As an outdoors lover, you may hate the idea of being cooped up indoors — especially in the summertime. But since you can’t realistically spend all of your time outside, why not work to bring the outdoors into your home? It’s simple enough to mimic the aesthetic of the great outdoors by bringing in little natural details, from seashells and rocks to wood branches and pine cones. Follow these tips to help your interiors feel as welcoming and refreshing as your favorite outdoor destination.
Bring the sound of ocean waves into your living room.
The last time you visited the beach, you spent hours collecting shells, and now they’re just sitting in a plastic bag in your closet. Instead of hiding them away, why not display them? Sea shells, colorful sea glass, and driftwood are all common finds that will add a beachy element to your space while reminding you of your relaxing vacation. Find a vase, recycled bottle, or your favorite vintage glass bowl and artfully arrange your finds for a beautiful coastal addition to your coffee table. If you have plenty of space for other collections, try using apothecary jars or hurricane lamps in varying sizes and heights to display your shells. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can even create candles using shells—this works especially well for smaller shells and fragments.
Create a lantern shadow box for favorite finds.
Traditional shadow boxes are gorgeous to hang on your wall as art, but I love to get a bit more creative with the concept, using a large lantern to display a few favorite natural items. I placed my favorite conch shell, some pinecones and river rocks together inside of this lantern on a side table. I love that the objects can be easily swapped out with new discoveries from my outdoor adventures. This is a great little project for kids, too. They’ll be excited to add and subtract from the collection, and they’ll be thrilled to see when you add something new and unexpected.
Freshen up with fruits and vegetables.
I love keeping fruits and vegetables around the house to encourage healthy eating, but these foods also double as organic decorations! Whether placed in a pretty bowl or scattered casually on a tray, these edible arrangements lend color, texture, and sometimes even fragrance to a space. I like to keep it simple by spreading the fruit out in a random pattern, along with a few clippings of shrubbery from the yard. For a more formal arrangement, consider using sterling silver or crystal bowls to hold the food, and arange it symmetrically down the center of the dining table or along the backside of a buffet table.
Unifying your green outdoor lifestyle with your interiors is easier than you may think. If you’re not sure where to start, simply head outside and you may be surprised at how much inspiration you’ll find.
Ronique Gibson, a LEED AP certified architect and home design expert, writes on sustainability topics for Shutterfly.com. Her eco-friendly decorating ideas are inspired by the wall design options available on the Shutterfly website.
Photo Credit: Stagetecture
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.