Make my home feel like a forest feels
May 7, 2016 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Forests relax and soothe me. I'd like to make my apartment feel like a forest with sounds, scents, textures, and pictures.

These threads were very helpful:
http://ask.metafilter.com/225664/Help-me-make-a-forest-in-Manhattan
http://ask.metafilter.com/164723/Music-of-the-Forest

I need deep relaxation. How do you make your home feel like a calm, cool, relaxed forest?

- Can I actually put some small forest-y trees in there?
- Incense, candles, aromatherapy that really smell like a forest
- Rugs that feel like a forest floor?
- Non-cheesy forest pictures for the wall?

Any links to Amazon or Etsy or other places would be much appreciated. I've found a bunch of great conceptual stuff online but I want stuff I can actually buy.

Thank you!
posted by 3491again to Home & Garden (36 answers total) 71 users marked this as a favorite
 
We bought this giant stretched canvas at Ikea and I like the way it looks.
posted by ftm at 12:01 PM on May 7, 2016


Google "removable birch wallpaper," (You could do a foyer in this or a single wall.) "live edge coffee table/dining table/shelves," "wood stump furniture" (CB2 has a piece). "raw wood pendant," Don't go too overboard, though. Find some beautiful landscape art works that give you a serene feeling of walking through a forest.
posted by Elsie at 12:01 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


The use of green fabrics - nothing too bright or dark - wood and natural fibers and lots of plants would accomplish this, I think. Indoor trees are a thing - I've been wanting one for my bedroom but haven't bought one yet. Botanical prints on the wall (or sheets!) would reinforce the theme.

To me incense is too heavy and doesn't smell like a forest. I'd have lots of plants and keep them watered - to me that lends a freshness to the air that is relaxing.

One of those little indoor fountains that has water running over rocks would give you a gentle sound of running water.

Good luck, this sounds like a fun project!
posted by bunderful at 12:05 PM on May 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think you need the boyfriend candle.
posted by clavicle at 12:08 PM on May 7, 2016 [21 favorites]


Norfolk Island Pines do well as houseplants.
posted by cecic at 12:11 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


myNoise is an amazing noise generator that does really great soundscapes, including some foresty ones.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:13 PM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


It is probably marketing hooey, but I've read that forests are so appealing due to negative ions (which is an option with some air purifiers and fans). So running one of those might help?
posted by chocotaco at 12:21 PM on May 7, 2016


Forests have slightly damp, fragrant air. Maybe get a humidifier that also has an option for adding essential oils like cedar or juniper or pine. Muji has some nice ones that hold up well to lots of use.

I'd paint the walks a darker grey and get lots of plants. Lighting that isn't overhead and can be dimmed will also help to create the atmosphere you want.
posted by quince at 12:44 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


One of the major things about the smell of a forest, for me, is damp earth and rotting leaves. The latter is tricky to get indoors and probably a bit gross, but for wet earth... a humidifer and lots and lots of plants. Perhaps even a living wall (NB: no idea if they're reputable or environmentally friendly or anything as a company, just grabbed from google) would help you get where you want to go.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:52 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cedar/juniper/etc. soaps are a thing that you can buy and/or make.
posted by aniola at 12:52 PM on May 7, 2016


Probably it would also help to get rid of artificially-scented things. Windex, Tide, replace all that sort of thing if you use it.
posted by aniola at 12:54 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know you can get or make moss carpets for stepping out of the shower, but I assume they're a pain to maintain.
posted by aniola at 12:55 PM on May 7, 2016


Definitely check into cleaning supplies and soaps with herbal scents. I love Caldrea's Lavender Pine cleaners. Right now, I'm staying at a house that has Trader Joe's Lemongrass and Clary Sage soap and it smells lovely and woodsy.
posted by mochapickle at 12:58 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ring Botanicals does a perfume that's meant to smell like doug fir forests in the summer. So not for your house necessarily, but putting it on could be part of a relaxation ritual at home.
posted by linettasky at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


To me incense is too heavy and doesn't smell like a forest.

Agree generally but I think some of the balsam incense is pretty good.Depending how much "tree smell" you want, you could try some other scented things like pillows and soaps and the like. Other suggestions (as someone who has a place somewhat like this....)

