I always choose to go to the bush as a form of escapism as I feel that surrounding myself with nature soothes my soul. This past weekend was a prime example, where a stay in Hluhluwe Game Reserve gave me the strength and resolve to face the challenges of the weeks ahead. It also got me thinking regarding interiors in residential homes as I always admire the interiors and ingenuity of natural product usage in the game lodges I have been fortunate enough to visit.

visual nguni skin and dining room table

An Nguni skin bringing a touch of the Wild to a classic Coastal Dining Room area.

Interestingly many of the latest designs this year include elements of nature such as rustic wood, natural woven baskets, brass lamps and botanical prints.  In effect many designs are utilising biomimicry which limitates the best ideas of nature.  Within the arena of interiors, this translates into natural colours, textures and patterns within the home. Nature inspired designs are also not limited to fabrics and wallpapers. It has also been extended to furniture. Chairs and tables use shapes and forms found in the plant or animal kingdoms. What is currently popular is using natural pieces of gnarled wood as bases on dining room tables or coffee tables, with strong glass table tops. There is a cosy nook trend that uses the more relaxed forms of furniture such as the hanging swings or oversized seats and daybeds to create havens of calm and tranquillity. Even LED lighting was based on the firefly.  The night time twinkling of fireflies inspired scientists to modify a light-emitting diode (LED) so it is more than one and a half times as efficient as the original light bulb design.

Visual of Wooden chair for Biomicry

Tree Stump used as Wooden Chair, offset by multiple flora and fauna elements.

Health care institutes are also taking note of the role nature plays in rehabilitation. Research has documented that contact with nature supports, enhances, and encourages the healing process, reduces stress and promotes an overall sense of well-being. These institutes are now using this concept of evidence based design to create therapeutic environments using elements of nature.

Visual of a wooden base table

Soft Wooden and Mother of Pearl elements creating peace and tranquility in this Dining area.

It’s no wonder that as designers have become more aware of the positive influence that nature has on our lives, and there has been a big shift towards bringing nature into interior spaces. I have recently renovated my home using several of these elements.  It has definitely made my home more soothing. However even with this improvement I will still take every opportunity I can to go and stay in a bush lodge as a stress reliever break!

Visual of Botanical wallpaper

Botanical wallpaper prints provide a sense of tranquillity in small spaces such as a guest bathroom.

If you would like to use nature-inspired elements in your home, why not call one of the local designers active in the Ballito area, for example Olala Interiors, situated at the new Ballito Junction Mall on 032 940 0399 / schane@olalainteriors.com or Union 3 Interiors on 032 9463394 / angela@union3.co.za.