Connecting Wellness and Nature
It’s no secret that consumers today are extremely motivated by their health. Eighty-one percent of respondents to the 2023 IHA Market Watch Report said wellness was very or somewhat important to their daily lives at home – the survey’s top driving force. When asked to rank the many different components of wellness, mental health emerged as slightly more important than physical health—just as it did in the 2022 survey.
“Nature is an important need for many, and vital in keeping us emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy,” says the Mental Health Foundation in a recent report on the links between nature and wellness. In fact, a 2022 study published in Science Advances found 227 unique connections between nature and human well-being.
The good news is that nature in many different forms can have a positive effect on people. “It can mean green spaces like parks, woodlands or forests and blue spaces like rivers, wetlands, beaches or canals,” says the Mental Health Foundation. “It also includes trees on an urban street, private gardens, verges and even indoor plants or window boxes. Surprisingly, even watching nature documentaries is good for our mental health.”
Feeling the Outdoors Inside
While by no means a substitute for getting outside, many consumers today are looking for ways to incorporate elements of nature and bring the feel of the outdoors inside their homes.
“As technology and information become pervasive (and invasive) elements of our everyday lives, instinct brings us back to natural elements and influences for a much needed sense of reality, reassurance and relaxation,” according to the “Second Nature” portfolio in the HomePage News 2023/24 InSight™ Trend Index. “As we approach nature with a renewed sense of appreciation and wonder, we seek constant connection to it through objects of essential function and everyday use.”
In our homes, that can mean decorative elements that may include plants, seashells, fruit or pinecones; an emphasis on natural materials like wood or stone; and images of flowers, trees, animals or birds.
It may also mean leaning into colors associated with nature. “At once emerging and enduring, fluid waves of Baltic blues and greens are trending on a global scale,” according the InSight Trend Index. “Some of these selections recall lake-still waters, others storm-driven seas, but all reach to the escapist and the nature lover in all of us.”
Lee Eiseman, director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says uncertain times may cause some to seek comfort in neutral palettes, subtle earth tones and shades of green. Because green appears in nature in so many textures and tones, she says consumers have a good comfort level with it…so much so that she considers it a neutral.
However, nature-inspired palettes don’t necessarily have to be neutral. The “Scenic” palette from the Pantone® View Home + Interiors 2024 forecast is dynamic and visually arresting. Eiseman says it was inspired by the prismatic hues in nature’s light spectrum (think flashes of lightning, bold sunsets and reflections of bright colors on clouds). It features pinks, purples, oranges and orange pinks.
A wide variety of nature-inspired home and housewares products can be found in the seventh portfolio of the HomePage News 2023/24 InSight™ Trend Index. The Trend Index is a series of product portfolios examining the latest forces in home and housewares.