As we finally begin to anticipate a drop in temperatures, we can look forward to the open windows and garden evenings of late summer, a time when our indoor and outdoor living spaces become one. This month, we’re looking at ways to bring the outside in with style, while preparing for the chillier months ahead.
The first option when putting together a garden-style room is always plants and, if you’re blessed with high ceilings and a large living room, embrace the idea of ‘the more, the merrier’. You can get away with an abundance of flora in all shapes and sizes and, sticking with the time-worn clichés, it can also be a case of ‘the bigger, the better’. Think ceiling-skimming Monstera in interesting pots, ignore the usual brass or plain ceramics in favour of something different, perhaps a hessian bag or aged copper-look. You don’t have to forsake the giants if your room is smaller, simply pick one large plant and then accompany it with some smaller companions. And, if you’re not keen on the hassle of caring for houseplants, you can still achieve this look using some of the very realistic synthetic options that are now widely available.
Up The Wall
Walls don’t have to be white! It’s a simple statement but one so many of us forget, particularly if living in a rental property. At the base level, go for a painted feature wall. For this scheme, anything from teal to a rich dark green would be perfect and, if you go for a plain painted wall, it’s the ideal space to showcase some gorgeous pale artwork. One big picture works really well but a large wall will also welcome a series of smaller prints or even 3D pieces grouped together. Step it up a notch and choose one of the many stunning wallpapers that are around at the moment such as Madagascar Leaves from Boråstapeter, Kejsarkrona by Arne Jacobsen or Protea by Emma J Shipley. With fantastical designs like these, it’s tempting to leave the wall space to do the talking but don’t be shy of placing selected pieces of furniture close by such as metallic or painted shelving to add a slightly industrial feel. Go all out and commission your own mural. This is not as hard as it sounds since local artists are often more than willing and very able to interpret your ideas, from a simple floral pattern to a full-on statement piece. The result will be stunning and truly exclusive. Or, if you really want to bring the garden into your living space, look into constructing a living wall. You’ll spot these in restaurants and hotels but there is no reason they can’t be adapted for an individual space.
Warm It Up
As the months progress, we’re likely to feel the need to warm the atmosphere at little. It’s a great excuse to shop for luxurious throws and pillows in eco-friendly wool, angora, cashmere, heavyweight crushed velvet or even faux fur. If your furniture has a bold pattern, it’s best to keep these plain and classy and choose colours to either tone with or contrast to your feature wall. However, if your main furniture pieces are plain then you have the choice of either simple block colours or patterned options. You can either drape them over the back of the furniture or fold neatly in a welcoming pile in a basket but whatever you choose, remember these are accent pieces, don’t let them takeover the room.
The Fun Factor
Yes, we appreciate the ethos of high design and recognise its appropriateness in formal settings. But, for a family home, there’s always room for a little fun. Try one of these fabulous hippos and you’ll be adding a unique piece to your home (each one is different) at the same time as doing some good. They’re made from discarded flip-flops by Ocean Sole, a Kenyan social enterprise project that removes trash from the oceans and coastlines and makes art to support marine conservation, while creating employment. This scheme also lends itself to a touch of steampunk sassiness, so why not add some industrial-inspired pure cheek. This lamp is a handmade, upcycled creation but there are plenty of options available from lighting and design stores.