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Bringing the Outside in: 5 Design Ideas

Being closer to nature can provide numerous health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and improving mental health. So how about introducing some of these relatively small changes into your home?

1 | House Plants

Placing a few plants around your home is one of the most

simple ways to make you feel more linked to the outside world.

Beginners can choose easy-care varieties such as Peace Lilies, Yuccas, Spider Plants and Christmas Cacti, or the more green fingered could try creating their own terrarium display. Television presenter and Kew Gardens trained Botanist James Wong, has a great Instagram page (@botanygeek) which showcases many of his amazing experimental creations.

2 | Natural Materials

Replacing any synthetic materials with natural ones creates a much more tactile environment and can massively reduce the amount of clutter that you have lying around by forcing you to have a big clear out, which can do wonders for lowering your stress levels. Try just getting rid of single-use plastic as a start and then gradually purge the rest of the house.

Plastic bottles in the bathroom can be swapped for solid shampoo and conditioner, and it is even possible to purchase packaging free make up and deodorant. Cleaning products can be made easily and cheaply at home, and stashes of plastic bags can be recycled and replaced with cotton ones.

Donate the bulk of your wardrobe to charity (or try selling more expensive pieces on Ebay or Facebook Marketplace etc) and create a much simpler capsule wardrobe.

3 | Bifold Doors

Bifold doors can enable the creation of a totally transformable space which can be brilliant during the warmer seasons. A cleverly planned garden area directly adjacent to where these doors open out to can make you ‘borrow’ an extra room from the space you have outside.

Incorporating a bifold door into your existing property normally doesn’t require planning permission, falling within Permitted Development rights, though it is advisable to check with your local authority first for certainty. In order to comply with Building Regulations, you may also have to submit a Building Notice – speak to a Building Control Body (via your Local Authority or a private company) about this process, as creating a larger opening in load bearing walls will require additional structural support.

There is now a wide array of styles available on the market, and varying costs depending on what size, materials and supplier you opt for.

4 | Level Thresholds

Intelligent detailing can reduce the need for a step between the internal and external, which can enable further engagement with the environment outside. Level thresholds don’t just improve accessibility, they result in a more minimal appearance and allow a continued flow between spaces.

Minimal gradients ensure that any rainwater not captured by a channel by the threshold drains away without pooling or entering the property.

5 | Balconies

Balconies can be brilliant in enabling a little bit of outdoor space in limited areas, or they can be great for maximising and enjoying fantastic views for those lucky enough to have them. In most cases they will require planning permission (as the fact that you may be able to overlook neighbouring properties can be an issue), though Juliet balconies are often exempt.

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