Now here’s a blog post I had in mind for quite a while but never had the time or inspiration to put it down in words and images. The concept of ‘natural living’ was roaming my head for a while and I keep asking myself whether it can be called a concept or is it rather the default in living and interiors we should strive for or better yet the staring point where all our dwelling adventures begin from? But it feels like reiterating the mystery and asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. Let us think of ‘natural living’ as what it is in its very meaning: the natural way of dwelling.
I know only a few of us can live a fully natural life in the truest sense of the word. The majority of us lives in urban settlements, we are surrounded with artificial structures, we deal with traffic congestion, environmental issues, processed food and we lead totally connected lives that have disconnected us from the nature and the natural pace of life. But those living in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones, right? I mean I am guilty as charged for most of the aforementioned facts.
For this blog post I was trying to break down the idea of natural living in our homes. How we dwell is a choice we make and speaks about our understanding of natural living. And it starts with simple choices in our daily life. Do we choose natural textiles instead of plastic fiber? Do we choose wooden or clay bowls or do we serve our salad in brightly colored plastic dishes? Do we spray our rooms with artificial home fragrances or do we use more natural ways of scenting our homes? You see, often it is the very basic choices we make that can make a little difference towards better, more natural living. Here are just some simple tips I use in my apartment:
I love to light beeswax candles instead of other, more common scented candles that are often made of paraffin wax, a petroleum waste product that disseminate toxic benzene when burned thus polluting the air we breathe. Opt for beeswax candles instead which are a natural product and have a purely natural scents. Here are a few facts that will probably surprise you:
- Beeswax burns cleaner than other waxes.
- Beeswax has the highest melting point of any wax and thus burns longer than other waxes. This point makes it easier to justify the higher cost. But just consider that one worker bee must eat six pounds of honey, fly 240,000 km and visit 33 million flowers to produce just one pound of beeswax.
- Beeswax contains absolutely no harmful chemicals.
- Beeswax burns brighter than other waxes (a similar light spectrum as the sun).
- Beeswax is a renewable resource as long as we find a way to keep the bees around.
- Beeswax does not expire. It has been around since the beginning of civilization. It has been found in Pharaoh’s tombs and Roman ruins.
- Beeswax emits purifying negative ions during burning that remove pollution and allergens (dust, bacteria, viruses, mold, odors) from the air. Dust, bacteria, mold etc. float in the air because they are charged with positive ions. The negative ions released by a burning beeswax candle are attracted to positive ions. These negative ions attach themselves to the impurities in the air, causing them to become too heavy to float around. They then conveniently fall to the floor where they can be easily swept up.
Natural home fragrance
Forget sprays and other artificial home fragrances promising a sea breeze in your city apartment or the scent of a spring meadow in winter. Here again the fake sea and the fake meadow will be concocted by toxic artificial scents. Instead go the natural way and fragrance your home with natural essential oils dripped on wooden scent diffusers or diluted in water, think of dried lavender, fresh rosemary. And here is one natural home fragrance that is very typical in Serbia: People add ripe quince fruits in their homes, they put them on a windowsill or on a sideboard – you will be amazed by the fruits scent!
Nowadays we really have the choice. You can select between organic cotton, linen, hemp textiles, wool and more. My favorite choice is linen – I love its feel on the skin so a majority of my bedding is linen. I also love hemp textiles. The Finnish design label Saana ja Olli produces some of the nicest home textiles made of hemp. I have a cushion and tea towels made of hemp and they are amazing. Forget those throws, blankets and cushion covers made of polyacrylics and other artificial fibers.
Plants, plants, plants
Well how could I not mention plants as an Urban Jungle Blogger? Plants are nature in themselves and bring back a bit of the lost wilderness into our urban homes. And they not only look pretty, they also work as natural air purifiers by removing toxins from the air we breathe and releasing fresh oxygen. This is beneficial to our body and soul. Fresh oxygen helps us relax, sleep better and concentrate. Some very beneficial houseplants that act like natural air filters are the Snake Plant, Aloe Vera, the Peace Lily, the Rubber Plant, Pothos or Boston Ferns. Many more of course, but these are just to give you a rough idea.
Whenever possible choose furniture pieces and home accessories made of natural materials such as wood, clay, leather, stoneware. Try to reduce the number of plastic pieces in your home for the sake of a healthier, better living environment. And whatever choice you make, think of sustainability as well. Teak wood is natural, but sometimes its production has pretty adverse effects on our environment.
I know, it is not easy to be 100 % sure we make the best choices for a natural living. But maybe it is not about the best choices per se. Maybe it is rather about better choices we can make. For us and our home.
Photography by Lina Skukauske and Igor Josifovic