Houseplants, natural light, and botanical prints all evoke the feeling of nature.

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It's no secret that spending time in nature is good for the soul. But when it's wintertime during a global pandemic, exposure to the great outdoors is difficult to come by. We're all cooped up in our homes feeling stir crazy, so finding ways to bring nature inside is more important than ever. And the proof is in the science; studies show that spending at least two hours a week in green spaces can help reduce stress and anxiety. During a time of social distancing, bringing nature inside not only beautifies our space, but it can also have mental health benefits.

Justina Blakeney of Jungalow in her living room
Credit: Courtesy of Jungalow

With that in mind, we reached out to Justina Blakeney, Target Home Style Expert and the founder of Jungalow, for her best advice on bringing the outdoors inside. After all, if anyone knows about this topic, it's Blakeney, home décor wunderkind and owner of 53 house plants. Below, get her pro tips for creating a tranquil, nature-inspired space in the comfort of your own home. 

Houseplants

When you don't know where to start, start with plants. "Adding plants into the home is by far the easiest way to bring the outdoors in," says Blakeney. "Are you a plant parenting novice? Try a forgiving ZZ plant ($42, thesill.com). Sprinkle plants at all levels in your home: hang spiller plants (like a pothos) from the ceiling or a curtain rod in a hanging planter, and elevate large plants (like a bird of paradise) off the floor in a sleek floor planter. Don't have enough natural light to keep plants happy? Try faux plants or dried botanicals."

Natural Light

"Use mirror to reflect the natural light in your home by placing them across from glass doors and windows," suggests Blakeney. "Trade out your window treatments for ones that allow for privacy without blocking too much light. And lastly, don't forget to clean your windows and open them to let in the fresh air and sunlight, even for just a few minutes each day." 

chair with houseplants
Justina Blakeney painting at her desk
houseplant in front of wallpaper-covered wall
Left: Credit: Courtesy of The Jungalow
Center: Credit: Courtesy of The Jungalow
Right: Credit: Courtesy of The Jungalow

Botanical Prints

When you can't physically be in nature, hang works of art in your home that remind you of your favorite places. "Hang art and utilize textiles that showcase botanical and nature-inspired motifs," suggests Blakeney, such as Opalhouse Tropical Palm Art ($80, target.com). "This is a fun, conceptual way to make a space feel fresh and lush." 

Natural Materials

Instead of synthetics, opt for natural materials when furnishing your home. "Bring in furniture and accent pieces that are made of quickly renewable, natural materials like rattan, jute, and mango wood," says Blakeney. 

Colors

When deciding on a color scheme, think about where'd you most like to transport yourself. "When picking colors for paint, furniture and accessories, use colors inspired by your favorite natural locations. Try a briny teal if you are relaxed by the sea, terra-cotta if the desert inspires you or a deep green if (like me) the jungle calls to you," suggests Blakeney. "Also, a lush wallpaper can do the trick!"

Scents

Never underestimate the power of scent when it comes to creating a nature-inspired space. After all, think about it. When you close your eyes in nature and breath in deeply, it's smell of the ocean or the pine trees that relaxes you. "Some of my favorite scents are orange blossom, sage and plumeria," says Blakeney. "Bring fresh floral arrangements home, or use candles ($10, target.com) or a diffuser to bring nature's scents into your house." 

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