So many of us love plants so much that at some point or other in our lives, we’ve experimented with a houseplant or a potted cacti. However, most of us have one complaint: “I don’t have a green thumb – I just can’t keep plants alive!” How sad a refrain that is! We love plants, and we want them in our house, but we can’t seem to keep them for more than a week without watching them “kick the bucket.” So what do we do if we like the outdoors, and want the outdoors in our house, but can’t seem to succeed in doing so? Below I’ve thought of several tips and tricks to bring the outdoors in without trying your hand at doctoring dainty plants on your counter.
Use wood-toned furniture. Wood comes from trees, and of course, trees are part of that beloved thing called nature that we all have a love affair with. Clean lines, light-toned, imperfect wood furniture can be very reminiscent of the outdoors. Select your light-toned furniture with knotted marks in the wood – this is very life-like. Real trees have rough edges and imperfections. So should our furniture.
Panel your ceiling. No, I’m not talking about that ancient dark wood paneling that makes us feel depressed and claustrophobic – I’m talking about paneling a ceiling with wood fresh from your local hardware store and painting it a light, airy color. (White is most common.) Lots of cottages flourish on this kind trick – somehow cottages always make us feel one with nature, and this wall and/or ceiling paneling is half the trick! It somehow makes us feel like we’re in a home built right from the organic crudeness of nature – which is, of course, the beauty of it.
Make side table out of a stump. No joke! They’re all the rage now. Get one from a neighbor, or from that dead tree that has been sitting in your yard for ages that you’ve never quite had the heart to tear down. All you need to do is sand it and seal it and, if you want to, paint it a light, fresh color. *Note: watch out for termites, however! Get a specialist to examine it before you bring that stump indoors.
Find floral patterned accents. Do you know how many different floral patterns are out on the market? From vases, to pillows, to curtains – they are everywhere! Don’t believe me? Go into stores like World Market, Pier 1 Imports, Kirklands, etc and count just how many floral patterns there are! They’ve even been popular on dinner wear since before your grandmother was born! Ferns, fall leaves, elegant flowers, playful flowers, patterns even vaguely reminiscent of flowers – they’re out there in abundance.
Make a dried flower display. These are so easy to do! Pick your favorite flowers and press them between the pages of a beloved book for a week or two, then take them out and glue them onto acid-free paper and frame them, or laminate them for decorative bookmarks. Your choice. Have fun!
Buy that $5 Bouquet from the Grocery Store. Yup! How easy is that? Those flower bunches for five dollars? They come with chemical ‘keep-me-alive-food’ that you can dump into your vase. As long as the flowers weren’t old when you bought them, they’ll stay alive at least five days on your kitchen table before they start to fade! $5 for 5 days? That’s a dollar a day! You’ll probably agree that that’s a worthy investment.
Use greens and browns and bold accent colors in your color theme. Color your room like nature, and nature will come to you. Simple as that! Simply go outside to your favorite spot, look at the grass, the sky, the bark and the dirt, the leaves on the willow tree, or the leaves on the oak tree, the blue Delphiniums or the yellow daisies, and draw your inspirations from them! Easy as pie.
Good luck with your plans!