7 Easy Ways to Bring the Outdoors Inside Your HDB or Condo
We spend a lot of time indoors, in our homes away from the great outdoors. This increasing urbanisation can affect our mental and physical wellbeing. It has been shown that an increased connection to nature can significantly improve our moods, relieve stress and promote a rise in creativity and productivity.
Clearly, this means we should bring the outdoors inside as much as we can. But how can you do so if you live in a small-ish HDB flat or a condo that doesn’t have an outdoor area? Short of lugging the entire forest in, here are some easy ways you can bring the outdoors into your apartment.
1. Get Indoor Plants
Indoor plants are the simplest way to bring in the feeling of nature. All you need is a spot near the window for your greens to get as much sun as they can. Clear toxins in the air with air-purifying plants like Calatheas or go with big leafy greens like the fiddle-leaf fig or the Monstera deliciosia to make a big visual impact. If you prefer something more practical, start an herb garden in the kitchen or by the window (most herbs need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight). Easy herbs to start with include mint, chives, parsley and rosemary. For folks who don’t get a lot of sunlight in their apartment, consider the Dragon Tree or the Peace Lily.
Design: AO Studios
Design: Rooot Studio
2. Use Natural Materials
No green fingers? Deck out your HDB flat or condo with furnishings and design elements made from natural materials instead. They often come in interesting textures, adding to the visual and textural variety in your home, making your space more layered and three-dimensional. Some materials to consider: Suar wood, leather, pebbles, seagrass, cork, wicker, jute, rattan and terracotta.
Design: The Merry Men Interiors
Design: Design Zage
3. Think Organic—Shapes, That is
Include more organic forms alongside natural materials to soften the edges and look of your home. Like the imperfections of nature, asymmetrical shapes, uneven edges and curvilinear profiles in your choice of furniture and design can bring a sense of the outdoors in through conjuring up images of sinuous waves or undulating sand dunes.
Design: KNQ Associates
Design: Three-D Conceptwerke
4. Fake a Balcony
It’s easy to add the sense of the outside if you actually have an outside space in your home like a balcony, but when you don’t, create the illusion of one. Set aside an area in your HDB flat or condo, preferably by the window, and have it set up so it looks like an outdoor setting. You could deck it out in artificial grass, cover it with pebbled stones, put up plants and a cosy outdoor chair and tada, instant outside!
Design: Nitton Architects
Design: Third Avenue Studio
5. Don’t Block the Sunlight or Fresh Air
Nothing says the great outdoors like plenty of sunlight and ventilation. Pull back the curtains and start inviting natural light into your apartment. Make sure your windows are not obstructed by furniture or carpentry. When choosing window furnishings, opt for ones that can still allow daylight in such as sheer curtains or blinds that can be angled to filter light in. If privacy is an issue, opt for day and night curtains or adjustable blinds to give you more options.
Use reflective surfaces like mirrors to bounce light throughout your home. An open plan is also a great way to make sure every nook and cranny is well-lit and well-ventilated. If you need to zone up the spaces, use glass dividers that will still guarantee a flow of natural light without sacrificing privacy.
Design: Fineline Design
Design: Uno Interior
6. Make Use of Your Colour Scheme
Colours are instant mood changers, so if you are looking to add a hint of the outdoors, find a colour palette that is inspired by nature. If you always want to feel like you are on a seaside holiday, consider a nautical theme of sea greens, blues and creams that is inspired by the beach, the breeze and the ocean. A preference for forest-like dwellings? Combine various shades of greens and add a pop of peach or a warm hue to balance things out. Earthier, more neutral colours are great for a home that wants to bring the outdoors inside.
Design: Wynk Collaborative
Design: DB Studio
7. Incorporate Nature-Inspired Prints
Another easy way to bring the outdoors into your HDB flat or condo? Include Mother nature-inspired motifs. Think leaf prints, botanical motifs, and fauna elements. Soft furnishings like cushions are the easiest and cheapest way. But consider using oversized art or wallpaper that can make a much bigger visual statement.