For someone who spends their days obsessing over interior design, I really am a bit of a nature gal. When the weather is nice, my house often gets neglected for the garden or a hike in the woods. And, as much as I love my current real home, my dream house (everyone needs a dream – right?) is one with view. And as I tell my husband, I’m not even picky about what the view is. Ocean? Mountains? Treetop canopy? Surprise me. I’m totally flexible!
But for now, I’m loving life in my real home on our urban lot. Which means, most of my “real views” are of neighbors’ houses or our fence. We are lucky to have a fairly lush and private back yard, but sadly, I can only see from that two rooms. I know I’m not alone in this plight, so, what’s a real homeowner to do when they wish to bring more of the outdoors in to their home?
5 Ways to Bring the Outdoors in to Your Home:
#1) Don’t turn your back on nature.
First, the obvious. If you are lucky enough to have a room with a view — whether it be a lush backyard garden, a quaint urban streetscape, or a killer ocean vista — please, please, please take care to enjoy it. Stop right now and look at your furniture arrangement. Do you have adequate seating to take advantage of that view? Is there a comfy place that you like to sit and soak in the bliss? If not, think seriously about how you could tweak your room to accomplish this. When there is nature (or a good city view) outside a window, my top priority is always to plan the seating accordingly. Lovely views are just way too precious to waste!
Now for the 90% of rooms in our real homes that don’t have a lovely view, there are ways to fake it.
#1) Bring in the Houseplants!
Houseplants are an obvious way to bring nature into your home. They are beautiful, affordable, and they improve indoor air quality, so add them wherever you can! Place a large floor plant in an empty corner to bring it to life. Place a potted plant on a credenza to brighten up a vignette. Line up small pots on a window sill or hang a potted plant overhead to give the illusion of a green view even where none exists.
Houseplants are conveniently on trend in today’s design world, so you should have lots of options when bringing them into your home. Nurseries are packed with abundant plant choices and home decor stores carry pots and plant stands to complement any decor style, so have fun bringing some houseplants into your real home.
#2) Green up Your Space through Color and Pattern.
OK, so maybe you have a black thumb … or allergies … or pets or small children who will dig in, eat, or knock over any lovely houseplants you bring home. (Just saying – there were reasons I gave up houseplants for ten years). In these cases, you might need an alternative way to freshen your space. In that case, may I suggest my favorite color?
Yes, I know the blue purists out there may argue for the hue of the sky and sea, but to me, nothing says nature like a lush green. You could go all out and paint a wall or entire room with it, or you could throw in pillows or blankets as an accent color. There are so many hues of green, you are sure to find one that will work in your space. If you’re really looking for something special – search out a jungly wallpaper, a large piece of art, or patterned curtains that give you the illusion of a great view!
#3) Get Back to Nature with Real Wood
When it comes to patterns found in nature, wood grain stands out for its pure beauty. Furniture makers have appreciated this for centuries, and even though painted wood has a prominent place in many homes today, the beauty of raw, stained wood can (and should!) be brought in to compliment any style.
Of course wood cabinetry and trim still have a place in many homes – from the very traditional to the very modern, but many homes with painted finishes need to work a little harder to bring in wood accents. Look for wood furniture that shows off its beautiful grain. For a step further, try one of the live edge pieces that are popular today. Even small touches can go a long way when you bring in woodsy texture. Try displaying a beautiful wooden tray or cutting board or fill a vase with branches from your backyard. It may be all you need to get your nature fix!
#4) Freshen Up with Florals
Nature’s blooms are inargueably one its most beautiful productions, so why not bring that loveliness into your real home? Fresh flowers always do the trick; by all means buy them as often as you can! (Better yet, grow your own cutting garden if you have the yard to do so.) The sight and smell are them will surely delight your senses.
If keeping your home stocked with fresh flowers sounds unrealistic, do not despair. Florals are everywhere these days in home fashion. Fun floral pillows, flirty floral curtains, and of course, fabulous floral wallpaper! These faux flowers may not wake up your nose, but they sure will be pretty to look at scattered through your home.
#5) Open Up Your Blinds!
By far, the simplest design advice I can offer is simply to open your blinds or curtains! Maybe there’s a great view outside, or maybe there’s not. Maybe you have enough privacy, or maybe you don’t. Regardless, sunlight (and fresh air if you can crack a window as well) will do wonders for your spirit and your home . . . if you just let them inside!
Humans need and crave both sunlight and greenery! So every day, I open and close my blinds often – both with the coming and going of the daylight and the coming and going of our family. Yes, there are times of day when people can see into our lives – like when we’re eating dinner around our window-front table in the evening – and oh well, we wave and smile at the neighbors walking by. And yes – I have a couple views that I dislike, so I’ve hung sheers over those windows so I can get the shifting light without the sight. And of course, there are times of day when I need to keep out the glare or heat of the brutal Texas sun, and so then I draw the blinds or curtains tight. In general though, I let the outside in as often I can!
So go ahead – be inspired. Bring some natural elements into your home interiors. And while you’re at it – try to squeeze in some quality time outside!
What about you? Do you feel connected to nature when inside your home? Tell us about your favorite (or least favorite) view in the comments.