Home & Garden

Good design keeps us close to nature

A pair of urchin shell planters with air plants.
A pair of urchin shell planters with air plants. Press Loft

Does the sight of morning sun shining through your window change your mood?

What happens on the inside as you watch birds forage in your yard?

Questions like these can help designers craft better spaces for us. That approach to building is called “biophilic design” in a new report.

The Human Spaces study looked at conditions for 7,600 people in 16 countries to explore the design of their workplaces and how they felt and performed in those spaces.

Looking at offices helped researchers figure out how much access to natural light the study group had. The researchers also asked whether those workplaces had plants indoors or maybe even views of green spaces.

People who had greenery and sunlight indoors reported a 15 percent higher level of well-being, were 6 percent more productive and 15 percent more creative, the study results suggest.

What people want most in their surroundings are those basic things, the report says: natural light, live plants indoors and bright colors.

There are a couple of other things people want, but not everyone can have a view of the ocean every day. Still, this video shows examples of how time out in nature can help us unwind.

If you’re going through your house freshening up for spring, look for ways to let in more sunlight – maybe curtains in a lightweight fabric or window shades that lift well above the frame.

Bring fresh flowers home when you can or other living things that make you feel closer to nature.

Maybe you will accomplish more or become more creative. Or maybe you’ll just find yourself smiling.

Karen’s blog: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/home-garden/smarter-living/homelife-blog/; on Twitter @sullivan_kms. See earlier Homelife columns at http://homelifeclt.blogspot.com.