5 ways nature-inspired decor schemes can boost your wellbeing, a color expert reveals

Ruth Mottershead, color expert and Creative Director at Little Greene shows how nature-inspired rooms can make us happier

Floral mural with sofa in front and large buffet cabinet
(Image credit: Little Greene)

We all know that being outdoors in nature, particularly when trees are in leaf and flowers are blooming, can make us feel good. Similarly, colors that reflect the landscapes around us can boost our well-being.

So if you're looking for happy room ideas, nature should be your first stop for inspiration. 'Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing,' say the experts at mental health charity Mind

It stands to reason, then, that to be happier at home, we should look to not just decor that reflects nature but combine that with colors that make a room feel happy. Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene, is something of an expert in this field, as she spearheads the brand's new wallpaper and paint collections. 

'You can create a sense of connection and positivity in your home with a nature-inspired scheme that truly brings the outside in,' she says. 'We feel a sense of wellbeing through time spent in the great outdoors, and over recent years we have been seeking to re-create the benefits of nature in our homes. This has manifested in a renewed love for greens of all hues, as well as biophilic design and natural textures and finishes.'

Below, Ruth shows how nature-inspired decor can boost wellbeing. 

Ruth Mottershead
Ruth Mottershead

Ruth Mottershead is a color and interior design expert who works as Creative Director at Little Greene, a brand renowned for its beautiful paint and wallpaper collections, many of which are inspired by nature.

1. Choose colors that make you happy

Floral woodland mural in living room in green

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Room color ideas that can boost your mood include yellow, green and blue – the predominant colors in nature. However, while these will, according to psychologists, be the most likely to make you feel happy, you should, first and foremost, choose colors that you really love.

'Transforming your home environment can really lift your mood and have a positive effect on how you feel, offering a change of visual scenery and a sanctuary that soothes and calms the mind,' says Ruth.

'We all react differently to variations in color, so make sure to choose colors that speak to you. Instead of following interiors trends, consider how colors make you feel and make decisions based on the atmosphere you wish to create.'

2. Choose a woodland print for a feeling of tranquility

Floral wallpaper in dining room with traditional furniture

(Image credit: Little Greene)

You may think calm rooms have to be painted a soothing shade of blue to work their magic, but you can introduce pattern, and those that work best are those that make you feel relaxed. Love a walk in the woods? Choosing a wallpaper that reflects this will go a long way to creating just the right atmosphere.

'Calm and tranquil doesn’t have to mean plain and minimalist; embrace pattern with leafy prints in forest hues. A dense foliage-based wallpaper in rich deep woodland shades or earthy, natural colors will create a cocooning and calming feel that also adds design interest,' says Ruth.

3. Swap out white for muted, natural tones

Entryway with floral wallpaper looking out through open front door

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Brilliant white is the go-to for many of us when trying to make our rooms feel brighter – because light rooms make us feel better, right? Ruth disagrees:

'For a soothing, gentle scheme that is inspired by nature, avoid using harsh bright white on woodwork. Instead, replace with gentle stone or sand-based hues that provide a traditional feel. Or embrace the soothing power of darker hues and opt for a rich green or deep brown hue on woodwork and trim.'

4. Decorate functional rooms for wellbeing, too

Dark kitchen with cute round table and chairs in foreground

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Slow living homes are all about ensuring everything that can contribute to our wellbeing within in a room is included, from soothing paint colors to pleasing textures to the best indoor plants. So why not embrace this idea in kitchens, too?

'Create an immersive haven by incorporating all rooms within your nature-inspired palette. Often kitchens and bathrooms are treated separately, feeling functional rather than inspiring. Consider kitchens and bathrooms as an extension of your design scheme, carrying your color palette through into the space. 

'This is especially useful in open plan kitchen spaces where you want to create a harmonious transition between living, dining and kitchen areas,' says Ruth.

5. Choose green

Floral wallpaper on walls of large bathroom with freestanding bath in center

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Green room ideas, says Ruth, are key to boosting wellbeing at home. 

'Go Green. Green is a wonderful shade to embrace in any space whatever its style, from bedrooms to bathrooms and kitchens. Because greens are versatile and have varying undertones and depths, they are incredibly versatile. Decorating with green works beautifully to serve as a natural extension of the outdoors, creating the effect of bringing the outside in.'

What is nature-inspired interior design

'Interior design inspired by nature can include anything from paint colors that reflect the landscape beyond your windows, through to wallcoverings and fabrics that depict natural scenes or materials, to the materials used to furnish your space,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens. The effect should be an abundance of texture and natural colors, which should combine to make you feel comfortable and relaxed.'

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.