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Artful Living | Laura Schara Brings the Outdoors In

Photography by Victoria Campbell | Hair and Makeup by Kristine Loehrer

We instinctively know that nature is nurturing. It has been studied and confirmed that stepping outside to feel the sun on your face, sitting by a lake or an ocean, hugging a tree, or just digging your hands and feet in the dirt has a positive effect on our mood and mental health. So why not bring that same Zen energy into your home? Adding natural elements to your abode is easy to do and has an incredible upside. Here are 5 simple ways to nature up your home.

Artful Living | Laura Schara Brings the Outdoors In

Photography provided by Mother Co.


This may seem obvious, but flora is my top go-to for naturally improving your space. Plants are known to create a soothing environment and can lift your mood. The power of plants doesn’t stop there; even caring for them reduces stress — hence why so many of us love gardening. If you feel like you don’t have a green thumb, start simple with small, easy-care options or even an indoor herb garden. I originally purchased some small fiddle-leaf fig trees from a local nursery a few years ago, and today, they’re almost six feet tall. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them grow and appreciate the life they bring to my house. If you’re a frequent traveler or snowbird, there are also plenty of beautiful faux plants that look very real. I own many faux plants myself as the more green I see, the happier I feel.

Artful Living | Laura Schara Brings the Outdoors In

Photography provided by West Elm

Petrified Wood

Another favorite element to nature up your home is ancient petrified wood. Consider yourself lucky if you find some along a trail or in a riverbed as petrified wood can range from 20 million to 300 million years old. I have collected some during my outdoor adventures, and I like to showcase it on bookshelves to remind me of the special occasion when I found it. Not up for a scavenger hunt? You can purchase petrified wood decor from retailers like West Elm. If that’s not your thing, try other natural elements such as driftwood, rocks and crystals.

Photography by Victoria Campbell


You’re already going to adorn your walls with art, so why not make it natural? I love the idea of a black-and-white nature photography wall. Use a hallway or stairwell to showcase images you’ve taken on your own adventures or purchased from a professional photographer you admire. Whether it’s photos of wildlife, ocean waves, sunsets or trees, it all points you in the direction of happiness.

Photography provided by P.F. Candle Co.


One of my top hacks to bring the outdoors in is scent. Incense and essential oils can make it smell like you’ve transported a forest right into your living room. For incense, I love P.F. Candle Co., which offers scents like cedar, sagebrush, sandalwood and teakwood. And Norden Goods makes some of my favorite essential oils. I start up my diffuser and light incense every Saturday morning to bring my mind immediately into the woods as I drink my morning coffee.

Artful Living | Laura Schara Brings the Outdoors In

Photography by Victoria Campbell

Fresh Air

Finally, open up your windows for some fresh air. Indoor air is just not the same as a fresh breeze. Bonus if your home is surrounded by trees as they boast natural stress-relief compounds called phytoncides. Pines and evergreens are loaded with them — another plus to living in our evergreen state. 

Laura Schara is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and cohost of the television series Minnesota Bound.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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