When referring to the outdoors one concept comes to mind – natural, nature and the colours green and blue. Outdoor elements like the sky, water, earth and grass, for example, have a distinct psychological effect on us as humans.
The sky and water creates a feeling of refreshment and tranquility. While connecting to the earth and green plants instantly helps us experience calmness and relaxation. No surprise then, that the colours green and blue are directly connected to life!
So how do we invite these elements, and related peace and tranquility, into our homes?
Recently the concept “bringing the outdoors in” has made a big impact on the design and decorating society. The focus is on creating an environment or home that is more nature orientated. When following this trend the decorator or designer has the natural world in mind.
Architects, interior designers and interior decorators are changing the transition between outdoors and indoors by using these design concepts to bring the outdoors in.
With this said the interior of a home does not end at the front and back door of a house; the outdoors must be viewed as an extension of the home and a lot of homeowners are looking for inspiration from nature to create a space that welcomes the outdoors.
The best alternative to man-made flooring finishes are, wood, bamboo and cork flooring materials. These natural materials feel more inviting and warmer than a tiled floor. Cork flooring is much softer under the foot than normal tile flooring – this kind of flooring can be used in rooms where you are on your feet a lot, for example your kitchen, as it can withstand regular traffic.
See colours taken from nature as your go-to
When thinking to the colour green, the first thing that comes to mind is plants and the earth. The same for blue where a person instantly sees images of calming water, wide expansive skies and the ocean. Yellow is seen as happiness and reminds us of the sun and fresh flowers.
Natural monotones are colours like beiges, tans and browns and contribute to a more harmonious and relaxing environment in an interior space.
These natural monotones would more likely be used as walling, ceiling and flooring finishes and the blue and green brights can be used as a splash of colour that creates interest in the interior space.
Natural palettes give you a lot more flexibility; scatter cushions and lampshades are easily changed on a regular basis, and would not be as costly as having to replace a colourful couch.
Use natural patterns, textures and fibres in an interior space
Botanical obsession or Jungle fever refers to elements of nature that are used or printed on fabric. For example, the trend of printing fern leaves, delicious monster plant leaves and botanical prints like flowers. Furthermore, natural textures are seen as tactile and are created by the use of wicker, rattan, jute, silk and wool.
When thinking about decorating your own space you can achieve this look by using woven baskets, jute or coir rugs, wicker furniture pieces and wool throws.
Don’t ignore any of the senses
A relaxed feeling of being immersed in nature is achieved through engagement of all senses. Use sounds of the ocean, wind and rain to bring you that much closer to nature, while the use of incense sticks, for example woodsy, floral and linen fragrances, can be used to trigger the sense of smell.
Use elements that are found in nature in your interiors
The use of paintings and images of botanicals, florals, trees and seascapes can contribute to bringing the outdoors within. Using fabrics with printed leaves and fruits will also enhance the feeling of nature in your interior space. If you are more daring in your interiors these printed fabrics can be used for upholstery fabrics or even for table cloths.
The more conservative way of using these fabrics is by using elements of botanicals in your scatter cushions or lampshades.
Other elements like shells, beach sand in jars and driftwood can be used as accessories that emphasise nature in your home.
Beautiful wallpapers are another way of using natural elements indoors. Look out for prints of plants that create the illusion of the interior wall of your space being the start of your own endless forest.
Let natural light in
The outdoors can be invited into your interior space by replacing heavy curtains with light and airy curtains or sheer voiles with very light-weight linings, if any. This creates a feeling of openness and more of the natural elements of nature can be viewed through the window. Furthermore use fabrics with botanical prints and florals that will be seen as an “introduction” to the outdoors starting with the indoors.
Celebrate the tropics and decorate with fruits and vegetables
As mentioned previously these elements of the “tropical” and “vegetable” look and feel can be achieved by using fabrics that have printed fruits, such as pineapples and printed vegetables, for example, that are mainly used in kitchens and dining rooms.
Another option is to use actual fruits and herbs to decorate your coffee and dining room tables. This not only creates a feeling of being connected to nature but also leaves the space smelling beautifully.
Windows are the eyes to the soul; the view must always be attractive
Neatness and structure of an interior space cannot function independently of the outside. The view that you look onto through the windows must always be attractive. It is therefore important to have a neat and structured garden. No overgrown bushes and unattractive structures or objects, such as rubbish bins, blocking the view.
As a consumer I always try and use eco-friendly products on a daily basis. Nowadays there is a wide variety of green products on the market, ranging from towels, bedding and cleaning materials to wall paints.
There is also quite a lot of focus on recycling or the so-called “upcycling”. In the context of the furniture manufacturing industry, upcycling refers to the reuse of products or items so that the “new” items have higher value or standard than the original item or product. For example, the above ammunition box that has been upcycled to a storage ottoman on wheels
Who is Spiandi Dickson?
Spiandi Dickson is an interior decorator with years of experience and a keen eye for style. She is a part-time lecturer at Inscape Design Company and runs her own system-driven interior design company – Cotton and Yarn Interiors.
She has this to say about her business: “At Cotton and Yarn Interiors we like to work with structure and keenly take note of attention to detail and the delivery of superb quality and customer service. To us quality and superb productivity standards are vitally important. There is a follow-up process that ensures consistency and accuracy of all aspects. Cotton & Yarn Interiors is deadline driven and always prioritise client jobs in terms of urgency.”