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'Bringing the outside in' may be a familiar phrase but did you know that there are real health and wellbeing benefits to be had from incorporating a bit of nature into your indoor living spaces? The kitchen is a prime place to give it a go.
Among the positive effects that you might experience by turning the undisputed heart of the home into a nature inspired place are stress relief, improved mood, greater energy, better sleep and faster healing. Here are four ways to get there in your kitchen.
Using the right colours in the kitchen
Of course, there are countless ways to bring the outside into your kitchen – but it all starts with the right colour scheme. Natural colour palettes that will really work for your kitchen interiors can be approached in 3 ways.
Choosing natural textures and materials
Source: Ideal Home
To channel a natural vibe in your kitchen, stay away from manmade, artificial materials, garish colours and mass market plastic accessories. Instead, seek out naturally occurring substances such as wood, stone, glass and metal, as well as foliage and fabrics.
Wood can be left exposed or treated. Painted wood cabinets and drawers in cream or dark green add a subtle touch, while untreated timber worktops or dramatic marble, granite or quartz countertops add sophistication. On the floor, choose traditional wood (oak parquet is used in the picture above) or natural stone, both hardwearing materials that ooze rusticity.
Glass and metal can be used provide contrast and interest – see how the copper bar stools above give the traditional Shaker design a quirky, modern twist.
Maximising incoming natural light
A nature inspired kitchen needs plenty of daylight. However, if you’re installing harsh, bright artificial light fittings in an effort to make up for a lack of natural light, you are missing the point. Natural light should be soft, gentle and soothing.
Start by taking a look at you existing windows to see whether they can be added to or enlarged. If you are having a general kitchen makeover, now is a good time to address these fundamental issues. If you have an outside door in your kitchen, perhaps glass panels can be fitted?
It goes without saying that all existing windows should be free of clutter and sparkling clean to enable as much natural light as possible to flood in. Avoid heavy curtains and window dressings that block out the light.
When it comes to adding artificial lighting, adopt a layered approach that includes task lighting for food prep and cooking areas, and perhaps a pendant light to illuminate key spots such as an island, breakfast bar or dining table, alongside good levels of ambient lighting.
Decorating with plants and produce
Once the structural elements of your kitchen are in place, it’s time to accessories and add some natural finishing touches. Luckily, in the kitchen, you don’t need to look far for Mother Nature’s inspiration.
Introduce some plants, perhaps by way of fresh, fragrant herbs grown on the windowsill, or a beautiful bouquet of flowers adorning the dining table. In the kitchen above, just picked lovage and bay have been artfully hung up to dry, to fabulous effect.
Most fruit and veg don’t need refrigeration, so why not display a delicious bowl of oranges on the countertop? There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to house plants or even indoor trees that could look stunning in your kitchen.
Eggs in a wired egg house can look cutesy in a farmhouse kitchen, while herbs and spices in a wooden spice rack are as practical as they are stylish. Finish off the look with big glass storage jars for kitchen staples such as pasta, rice and flour.
This article has been written for Moving and Improving by Annie Button. Find out what else Annie has been up to over on Twitter: @anniebutton1994
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