Homeowners say Natural Materials such as Wood make them Happier

New report by The Wood Window Alliance reveals that British homes are transforming into centres of homely wellness

  • Almost half of homeowners state that having natural materials in their homes makes them happier than when surrounded by artificial materials
  • 46% of Brits plan to increase the number of plants in their homes to bring the outdoors in and reconnect with nature
  • One in four homeowners plan to reduce the amount of plastic in their homes this year, with one in three conscious of the impact of synthetic materials on their wellbeing
  • Timber is cited by 67% of homeowners as the material they would like to have more of in the home

As we move into the post plastic age, health and wellbeing are no longer just a matter of what we eat and drink and how often we exercise. Today, Brits are turning their backs on disposable, desire-based buying and cheap synthetics, in favour of more thoughtful purchases that offer a combination of personal and planetary health and wellbeing benefits.

Seeking the holy grail of ‘Homely-Wellness’ through home design and build, a new ‘Window on the World’ research and trend report by The Wood Window Alliance reveals three key trends that are currently impacting the way we live our lives:

Even though recent years have seen a significant increase in consumer understanding and recognition of the environmental and health impact of everyday decisions and actions, it appears that many Brits have been losing touch with the natural world and are actively seeking to redress the balance.

From living a ‘raw’ lifestyle to the growth of urban gardens and chemical-free products, research reveals a growing desire to reconnect with nature, with 49% of homeowners stating that having natural materials in their homes makes them feel discernibly happier than when surrounded by artificial materials. In 2017 one in three plan to bring more natural materials into their home, whilst 27% plan to increase the amount of natural fibres in their homes in a bid to improve their quality of life.

Nurture through Nature – bringing the outdoors in
Thanks to the expansion of urban environments, lack of outdoor space and technological ‘advances’ increasingly keeping us indoors, Brits are becoming disconnected from nature. Only 10% of Britain’s children play in nature compared to 40% in 1985, whilst adults are also increasingly spending most of their time indoors.

Whilst most Brits are not able to knock down their home and start again, they are increasingly attempting to restore their connection with nature through home designs that ‘nurture through nature’. Research shows that 82% of people feel that being surrounded by greenery makes them feel happier, so it’s understandable that almost half of Brits (46%) are planning to increase the number of plants and flowers in their homes this year in a bid to improve their connection with nature.

Post plastic – wood for good
It seems that the desire to stem the tide of plastic in our lives (and in our oceans) has spread beyond the plastic bag, with one in four homeowners planning to decrease the amount of plastics in their home this year. This is part of a wider aversion to synthetic materials, as one in three is conscious of the effects of synthetic materials on their wellbeing.

With consumers becoming ever more sceptical, seeking out the ‘back story’ of brands, products and materials before they buy, the result is an increasing desire for natural products which are both beautiful to look at and touch, and which deliver minimal environmental impact.

In terms of natural products, wood retains top spot in desirability terms, with timber cited by 67% of homeowners as the material they would like to have more of in their homes. With timber windows perceived as the most environmentally friendly (44.3%), most aesthetically pleasing (44.2%), the nicest to live with (33.4%) and providing the most character (56.2%), it seems that wooden windows are now set for a resurgence in the post plastic age.

Tony Pell, Chairman of the Wood Window Alliance said: “It’s no surprise that we’re becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world. However, we’ve recently witnessed a new and growing desire among homeowners to take a bigger view of the world. With a growing recognition that wood is good, particularly amongst environmentally aware millennials, homeowners are now recognising that the cheap and disposable has consequences.

“Timber sourced from sustainable forests not only means that more trees get planted than chopped down, so protecting the natural health of the planet, but it means timber window frames have a negative global warming potential – over their 60+ years’ service life they actually reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Not to mention the intrinsic beauty of timber, which, as our research shows, is yet to be beaten.”

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