How to connect with nature at home

  • 24th Jun 21
How to connect with nature at home

With many of us considering a staycation this year and the great British summer as unpredictable as always, it is time we embraced 'friluftsliv'. The Nordic word meaning to connect with the outdoors, whatever the weather, is a hot new trend sweeping the internet. We look at how this can affect every part of our lives, including our homes. 

What does it mean?

The Nordic word friluftsliv means open air living and connecting with the outdoors in all weathers. Across Scandinavia, whatever the conditions, people seek time outdoors to boost their mental and physical health. With Covid, the desire to socialise outside is strong and has sparked a renewed interest in the great outdoors. 

What are the benefits

This hot new trend has been shown to boost mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing. While this is nothing new in Scandinavia, in the UK more people are prepared to embrace both the hot, cold and pouring rain to partake regularly in outside pursuits. Daily contact with nature is good for both health and happiness so get roaming, either alone or with some friends.

How to start connecting with nature

The good news is that those who rarely venture in to nature will benefit the most if they start to explore. The University of Derby studied the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild challenge, in which people commit to exploring nature every day. Those taking part reported a 30% boost to health and said they felt happier. In Nordic countries, they start them early with children going for hikes and eating around a campfire but it is something you can do whatever your age.

  • Keep it short – studies have shown just a 20-minute stroll daily will boost wellbeing and lower stress.
  • Create a habit – try and go at the same time each day so it forms part of your daily routine.
  • Be prepared – expect rain, sun, wind and hail at any time during the summer so be prepared with appropriate clothing so you can venture out whatever the weather.
  • Meet friends – arrange weekly walks and find local nature spots either in parks or woods.

Bring nature to your home

The Build to Rent community understands exactly how important it is to have nature as part of your daily life. Many developments have balconies, terraces, shared roof space or gardens so residents can enjoy time in the fresh air daily. If you are working from home, make an effort to have breakfast or lunch in the sunshine. Consider creating a balcony allotment by growing plants or vegetables or get a bird feeder and take in the sights and sounds of the natural world coming to you.

Design trends inspired by nature

Home to more than 4.7 million sellers, Etsy is a global marketplace which has had an explosion of interest over the pandemic. This design-led platform connects thousands of customers with small businesses and has rich customer data that shares fascinating insights into what customers want. The trend for 2021 is that customers want their homes to embrace the joys of outdoor living. On Etsy, the first quarter saw a 55% increase in searches for Scandinavian décor compared to the same period last year.

  • Natural materials - at the heart of the trend, is the use of natural materials to reflect our love affair with nature.
  • Outside space - including gardens, balconies and terraces are being used as extensions of the home spaces used for entertaining and relaxing.
  • Restful interiors – are being used to create a perfect antidote to the stressful outside world.
  • Post-pandemic – whether it is minimal or full of colour, people want to create a home space that feels safe and inviting. 

Why Build to Rent embraces friluftsliv

During the lockdowns, so many of us turned to nature to look after our mental health during our daily walks. The Build to Rent sector has recognised many of the same Nordic concepts because friluftsliv is as much about connecting with community as it is connecting with nature. Part of the routine includes spending more time being active and staying healthy. Many Build to Rent developments have their own gyms, outdoor yoga sessions or group running events. Living a friluftsliv way of life means a number of different things. It could be meeting up with a friend to go for a walk, spending time with family having a picnic or interacting with people living close by. Community is a big part of the appeal of the Build to Rent sector and much time and effort is spent creating social spaces and chances for friendly interaction.

Quick tips for a friluftsliv lifestyle

  • Take lunch outside.
  • Switch your exercise routine from inside to outside.
  • Use weekends to go and explore new areas.
  • Spend time alone strolling and enjoying the sounds of nature.
  • Enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
  • Read a book on the balcony or at the local park.
  • Take a neighbour’s dog for a walk.


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