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Home and interiors

Indoor gardening: why we’re all bringing the outside in and reconnecting with nature

With many of us spending more time at home than ever before due to the coronavirus pandemic and remote working, the desire to create a calming and relaxed atmosphere is at an all-time high  and adding more nature to our space may be the answer to that.

After spending 18 months cooped up in our homes, being able to be out and about in the world immersing ourselves in nature is truly the breath of fresh air we all need.

It’s something that many, even the biggest city dwellers (like myself), are beginning to crave more and more, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, as we seek experiences that bring us closer to nature in order to soak up the mental health and wellbeing benefits that come from it.

This has even immersed itself into one of the biggest homeware trends of 2022: biophilic design.

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Biophilic design decor is a way to incorporate nature more closely into the home by creating calming, plant-filled environments that establish a visual connection with nature, from free-flowing plants to vertical gardens.

Pinterest dubbed the trend as one to watch in 2022, with phrases like “biophilic design bedrooms” having a 100% increase in searches, indicating that people want to connect with nature inside as well as outside.

“I think the pandemic has highlighted for many of us how important it is to look after our physical and mental wellbeing. And, with plenty of research supporting the positive impacts of biophilic design and bringing the outside into our homes, it’s unsurprising that this particular design trend is set to be one of the biggest this year,” says Vicky Salmon, head florist at Interflora.

“I do believe that the pandemic has played a large role in this trend, but I also think the focus on wellness was becoming popular prior to the pandemic, which has facilitated the boom as well.”

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According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness is now worth up to £2.8 trillion worldwide and analytics firm GlobalData predicts British consumers will spend £487 per head annually on “wellness”, showing just how much interest there is in the wellbeing industry – from luxury treatments to ways to incorporate it into our homes.

“Not long after the Covid-19 lockdowns took place in spring 2020, the home industry as a whole saw a shift to bringing nature in,” says Anna Franklin, interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective. “Since then, I have found that more and more of our clients want to incorporate nature into their homes, whether this is through natural elements such as wooden furniture, or with nature-inspired prints such as botanicals and florals.”

Embracing nature into your home, particularly with plants, has proven to have numerous health benefits that aid in improving our wellbeing when we’re at home.

“Bringing yourself closer to more elements of the natural world can improve cognitive function, mood, creativity, and reduce stress,” says Salmon. 

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“Depending on the plants you incorporate into your interior design, there can also be physical benefits such as increased air purification and potentially more restful sleep.”

Whether you’re an established plant mum or a nature newbie, there are ways to inject more natural elements into your space and create a calmer atmosphere throughout your home – and here are 7 ways to do just that:

Place plants in strategic areas of your home for productivity

“There are a number of ways you can incorporate biophilic design into your home beautifully. A popular way for those who are still working from home is to place plants in areas where high productivity is needed,” says Salmon. “It’s a great way to utilise the full benefits of biophilic design and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of space either. Small plants can make a huge difference to your setup and environment.” 

Think vertically for smaller spaces

“If you have a smaller space, think vertically when it comes to incorporating biophilic design,” advises Franklin. “Instead of placing plants on the floors or tables, use your wall space as a place to display the greenery. You can utilise shelves or, for a vertical garden look, install wall planters in a vertical line for the most impact.”

Franklin adds that if you’re limited on space, you can use the ceiling for hanging plants instead of taking up the limited floorspace you may have.

Give your bathroom a spa-like feel

“I love the way people are now using biophilic design in their bathrooms because it gives such a relaxing spa-like feel,” says Salmon. “Boston ferns are a great way to do this and are the perfect addition to your shower because it looks great but it also has a number of amazing health benefits such as stress reduction and contributing to respiratory health.”

Arrange bigger plants in corners of the room

Franklin says arranging bigger plants in corners or empty spaces in a room will instantly spruce up your space without much thought. “Ensure that there is as much natural light as possible, as bringing nature in is a fixture of biophilic design,” she states.

“You can add natural light by examining your space and removing anything that may be blocking the natural light source such as a bookshelf blocking part of a window.”

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Add texture to your space

Plants may be the first thing you think of when it comes to biophilic design, but there are many textures and materials which can help create that feel in your home. “ In addition to houseplants, incorporate textures and colours inspired by nature within your decor, like wood, wicker, rattan, blues and greens,” shares Salmon.

Invest in a few good indoor plants

“A few great indoor plants, to begin with, are the snake plant, ivy, dracaena, bamboo palm, fern, and spider plant,” says Franklin. “If you have low light and want an easy maintenance plant, a snake plant and the spider plant are especially great options for you.”

Add peace lillies and mother in law tongues to your home

There are plenty of great flowers and plants for biophilic design and it’s important to pick out ones that work best for you – Salmon says peace lilies and mothers in law tongues are a few of the best options.

“Peace lilies are the perfect bloom for you if you’re looking to improve your quality of sleep as they help filter the indoor air and increase humidity which helps you to breathe easier,” says Salmon.

“The bloom also helps to absorb airborne mould spores that are common in allergens, allowing sufferers to wake up feeling more refreshed.”

“Mother in law’s tongue is often referred to as the perfect bedroom plant, and will look great in any interior due to its aesthetic nature look,” she says.

“The health benefits of these flowers are that they have a unique ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, which contributes to creating the perfect environment for a restful sleep and is also great for mental wellbeing too as it contributes to boosting energy and improving moods.”

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