For most cottagers, getting outside is a way of life—it brings peace, balance, and a connection to nature. But sometimes, due to weather, work, or just life in general, getting outdoors isn’t an option. When that’s the case, the next best thing is to bring the outside into your home.
Being outdoors has been shown to be beneficial to mental health—something outdoors enthusiasts have long known. After all, nothing settles and grounds the mind like a walk through the trees or a morning spent by the shores of an ocean or lake.
Fortunately, for the times when seaside walks aren’t an option, there are plenty of ways to make your home feel more outdoorsy through decorating and activities. And as a bonus, you can leave the less indoor-friendly parts of nature (sneaky raccoons, we’re looking at you) outside where they belong.
Real tree branches give your home a foresty feel, and they can fit in quite well with modern decor. Birch and aspen look particularly striking, with their accented white bark. Whether it's a big trunk or some slender sticks, some well-placed branches will make a nice break from artificial decorations.
Miss camping? Take the edge off by roasting marshmallows indoors. This ultimate s'mores kit comes from Hammacher Schlemmer, but you could also use an old-fashioned candle or a fireplace.
Decorate with natural fibres
It's amazing how different natural fibres can make your home feel compared with synthetic ones. Natural fibres remind you that the items in your home originally came from plants — a feeling you'll welcome when you're stuck indoors all day surrounded by man-made materials.
There's a reason spas are often filled with stone decor. Stone is the oldest and most basic building material around, and a smooth, heavy stone creates a feeling of being grounded and still. You can use stones in many ways — as paperweights, as decorations, or even as towel racks, as in this photo.
Outdoors, you use logs as every type of furniture — tables, chairs,benches, and more. So why not take that attitude indoors? Log tables and chairs can be surprisingly chic, while still reminding you of good times around the campfire.
Enamel cups and plates work great in rustic conditions, but they also make fine dishes for indoors as well. We're not sure why, but there's something inherently satisfying about sipping out of a blue, enamelware mug.
Go camping — indoors
If you miss camping, the best remedy is . . . going camping. Kids particularly love getting a chance to set up a tent indoors and spend a night in a sleeping bag — without having to stumble around in the dark to find a bathroom.
You can exercise your green thumb in the winter with plants that thrive indoors. Flowers, herbs, and even some vegetables can thrive indoors, freshening your air and creating soothing green space.
Listen to nature sounds
Nature sound recordings can seem kind of cheesy, but recordings of waterfalls, bird calls, or rustling leaves really can help to recreate the sense of peace that you'd get from really being out in nature. There are machines that come pre-loaded with sounds, but there are lots of recordings available free on Youtube.
Create a green wall
Green walls are increasingly popular home features. Instead of photos or paintings, you decorate your walls with organic matter. The large expanse of green will make you feel like you're in a mossy forest or a lush jungle.
Hang your nature photographs
Many people remember their favourite outdoor trips by hanging photos, but not on a large scale. Lots of companies can take your digital photographs and blow them up or put them on canvas. Having huge, high-quality photos of your favourite natural spaces on the wall can create a vivid monument to the natural spaces that mean most to you.