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Expand your Horizons

Connect with the Outside

It is only natural that we feel comfortable in an environment that allows us feel part of nature. In the built environment, we can connect the interior and exterior by following these design tips.

Blur the boundaries. Windows are only there to stop the weather getting inside. Make them disappear by bringing the outdoors in or taking the indoors out. You can do that in a number of ways.

Design your planting so that it draws the eye beyond the window to the outside world - make the focal point somewhere in the distance if you can, and make use of any trees you can see through the window.

If you are designing a space with full-height windows, can you also plant outside? Use containers or the ground to incorporate some exterior foliage just beyond the window so that the interior and exterior plants become part of the same design.

Place a few plants around the edge and in corners. Try to make walls less obvious and less constraining by using plants to soften the edges of a space. If you can, why not have some murals that incorporate natural scenes or foliage effects?

Don't forget about art. Pictures of nature scenes, especially on a large scale, can help bridge the gap between the interior and exterior.

Consider some sound effects. In atriums and public parts of buildings (and maybe even in offices if you are subtle), use sounds from nature, such as bird song and/or running water to create the illusion of being outside.

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