- humidifier
- mossariums (I made this page, these things don't actually smell much but they are pretty good.)
- dried leaves/bark/flowers in various containers around the place
- diffuse light. This is the big deal to me. All lights should be indirect and/or being filtered through a sheer curtain or lighting up a (preferably green/brown) wall or curtain.

I found that for me the art stuff didn't help much but lots of little containers of plants, nature sounds or other steady music (plus the hum of the humidifier) and an actual nature view out your window if you can swing it (or curtains if you can't) all help.
posted by jessamyn at 1:12 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


One thing that contributes a lot to the quiet, peaceful feel of a forest is the quality of acoustical deadness due to all the sound absorbing and scattering surfaces (mulch floor, leaves and tree trunks and canopy, no big flat hard things to reflect sound.) This is challenging but not impossible to reproduce indoors: ideally you'd want to upholster the walls or cover them completely in heavy fabric curtains, and hang lots of plants or other three-dimensional objects all around. Also get thick shag rugs and consider fabric hangings for the ceiling (maybe tack up some white LED christmas lights on a slow chase setting, then hang green material so they shine through and simulate filtered canopy sunlight?)
posted by contraption at 1:28 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Visually, the plant I keep that is the most forest-related in my mind is the Norfolk Island Pine. It's tolerant of being a houseplant (in fact, I tried once to summer one outside and it did not appreciate it), and while it is often sold in the US as a "living Christmas tree" with sprayed-on glitter and ornaments, without all of that jazz it's just a nice looking tree. I also keep a number of ferns and other plants around, too, as I find them all quite peaceful to live with.
posted by vegartanipla at 1:40 PM on May 7, 2016


I was just looking at curtain lights on Amazon today (note: actual curtain not included, so you'll need your own tulle or curtain sheers or similar if you want them diffused in fabric).

You might experiment with planters/containers filled with topsoil and bark mulch (you could use it as a place to nestle candles or hold incense) that you could mist with water to get that rainy earth scent.

Potted trees are a thing, though fake ones may be a better option without really strong light. Luckily there's a huge industry in fake forest-type trees plus garlands, wreaths, etc. Intersperse them with things like that Norfolk living tree, and interesting big leafy plants like hostas, aloe vera, and even well-established philodendron.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:15 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


What a fun project!

Live edge furniture.

I had an idea a few years ago to cover a table in leaves and shellac over the top. I never did it, but that would be cool, I think.

Use mirrors to increase natural light and multiply the effect of your other sylvan decorations.

Get bowls of moss or wheatgrass as coffee table decorations.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:19 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I did something similar years ago, and what felt most effective in my home was to layer different textures and tones of green fabrics, and to paint the walls a very pale green. So I had throw pillows in forest and moss green and straw and mushroom chenille, chenille throw blankets, green velvet slip covers on furniture, a green carpet and wood floors. Lots of indirect natural light. Wow, I miss that. I might do it again.
posted by instamatic at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


This candle was mentioned in an earlier, similar, AskMe and I gave one to Mrs. Spatula and holy snap, it's the real deal.
posted by Rat Spatula at 3:51 PM on May 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Previously reported project.
posted by sammyo at 4:27 PM on May 7, 2016


Try a leather shag rug. I think it might give you a bit of that "loamy" texture underfoot, and bonus earthy leather smell!
posted by drlith at 6:13 PM on May 7, 2016


You need Juniper Ridge Siskiyou Cedar Soap (they also make other forest scented products).
posted by The Toad at 8:18 PM on May 7, 2016


At the risk of blatant self-promotion, here's a 104-minute nocturnal recording I made in the Mississippi Palisades State Park that might suit your needs, ambience-wise.
posted by mykescipark at 10:19 PM on May 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


One of these chandeliers?
posted by BoscosMom at 10:48 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


One of my friends had a wall-sized photo-mural of a forest in her room in a basement. It was surprisingly effective - even though it was only on one wall and B/W. The forest atmosphere was definitely there. Here is a company that offers made-to-measure murals. I'd keep the other walls white, but curtains and furniture, pillows and throws in green and brown shades.
I'm planning to cover an irregular wall with cheap ikea shelves floor to ceiling, and then have a thick (twin peaks style) velvet curtain cover the whole thing, the idea is to get rid of the clutter, simplify the room and soften the sound (I've done something similar in my summerhouse and it works like magic). In your case, that curtain might be a deep forest green.

