Create the perfect Indoor-Outdoor space for Mental Health
Find out how to improve your mental health by bringing your garden indoors with these simple ideas.
According to the mental health charity Mind, “approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.”
Research suggests that there is a strong connection between spending time in nature and mental health, and the charity Mind states that spending time in a green space can help to:
- Improve your mood
- Reduce feelings of stress or anger
- Help you take time out and feel more relaxed
- Improve your physical health
- Improve your confidence and self-esteem
- Help you be more active
Whilst exploring fields and forests is a great way of achieving that, you don’t always have to travel that far to find a place of peace and mental well-being as you just need to look in your own back garden. No matter how big or small, your outdoor space is full of opportunity and your imagination can really run wild.
Integrating your outdoor space with your home can also be a huge advantage to your family's health as this integration means you can enjoy your garden, come rain or shine. Creating a natural transition between the two often separate areas is great because it draws you into your garden and encourages you to spend more time enjoying it.
Here are a few ideas of how you can create the perfect indoor-outdoor space:
Add plants to your indoor space
This is an easy one, that doesn’t require a large budget, but adding plants to your home is a simple first step. Consider choosing plants that are like ones you have outside to draw a closer between both spaces.
Tending to plants (indoors and outdoors) is a great benefit to mental health because nurturing something can take your mind off anything playing on your mind and gives you something else to focus on and help to reduce stress levels.
This is also great if you live in an apartment without any outdoor space. Not having a garden doesn’t mean you can’t add plants to your life.
Re-think your flooring
It has probably never crossed your mind to match your outdoor paving with the flooring you have chosen for your home, but this can really help to make the two spaces feel like one.
One thing to bear in mind when choosing your tiles is that your exterior paving is going to be subjected to very different conditions to the interior ones, such as rain, snow and various types of dirt that will gradually affect the overall colour. For this reason, porcelain may be your best choice as it is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors and is less susceptible to colour change.
However, granite and slate are also excellent choices, as well as polished concrete.
Frame a focal point with a window
Windows should be seen like picture frames; consider what can be seen through them from all angles, particularly if you have a dining table in front of it.
In the perfect world, we would all have rolling green fields, stunning mountains or spectacular sea views from our back windows that are guaranteed to boost our mood. However, for those of us that aren’t lucky enough to have those views, we can create our own mini scenery with our outdoor space.
Maybe position an attractive tree in the middle of your view or a stunning flower feature that will make you smile whilst sitting eating your dinner.
This is also a smart idea if you have French doors leading out to your garden space.
Blur the lines
Folding Patio Doorsets maximise your view with large expanses of glass and frames that are generally thinner than other options. Not only that, bifold doors open fully without any panels being left in place. This helps to create the illusion of both spaces being one.
Not only will this blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, helping you to feel more connected with nature; it will also help you to ensure plenty of fresh air flows through your home.
Fully opening your space to the outside world is beneficial if you are unable to go outside, perhaps because it is too hot or because you need to work indoors. The doors help to feel like you are more outdoors.
Whether open or closed, bifold doors allow your children to play freely in the garden, whilst being subtly supervised as you work in the kitchen.
Light up the Dark
If you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you are likely affected by the darkness of winter. Adding light to your garden space that creates the illusion of daytime could be a solution; think up lighting on brick walls.
This is especially important if you have a large door or window without curtains or blinds, as at night, your garden will look like an expansive void that can be unnerving and dominating.
Of course, nothing can substitute natural light for the benefit of our mental health and windows can be a huge help, as they allow you to appreciate the hours of daylight that we do have. If possible, opt for windows that are large and/or have white frames to create the illusion of airiness whilst also removing the distraction from the view of the outdoor world.
Creating a flow of light around your home can also be highly beneficial, especially in areas that are commonly dark such as hallways. Choose interior doors with glazing; it doesn’t matter if the glass is clear or decorative if you want privacy, as both types will still allow light to pass through.