Bringing the outdoors indoors

What better time than summer to think about letting some light into your home? The long, bright days offer the perfect opportunity to think about some simple ways to freshen up your living space by bringing the outdoors indoors.

While plants are the obvious way to do this, you don't have to have half a forest in your home to give it that outdoor feel. With a bit of creativity you can create a calming sanctuary inspired by nature.

Start with your colour scheme. Earthy green and brown shades are big this summer. Some cushions in lovely shades of emerald, moss, forest, or mint green look great against a brown or cream sofa background. For a really summery colour scheme try yellows to bring some sunshine indoors, while creams and whites combined with stone greys and soft browns give that fresh, clean, outdoor feeling to remind you of relaxing days on the beach.

Floral prints are everywhere at the moment. Whether you prefer a country garden, oriental blossom, or tropical style, there are endless fabrics and styles to choose from. Pretty pastels in blue and pink are popular — think Cath Kidston's signature style. However you should be careful not to overdo it — these prints are perfect for accessories such as throws, cushions, storage boxes, bunting, and teapots, but can be a bit much on larger items of furniture or wallpaper. While a certain amount of clashing prints can work well, try not to get too carried away.

Another way of creating that outdoor feeling is through the use of texture. Keep wood as natural as possible — there is plenty of furniture available with a shabby or distressed finish for a rustic, vintage, look. Wicker and bamboo can make great statement pieces, while stones, pebbles, and seashells can be used as features which will be calming to the eye.

Above all, let the light in. Natural light is the best way to bring the outdoors into your home. Make sure curtains are made of a light fabric and are not blocking off too much of your windows — use curtain ties to keep them out of the way during the day. Do not block windows with large items of furniture, and use bright, light, colours to help reflect natural light around the room.

Another way to enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of your home is to ensure you have a nice view of your garden to look out on — but that's another day's work altogether.



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