5 ways to invite the outdoors in
Words: Cayleigh Bright | Photography: Frances Marais | Styling: Charl Edwards
There are many ways to achieve a back-to-nature effect indoors, and in recent years the go-to option has been a retro-inspired indoor jungle, and before that nods to the world of log cabins and hiking. Less ‘comfortable cottage in the woods’ and more ‘post-apocalyptic, but make it cosy’, the Naturalist trend gives the impression of an indoor world created to maintain serenity despite anything happening on the other side of your walls. Whether or not you’re planning a season of hibernation, bringing organic touches to your home ensures that your time spent indoors will be a little more laidback.
If your space allows, this is a good time to go without curtains entirely – letting in natural light is key to achieving the look of a space that came about organically rather than being overstyled. If that’s not an option due to nosy neighbours or early morning light in your sleeping eyes, then consider floaty, filmy options or a texture that adds something to the space even when closed, but allows afternoon light in. When it comes to light fittings, choose minimal metal or wood, with exposed bulbs that’ll warm your winter evenings.
It’s time to put the spotlight on unfinished surfaces that you’d have gone to great pains to hide in the past. If you’re renting or moving into a well-maintained older home, of course, there aren’t likely to be many rough edges to go around, so you can incorporate your own. Bricks and breezeblocks can be piled up to create furniture for an outdoor-meets-industrial feel, while older wooden pieces can be piled with driftwood to contrast, highlight and create a new take on a beloved texture.
Tough texture is cuddlier than you think. When you’re choosing soft furnishings, think about how long you’ll be keeping them – couches are a long-term investment, rugs should last a few years at least, while cushions could just be kept for a few seasons – and shop accordingly. Grab a spray-on fabric protector from hardware stores for under R100 and prepare your lounge to last even longer, and consider thicker but still easy-to-wash textures for your bedding if you’re prone to coffee spills. Simple metal storage and wooden furniture complete the look.
From embroidery to woven baskets, handmade textures add personality and warmth. Terracotta textures and pottery look good whether you buy them online, browse second-hand stores or make them yourself. Woven pieces and wicker needn’t look old-fashioned when they’re positioned in an unfussy, distinctly modern interior, or placed alongside reclaimed wood in its natural state.
Whatever your plant preference, you’ve got to add some greenery to get the full effect of an interior inspired by nature. In a cool, collected space, succulents add a touch of life that requires little care, so don’t stop with the one you were given as a gift last birthday: visit your nursery to find all shapes and sizes of these water-wise friends. If you’re adept at keeping leafy things alive, by all means branch out to fiddle-leaf figs and delicious monsters. If you’re really, really not, cuttings from pretty plants make for an original variation on a bunch of flowers.