spread them throughout your home so that you’re never without a plant somewhere.

Mediterranean Entry by Santa Monica Interior Designers & Decorators Chris Barrett Design

Of course, make sure to fit each plant for the conditions of the room: ensure they get the right amount of light, heat and water.

Arrange your home like nature

Nature isn’t just about plants, though. There are rocks and moss and animals and insects, fallen leaves and babbling brooks. If you want to bring more nature in, move beyond the potted plants and think bigger.

Tropical Bathroom by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Dara Rosenfeld Design

Rocks and stones make great decor items for empty corners. A fountain nearby will capture the sound of a brook. Encourage birdsong with a bird feeder just outside your kitchen or living room window. Add sculptures or paintings of animals and insects. Make a collage of fallen leaves with your children to hang on the wall. The possibilities are literally endless.

Use nature’s colors

Of course, all colors are more or less found in nature–but some more than others. To enhance the natural feel of your home, choose color palettes directly inspired from nature scenes.

Modern Living Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Jennifer Gustafson Interior Design

One of my favourite ongoing (over a year now!) series here on BuildDirect is my Color Palette of the Week series. Plenty of them are based on photos of flowers, plants, animals and natural landscapes. Have a look–maybe you next paint palette is hiding in there!

See more nature from inside

Of course, you could get all the nature you can inside your home, but it’s never quite like the one outside. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a nice view of natural spaces, why not open up your home to more of it?

Contemporary Patio by Other Metro Architects & Building Designers Johan Sundberg Arkitektur

More outside inside is good for your health. In your next renovation, take down a wall and replace it with a floor-to-ceiling window to bring more of the outside indoors. Make sure to keep a strong connection with nature in meaningful spaces like the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom–although I hear that bathrooms are more and more getting the outdoors-in treatment!

More nature is good for you

It’s easy to feel cut off when you live in an urban home with few direct connections to nature. But don’t worry, you can use home decor to reconnect your home–and yourself–with the natural world.

How have you rebuilt your connection with nature through home decor? Share your ideas and projects with us in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.