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3 Nature-Inspired Home Refreshes, From An Interior Designer

Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen, the co-author of "The Spirit Almanac," and the author of "Return to Nature" (Spring 2022).
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These days, home isn't just where the heart is. For many people, it's where the gym, restaurant, bar, café, and vacation is too.

After months of playing so many different roles, your space might be starting to feel a bit stale and snug, like a sweater you've outgrown. Instead of tossing it out and starting fresh, interior designer and author of Where Spirit Meets Space, Kelly Robinson recommends doing a gentle mending.

Previously a workspace designer for major tech companies like Airbnb, SoundCloud, and Headspace, Robinson has shifted to more household-facing work since the pandemic began. "It's been quite a homecoming, no pun intended," she tells mbg over—what else?—a Zoom call. "The design brief of what our homes need to be for us changed overnight."

In the parallel universe we're all living in, Robinson says it's more important than ever to fuse our inner space with our outer world. "I really see a kind of trinity between our body, our home, and our planet, and all of these three things are containers. The more that we are aligning the container of our home with the container of the natural world, the better we're going to feel within it," she explains.

So, what does that look like in practice? Here, Robinson shares three ways to refresh your quarantine hideaway to help it take on some of the expansive, colorful, and restorative energy of the outdoors:

1. Take stock of the sunlight and moonlight.

"I really like to take into account where the sunlight and moonlight come into a space, and create little sanctuaries around [them]," she says. If your bedroom window gets great morning sun, for example, you could move your pillows around to create a little lounge on the floor where it hits. Or, set up a seating area with a full view of the night sky before the next full moon, which falls on Halloween.

These spaces also set the scene for the type of rituals we're all craving right now: You might find that practices like meditation, journaling, and breathwork feel a little easier to do when you're supported by nature's light.


2. Be mindful of material.

In more spiritual design philosophies like feng shui, balancing the natural elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, water—is essential. In addition to bringing more of these natural materials in, Robinson recommends clearing the manmade stuff out. "The more that we can actually bring nature into the home and kind of purge away the synthetics, the more we can create a container that sings like nature sings," she says. Consider this your go-ahead to end your next decluttering session with a houseplant purchase.

3. Add some fresh tones from your favorite landscape.

In her four-week design course, Robinson stresses how bringing in new colors through accessories, textiles, and artwork can give your space a quick refresh. Again, she says to look outside for inspiration here: "I invite people to go to the place in nature that they love more than any other place," she says. That landscape can inform your new color scheme: If you love forests, opt for wood tones and deep greens. Beach, river, and lake junkies can add some more blue elements at home. Desert lovers can introduce rich oranges to their space.

With small changes like these, we can use our homes to reflect on who we are—and who we want to be when this is all over. "I think that people are returning home," Robinson says. "I think it is going to become an even more powerful pillar of our lives after this."

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