Another friend grew oak-trees in pots in his room. Depending on your plant skills, you can grow a lot of different plants in your home - ferns are good for a sylvan feel, as are ficus trees. I'd prefer a lot of plants to candles and/or oils for scent. A rose geranium in each window provides a lovely scent, and with care they can grow large enough over time to provide the filtered light of a forest. Some people have achieved similar results with rosemary, which has a pine-like smell.

About the light - remember that the forest has filtered light, but also sudden spots of brightness and deep darkness. Think of your home this way. Maybe you can have a bright spotlight on a special item in the living room, and on your working space in the kitchen - and on the other hand almost darkness in the bedroom - it's the variation that does it and you can't overdo it. Rich, varied light is very good for your health. Mirrors are great for enhancing these effects.

Are you good at cleaning? Because if not, I'd hesitate with carpets. You really want a clean smell, and if you don't vacuum your floors regularly, they will gather a stale smell. If you love cleaning, choose a natural fiber, like sisal for wall to wall, and supplement with wool area rugs in different textures. These will contribute to the soft acoustics you need.

An indoor fountain could work magic. The sound of water is very soothing. I'd not buy it online, if you have any chance of finding a store near you: watch out for noise from the pump. I've seen completely noiseless fountains and they are wonderful.
posted by mumimor at 11:07 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


If money is no object, one of these rugs.
posted by daisyace at 3:30 AM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or for a budget version of the fancy art rug, this IKEA grass rug.
posted by maykasahara at 6:52 AM on May 8, 2016


Thinking more about this:

There are a lot of things you could do with pine cones as accents, even just setting a bowl of them on a coffee table.

Get a large rock and use it as an occasional table. It'll add some variety to all the green and brown, but still be natural and authentic.

I'm wondering if wooden blinds might be a better option than curtains.

A ceiling fan might be nice to provide a breeze. There are ones where the blades are shaped like leaves.

In general, I think brown leather and a variety of wood tones will help bring about the feeling.

If you really want to go to an extreme, use an air mattress and sleeping bag as your bed. That might be a little too far, though.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:17 AM on May 8, 2016


I know not everyone is really into the incense thing, but I burned some of this yesterday and today my place still smells nice and woodsy. Recommended.
posted by jessamyn at 8:29 AM on May 8, 2016


I had a therapist whose office felt like a forest, and was clearly designed to be like that.

I remember there being a soft breeze, probably a small fan, behind a couch that blew upwards onto some branches (or a spindly plant?) mounted on the wall, and a light that also shone up from below. This cast moving shadows onto the wall and ceiling. I think the couch muted the sound of the fan.

Most of the other lights in the room were not very bright and usually behind some kind of plant.

He also had framed, calming, nature-y words on the wall, which I found annoying, but might work for someone else.

Also, woot.com frequently has large nature-y canvas prints, but you've gotta check there every day and you might end up buying other junk you don't need.
posted by MonsieurBon at 7:52 PM on May 8, 2016


Woot has the big canvases today!
(Thank you for this question, because I have long wanted to live like a witch in the heart of the forest.)
Definitely pick up a humidifier, and look into sound dampening as others have suggested.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 12:01 PM on May 9, 2016


She doesn't have any "home" products, but there's an Etsy shop with homemade soaps and stuff that has a few forest-y scents. The full scent list is here. I personally love the Lavender, Apples, & Oak, and think her description of a forest on a humid summer day is exactly right. And starting your day with forest-y shampoo and conditioner would probably be pretty nice. You can pretty much order anything and then tell her you want a different scent than what's listed. And the body spray and powder may be adaptable for sheets or something.
posted by timepiece at 12:12 PM on May 11, 2016


I work somewhere with a giant moss wall giving off foresty vibes but it's not super great because I think the moss is dead. Maybe you can get living ones. I don't know.
posted by yoHighness at 4:16 AM on May 12, 2016


I just came across this and it reminded me of this thread.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:59 AM on June 1, 2016


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