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How to bring the outside in: 11 decor ideas

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Olivia Lowry
How to bring the outside in: 11 decor ideas

What does time spent in nature look like for you? Is it a local park, a favourite hiking spot or your own garden? In this blog post we’re having a look at ways you can bring that feeling of the outdoors in, even if you don’t have much of a private outdoor space. Expect tips about colours, houseplants, layouts and even how something as simple as changing up your candles can bring a sense of the outdoors in.

Why is nature important for our well-being?

This topic’s been well covered, with plenty of scientific studies confirming how closely we’re connected to nature as humans. Spending time in nature and bringing elements of it into our indoor spaces has been shown to reduce stress and enhance our mood - both of which are pretty important to living a happy life. 

In this blog we’re taking inspiration from the outdoors so you can reap the benefits that an outdoors/indoors concept has to offer.

1. Style with seasonal flowers

Connecting with nature is all about seasonality (if cooking’s your thing, you’ll know this). Bring a sense of the outdoors in by decorating your space with seasonal, locally-grown flowers. In the UK we’re spoilt for choice with flowers and seasons change fast. Spring’s all about tulips and daffodils, and summer brings peonies and sunflowers. Switch up your stems weekly for a fresher ‘outdoor’ feel.

2. Use outdoor-inspired art

Let’s face it - you’re unlikely to have jaw-dropping views from your flat’s balcony (and if you do, we’re jealous). Living and working in cities means we’re not seeing natural landscapes as often. If the view from your place is more car park than countryside, use artwork to create a visual connection with nature. Choose large landscape prints and hang them where they can be seen daily.

3. Don’t forget about fragrances

Don’t underestimate the impact scents can have when you’re trying to bring a sense of the outdoors in. Take inspiration from flowers, plants and summer to choose fragrances that change with the seasons. If florals are your thing, choose candles made with freesia, jasmine or rose. Citrus scent combinations like basil and mandarin work well to bring that outdoor feeling inside year-round.

4. Introduce indoor trees

Image: Patch Plants

Large plants are great, but we’re seeing indoor trees taking over in the interiors world. Choose the tallest potted trees your space will allow - the extra height helps to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors. Create a relaxing orangery-style feel with lemon trees, or go Mediterranean with olive trees. Style these by creating a statement corner, or use them to border windows and French doors.

5. Recreate an alfresco dining vibe

Image: Pinterest

Bring the outdoors in with clever dining table styling. Everyone loves an alfresco moment, and it’s easy to recreate inside. The key here is to keep it relaxed. Decorate your table with linen tablecloths, wooden serving bowls and small flower arrangements or plants. This type of setup is ideal for laidback evenings - the type where small plates are shared. Think of a beach-side restaurant vibe and you’re halfway there.

6. Choose natural textures

Layering natural textures is really big in interiors this year, and for good reason. Wooden floors, stone accents and natural fabrics all play their part in making spaces feel relaxed and inviting. Bring an organic feel to your space by using natural materials in neutral colours. Try jute and wool rugs, coffee tables in marble and wood, and make use of woven fabrics like linen and cotton.

7. Go for green decor

Colour’s really important for well-being, and green comes up repeatedly as one of the most calming options. Give a nod to nature with a combination of decor and furniture in colours like Vine, Sage and Fern. Choose to bring green in with small details like table lamps and coasters, or go all-out with this colour for sofas and walls.

8. Decorate walls with hanging plants

Indoor plants are more than just a styling choice -  they’ve got plenty of well-being benefits. Style your space with them and you’ll get improved air quality as a bonus. Decorate your walls with hanging plants that trail down for a tropical feel. Create a feature wall with plants at different heights, or use a shelf for a more uniform look. If you’re new to plant care, choose easier plants like pothos which don’t need tonnes of attention.

9. Mirror your materials

Image: Pinterest

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, consider mirroring materials. The most common way to do this is by using the same flooring inside a room as outside. Try this concept with patios and balconies to help blur the border between the outside and inside. Once windows and doors are opened, mirrored materials will make your inside space feel like the outdoors by removing that visual separation between the two. Clever, right?

10. Create your own view

Image: Pinterest

Bringing the outdoors in isn’t just about interiors. Encourage bees, butterflies and other pollinators to visit your windowsills by planting flowers close by and in view. Being surrounded by nature is important for well-being, so it’s a good idea to do everything you can to bring that a little bit closer to your living space - even if that means hanging something as simple as a bird feeder on your apartment balcony. Think of your windows as picture frames and create a plant-filled outdoor space that allows you to curate your own view.

11. Pick natural fabrics

Fabrics have a lot to do with how interiors feel, so choose them wisely. If you’re trying to keep a room feeling fresh, choose the right fabrics for things like sofas, chairs, throws and cushions. Style your space with a combination of naturally-derived materials like linen, cotton, jute and wool for a relaxed outdoor feel.


What does ‘bringing the outside in’ actually mean?

You’ll hear this phrase used in interior guides a lot. In simple terms, it means making sure that there’s a view from the inside of a home to the outside. Design-wise, it’s about making the inside of a home feel open, airy, bright and filled with life.

How do you make indoors feel like outdoors?

  • Hang houseplants from walls and ceilings.
  • Decorate with an earthy colour palette. 
  • Choose natural materials like wood and cork. 
  • Get an indoor tree or large plant. 
  • Use natural home fragrances.
  • Keep windows uncovered for extra light.

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