Want a more mindful home? Start with wood

Mindful home

Australians lead busy lives, and with most of us now owning a smartphone, much of our day is spent looking at screens. We’re desperate to relax and unwind when we get home, and we don’t necessarily have the time for activities that will restore the balance, like taking a nature walk.

Creating a tranquil environment at home is not just an aesthetic ideal, it could make it easier for you and your family to maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle. But what are the elements required to be more Zen in your den?

Bringing the outside in is a perfect starting point to enjoy the benefits of more mindful home.

Natural elements are the natural choice

Spending time in nature has been proven to help ease stress, so it makes sense to use natural materials in your build, renovation or interior design—bring the beneficial properties of nature right into your home.

There are good reasons why that modern design is increasingly using wood, greenery and other natural elements for environments designed to heal and nurture—such as hospitals, aged care facilities and schools.

A recent Australian research report—Wood: Nature Inspired Design—looks at multiple research studies in which exposure to plants and natural materials like wood, featured in the interiors of buildings, increased people’s feelings of wellbeing. In some cases, it also reduced people’s blood pressure, suggesting a lowering of stress levels.

Visible wood in the structure, finishings and furniture of your home has the potential to help make your space an inviting restorative sanctuary. It’s simple and easy to use timber to convey a sense of rest, warmth and safety that’s so difficult to achieve with other materials.

Unlike many other materials, timber is renewable too, so don’t feel bad about depleting natural resources. When you choose sustainably sourced wood that’s certified through the AFS or FSC schemes, you can be sure that it comes from well-managed forests and plantations and is a more eco-friendly choice than many processed materials. Fortunately, most Australian timber is certified, so your choice is made easier.

Imagine exposed wooden beams, timber flooring, feature walls or timber cupboards, combined with indoor greenery, natural fabrics, and earthy colours. Natural materials create an indoor connection with nature that has the potential to calm, inspire and re-energise you as you walk in the door after a hard day.

Simplicity and function helps clear the head

Many Aussies are in love with interior design, no doubt driven by television shows like Grand Designs Australia and The Block, the expansion of industry retailers, and the seemingly infinite inspiration available on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.

Fresh, Nordic-style interior choices are especially popular. Less is more when it comes to modern Scandinavian design, which is perfect for creating a mindful home. The style tends to incorporate timber, minimalism, and neutral palettes with bursts of colour or patterns.

When judges of the Australian Interior Design Awards spoke to the blog Interiors Addict about 2017’s hottest design trends they described authenticity, natural and textured materials, neutral tones, sunlight and including lush greenery.

The Spruce—a blog by Anne Reagan—says ‘real’ materials like wood will never go out of style because they are long-lasting and gain character. “Some materials just look better over time so keep this in mind when making big home improvement decisions,” Reagan advises.

At the heart of mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in each moment, a calm acceptance of what is happening and how you’re feeling. That’s just easier when your home is not only beautiful but fuss-free. The aim is elegance that doesn’t compromise on functionality or comfort.

The beauty of building or renovating using certified wood is that it provides a classic, tasteful foundation on which you can develop almost any style you choose. Wood is such a versatile building or decorating material, that you can complement with a palette of beautiful finishes and tones.

Build on your happiness every day

Modern life is fast-paced. Paying attention to how you can enhance your wellbeing through your daily routine is vital. Your habits and the spaces where you spend the most time can impact your mood, focus and energy.

Investing in quality, sustainable and inspiring materials and furniture that make your home feel cosy and serene is a wonderful way to maximise what makes life good.

What psychologists know about people who flourish is that they live mindfully and experience, “…a steady diet of micro-moments of positivity—however fleeting, however modest—that weave wellbeing from the hum of ordinary days.”

Ordinary days are spent in ordinary ways—that means at home, surrounded by your things and the people you love. There’s a clear case for making sure the substance of your home includes natural, nourishing materials and finishes that are inherently more pleasurable.

Bringing nature-inspired design to your home creates more opportunities to experience pleasant emotions every day. Sustainably sourced, certified timber is affordable, and in the long-term it’s significantly more durable, and has a timeless style.

If your idea of a happy home is one where you can achieve greater peace, positivity and clear thinking, there’s strong evidence that including natural components like wood into your building’s design and decor can set the scene perfectly.

Whether you’re renovating or just thinking about sprucing up your interiors, select natural and sustainable materials for a more home and living experience.

Find out more about the health benefits of using wood in your home by clicking here

Photo: Peter Stutchbury Architecture & Fergus Scott Architects - Cliff Face House