If you let it, nature inspired décor can be very predictable. “…use muted shades of green and brown and neutrals like beige as they mimic well the great outdoors… flower patterned wallpaper is a great complement to this kind of décor… when looking for accessories, a wildlife theme is a great way to go...”
It’s almost too obvious that when choosing to go “naturesque” (I know that’s not a real word but I find that in this case it works better than natural) that’s the path most people will take. So how do you avoid being predictable?
If you want to be inspired by nature, try and see beyond the obvious greens, browns and splashes of colour.
Rather than looking at nature as a whole, look at the things that make up nature individually and see what you can pick from them. Here are a few things to get you started thinking outside the box.
The sky at sunset is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking sights of nature, and the graduating shades of colour are without a doubt the reason.
Other things like autumn leaves (I know we don’t have autumn in Kenya but try and work with me) and flowers like the morning glory are also other great examples of gradient in nature.
Gradient is an effect you can apply to your home décor and it will definitely have a greater impact than hanging a painting of a sunset.
You can use fabric that has a gradient to upholster or make drapes, or have a professional painter create a gradient effect on your walls with white and another colour or with two or three colours that lie next to each other on the colour wheel.
When using gradient vertically, let the colours graduate downwards from light to dark.
This may seem like one of the obvious choices I mentioned earlier, but the fact that a lot of people have either not been brave enough to let this print into their houses or have tried without much success (and by this I mean that the result has caused a few wide-eyed speechless reactions) has earned it the right to appear here. Unlike in nature, where zebra and leopard prints are harmonious (the animals themselves not so much), the effect might not be quite so appealing in your home. Keep it simple by using animal prints in moderation.
Rugs, throw pillows, small areas of upholstery (like dining chair seats), and lamp shades will add visual texture and create interest without being overwhelming.
If you’re not sure about how to mix prints, use one print in different colour combinations to tie it together.
Nature is full of texture, both tactile and visual — tree barks, grass, rocks, sand and water all have varying degrees of texture and adds to the visual appeal.
Use different materials to vary texture in your home. Mix glass with wood, smooth walls with textured walls, satin with suede... to avoid a visual plane of “dull”.
Even where you would rather just use wood, for example, that it should be in a smooth glossy finish is not written in stone. If anything, a weathered or textured finish is more “naturesque”.
Clouds make what would otherwise be a plain blue sky interesting. How?
Think about how many times you’ve looked up at the sky on a sunny day (really cloudy days tend to only inspire gloom) and seen the shape of something completely random in a cloud (if you have no idea what I’m talking about you really need to live a little and get your imagination going; if you think that it’s ludicrous to even suggest that you take precious minutes out of your busy day to stare up at the sky on the off chance that you’ll make out some obscure figure from a floating “tuft of cotton wool” then I apologise, you’ll just have to take my word for it).
What I’m trying to say is that creating visual interest on your ceiling will go a long way. Whether you use a different colour besides white for your ceiling, or a textured finish, do something that will give you a reason to look up.
If you think about it, nothing in nature ever seems “off”. Except for the rare oddity like Kituluni Hill (an anti-gravity hill definitely takes the crown), aesthetically, everything seems like that’s where it’s supposed to be.
Even the lone baobab tree standing in open lands that seem to go on for miles doesn’t look out of place.
And I suppose that’s why nature is often described as serene — there is harmony and balance.
When it comes to your décor, a room without balance or harmony can make its inhabitants feel uncomfortable and anxious.
Balance isn’t only visual but also about the feelings a space evokes, and so creating balance in a room means that nothing feels weird, lopsided or unstable.
Don’t crowd spaces or leave a side of the room bare, and when it comes to colour, sharing is caring (spread it rather than concentrate it in one place).
If it doesn’t feel right it probably doesn’t look right either.
The heart of Nature soothes the heart of man,
If with his heart he looks into her eyes.
A place of leaves, wide air, and sunny skies,
Will soothe him more than even woman can. — William Wilsey Martin