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After plenty of time staying inside, nature’s call might seem particularly loud right about now. And there are many ways to answer it without committing to, say, a weekend camping trip if that’s not your sort of thing. With a few easy tweaks, you can experience the great outdoors from the comfort of your own home—even if you don’t have much of a backyard or even a single blade of grass to speak of.
From creative ways to flex your green thumb to going wild with flowers, here are some outside-the-box ways to bring the outdoors in.
1. Let your garden grow.
You don’t need a dedicated outdoor space to put down roots. An indoor herb garden—stocked with basil, parsley, thyme, chives, and other recipe staples—only needs about six hours of sunlight a day. And with a slew of easy-to-follow kits on the market, even rookies can turn over a new leaf with little effort.
2. Stimulate your senses.
Okay, you might not be able to satisfy your wanderlust as much these days with a trip to the ocean, the tropics of South America, or the aromatic lavender fields in southern France. But you can bring these nature-inspired fragrances into your home with Air Wick’s essential oil-infused plug-ins. Simply close your eyes, take a deep breath, and feel as if you’re on vacation.
3. Get the picture.
Even if you can’t get outside much during the work day, you can still reap nature’s benefits. Set up your desk space with a view of outside greenery, or if that’s not possible, keep a few framed nature photos within sight. Studies show that just looking at nature can help your brain work better and reduce stress levels. So make the most of the approximately 782 shots you took during your last trip to the beach or a national park by creating a gallery wall of your finest work.
4. Go wild for flowers.
Let your love of flora materialize by planting wildflowers in your yard or in pots on a patio or balcony. (Check out this guide to see what’s native to your area.) Just one square foot of flowers can give back to nature, providing for species like bumble bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Companies like Air Wick are planting wildflowers too, on a larger scale: They’ve partnered with World Wildlife Fund to reseed one billion square feet of wildflower and grassland habitats across the northern great plains region of the U.S. over the next three years. They’ll even send you free seeds to plant that are tailored to your address.
And once your flowers have bloomed, you can use them to beautify your space: display an oversized bunch on your counter, cluster similarly hued varieties in bud vases for an eye-catching centerpiece, or string a garland across your mantle.
5. Find the light.
Even without a ton of windows, you can fake a bright, airy space. Use strategically-placed mirrors—whether a full-length one leaning against the wall or a few hanging options—to help bounce light around your home. Painting your walls a bright white or pale grey will also brighten your space, not to mention make it feel bigger.
6. Create a feature wall.
Transform your home into a plant lover’s paradise. Line your windowsill with succulents, build a living wall, fill that dark empty corner with houseplants that don’t need a ton of light, or hang a few tropical varieties in the bathroom to create a spa-like sanctuary.
7. Bring in natural textures.
Go au naturel with your home design choices. That might mean adding a wood-framed mirror to your entryway and seagrass baskets to stash blankets in your living room or bedroom. Or, take a seat in a hanging rattan chair. The perfect addition to a reading nook—it’s sure to transport you straight to your own jungle oasis.
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