In our latest interior trends 2024 blog we talked about the increasing love of curves in interior design, a trend that springs from our desire to feel wrapped up by our homes, and held safe. Alongside this trend, there is an increasing move towards bringing more of the outside, natural world into our homes, harnessing the power of nature to boost our mental wellbeing.
It’s been well-researched and proven that being outside, whether in quiet meditation or hurtling around a football pitch, can really help your mental health. Sadly, in this part of the world, being outside isn’t always a comfortable experience, and work – whether that be at home or in an office – reduces our opportunities to surround ourselves with something more soothing.
This is what sits at the heart of the ‘earthy and natural’ trend. So, how do we bring this trend into our homes in such a way we actually feel the benefit?
First – consider the natural world.
In a truly natural environment, there is nothing there that shouldn’t be (unless mankind has interfered with it). Have a look at the rooms in which you spend the most time and consider what you can lose, what is cluttering up your environment and can be removed without causing distress. We have talked before about the importance of regular decluttering, and in fact a study conducted by the University of Connecticut showed that a person can feel happier, less anxious, and more confident by removing or controlling clutter.
Second – consider your colour scheme
Colour has immense power on the mind. Fascinatingly, studies done in the USA now direct the colour schemes inside prisons, with red and orange a no-no, and blues, greens and violets shown to maintain a calmer state in prisoners. Obviously, the stress levels we experience aren’t comparable to those in prison, but in bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms, avoid vibrant tones and opt for soothing shades. Shades of grey were massively popular a few years ago, but paint colour experts, such as Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene Paints in Manchester, say they have noticed a trend towards warmer tones of stone and caramel, as people start to impart a more natural feel into their spaces. For Ruth, this triggered the development of their Sweet Treats collection, a range of paints travelling from a light, sweet Mochi to rich, deep Chocolate colour. This colour trend has also supported an additional styling trend – colour drenching, when you paint the walls and the ceiling in the same colour, and even the door frames and skirting boards, if you’re really committing to it. It works beautifully with lighter and deeper tones, but stick to natural shades, such as natural greens, deep blues or caramels and coffees.It may be that in our deepest psyches we like feeling wrapped around in colour, in our caves, keeping the wolves at bay, or it may simply please us because it looks so good, whichever, it’s a trend with a huge following.
Next – furniture
Natural means material you will find in nature, and of course in the home, that means wood. Few of us still have the once immensely popular chrome and glass tables and furniture from back in the day, but when looking at your room and planning your refresh, consider what pieces you will be adding or replacing, and look for natural options. Wooden dining or coffee tables, bookshelves and bedside tables won’t date and will add to the natural theme. Rattan or cane chairs look fabulous in the conservatory, especially when draped with a lambswool throw. For sofas choose those with soothing texture and shape, the curves we talked about in our last blog.
While a full room refresh might not be on the cards (unless you’re in your new home and ready to make it wholly your own, of course!) accessories are a great way to tap into a trend without a big financial commitment. Wood, rattan, wool, marble – there are so many natural materials in home furnishings it’s not hard to find something you love. Find polished wood photo frames and spend a happy hour browsing the cloud for your favourite moments. Choose a soft lambswool throw over a man-made fibre one such as fleece, and seek out a proper sheepskin rug to lower your toes as you get out of bed in the morning.
And, of course – houseplants are a must. It’s known that many houseplants proactively purify the air around them, making them great for home offices, playrooms and living rooms. Plan in space for something green whether you’re simply refreshing or overhauling. And don’t worry about having a whole new living thing to care for – firstly, there are a lot of plants that really don’t need a lot of fuss, and secondly, the act of looking after a houseplant, even if it’s just a watering and a wee chat once a week, actually boosts mental health. True!
Eddie – 26th January 2024. (Image used from Manley Road, Whalley Range).