Well, summer is supposed to be nearing, but looking out the window it’s hard to believe that. Summer is the time to be outside. It conjures images of lush green grass, laughter, brightness and frolicking (interpret that how you may…) It’s hardly surprising then, as we are trapped indoors by the rain, that there is an increasing trend of trying to bring the outside indoors.
Rather than being an interior design style unto itself, it is more of a theme or feature of a few existing styles. It is prominent in minimalist design, a blog talking about this can be found here. It can also be found in rustic interiors, many of which use reclaimed materials for decoration as well as practical purposes. One example of this is a recent trend to use wooden sinks. It can also be seen frequently in beach hut style interiors, often using driftwood for decoration.
The idea of bringing the outside in can be interpreted in a couple of ways. The first and most obvious interpretation is using materials typically found outside, inside. Wood is of course used all the time in the home, but in this context it is typically left in a more untreated or natural looking state. The same goes for stone and rocks. Wrought Iron and tool steel can also be used for this: old used tools make for interesting decorations with a lot of character.
The second part of this design idea is the merging of the inside and out. This is achieved by using large windows and big patio doors leading to the garden. This quite literally makes the transition between inside and out less obvious. You can also create this in a subtle illusion by using paint tones and shades often seen outside. Dark greens, light yellows, blues and browns work well for this.
It has been done since before time began, but using plants and flowers as decoration is another aspect of bringing the outside in. When talked about in this context however it is typically envisaged that a large quantity of foliage is used, or perhaps even wood, twigs and branches as opposed to the standard flower-in-vase arrangement.
Here are a few tips to help bring the outside into your home.
Reclaim some driftwood – This can be found all over, and is usually free. Beaches are obviously the ideal location to score a nice piece, but it is a common hunting ground so you’ll have to be quick. Driftwood can be used as either decoration or can even be used as a functional piece of furniture.
Decorate with Iron – Old tools are easy to reclaim from scrap yards, farmhouses, markets, car boot sales and antique shops. Wrought iron curtain poles and accessories have a similar effect, or can accentuate the existing decorations.
Use a large amount of plants and foliage – This is a rather obvious and easy way to achieve bringing the outside in. There are even occasions of homes being built around a tree, ingratiating it into the architecture. Or, providing enough light and hydration are available, it is possible to grow trees indoors. There is a growing trend of living green walls: an entire wall that has a carpet of plants and mosses that lives and grows inside the house.
Use Pallets – Along a similar vein to reclaiming driftwood, pallets can be used as very functional pieces of furniture. There is an entire culture built around pallet furniture. It emphasises upcycling as well as aesthetically pleasing furniture. There is the obvious use of wood here, but also typically pallets are associated with the outside, with work yards and factories, so bringing them inside is an interesting juxtaposition.
Use softer, more natural materials – Rattan, hemp and wicker are all natural materials that add texture to the home. The good thing about these materials is that they are readily available and not too costly. Natural Wood flooring, depending on the colour of the wood, can have a startling effect on the appearance of your home and it is relatively simple to do.
Minimalise the transition between inside and out – This obviously requires a bit more building work than the other tips, but large windows and patio doors leading straight onto the garden have a profound effect on the way a house looks and feels.