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Bringing the Outside In - April 2018

Whilst it’s been having a bit of a confidence wobble, Spring finally seems up for its big reveal. Bulbs are sprouting, lambs are bouncing and temperatures are (kind of!!) rising. It feels great at last to be spending more time outside in the fresh air, but this is the UK,and long balmy days and nights spent outside are still a long way off / a totally abstract notion. It therefore makes sense for us to find ways of bringing elements of our outside space inside so we can enjoy them for longer. Here are some of my tips for getting that ‘outside in’ feeling:

 

USE FLOWERS & FOLIAGE

Ok, it's an obvious one but no list of tips for achieving outside inside could be without it. Combine a few branches of faux blossom (there are loads of places you can pick up fantastic versions, such as Neptune, Oka, Abigail Ahern) with branches of fluffy catkins and eucalyptus leaves for an abundant but inexpensive display that will last all through spring. To get the most impact from your display, place it on a hall console, dining table, kitchen island or coffee table so it grabs your attention as you walk in the room. Positioned on a console table in front of a large mirror, your display will double in size and impact without doubling in price. Result!

For a cohesive little hit of colour and waft of springtime scent as you move from room to room, pick up bunches of inexpensive daffodils or tulips, pop single stems in small vases and bottles and  dot them throughout the house, on occasional tables, shelves, bedside cabinets, by the kitchen sink, by the bath………everywhere!

 

BRING OUTSIDE STUFF INSIDE

Another tip is to literally bring items that have been designed for outside, inside.  Kit Kemp, Co-owner and Design Director for Firmdale Hotels, is a great advocate and dedicates a whole chapter of her book A Living Space to this concept. Below are images of the entrance lobbies to two hotels within the Firmdale Hotel Group, showing her use of outside benches and statues to create an unexpected and exciting element to an indoor scheme and cleverly linking the outside and inside worlds as you enter or leave each hotel.  

Alternatively, incorporate actual elements of the natural world into your design. A rustic pebble floor or a table top of shells set in resin in a coastal scheme, or a feather lampshade in a country setting will bring texture and a layer of interest to your interior space whilst providing a tactile reminder of the great outdoors. 

 

EMBRACE WEATHERED & WORN

The other benefit of bringing items from the outside inside, is all that character they carry from the ravages of weather. Wood gnarls and fades, stone statues and pots become lichen and moss covered and metal rusts and flakes. That changeable British weather can be in our favour for a change!! I’ve been known to buy cheap painted lanterns and leave them outside to rust, warp and peel and to place new fabric outside to become sun-bleached before being used for projects. A mossy stone frog discovered buried in my garden now takes pride of place on a display table next to doors leading outside. The battle scars of weather on furniture and accessories shows a passage of time that creates detail, a story, an extra layer of interest.

The perceived story attached to a weather battered item can bring depth and soul to an immaculately finished space. Just imagine the faded grandeur of this ornate garden bench positioned in a hallway on a pale stone or wood floor against a smooth pale grey (or very dark for contrast) wall with this hardwearing and punchy Peruvian Frazada cushion sitting on top.

 

USE NATURAL MATERIALS

Our choice of materials for decorating our interiors can also go a long way to bringing us closer to nature during our time spent indoors. It’s no surprise many of the most popular floor coverings (stone, wood, sisal) and soft furnishing fabrics (linen, wool, cotton, cashmere, silk) are derived from natural materials. There is something about being surrounded by natural finishes and fabrics that creates an ambience of sumptuous comfort that really cocoons us. A big squidgy armchair simply upholstered in natural linen and positioned by a window can be all that’s really needed to help us feel the benefits of the outside world whilst sheltering indoors from heavy spring showers. Of course, a glass (bottle) of wine and a good book can only work to enhance the scenario.

I hope you've enjoyed these tips. If you have an interiors project and would like to discuss ideas for incorporating elements of the outside and some character please do get in touch.  

 

Images taken from Juliette Moon Interiors, Pinterest, Google and Etsy.