Now that it's finally really Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and Fall in the Southern Hemisphere, people across the planet have relatively lush views through their windows - and that scenery is attracting a lot of attention. Research on people from many cultures has shown that we all prefer certain sorts of views of nature. These desired scenes relax us and contain elements that would have helped humans survive during our evolutionary past.
Views are good, whether they're inside or outside. Looking into the distance, say 15 yards or so, requires us to refocus our eyes if we have been reading or looking at something else relatively close to our faces. That refocusing is relaxing, even if we're looking into an indoor vista. If we're in a space where the openings to outdoors are high up on the walls, or through which no nature is visible, those windows can still be really important psychologically. Natural light helps us keep our personal circadian rhythms synchronized with those of the world around us, which eliminates a source of potential stress from our lives.
If you do have a view of nature, what sorts of scenes are you most likely to prefer and find relaxing? Surprisingly, the best nature views are not entirely natural. People savor vistas that show minor amounts of modification by human beings. A meandering road or path or a field where the grasses seem mown will do the trick here. A view out into an untamed jungle sort of landscape might seem in the abstract to be just the sort of scenery that would cause us to forget the demands placed on us by civilization, but instead it simply seems upsetting. We also dislike patterns in textiles and wall coverings that are really complex - these patterns have a lot in common with thick foliage that would have made it difficult for our prehistoric selves to spot approaching danger.