"Bringing the outdoors in" is now all about enhancing your best views. All you have to do is imagine that your garden, back yard, and the views beyond are part of your home, minus the walls and doors, of course.
Bigger, better windows
Improving your windows make your views clearer. Low-e coatings on window glass prevent heat and ultra-violet rays from passing through glass. According to www.bobvila.com, low-e coatings mean your rooms will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer, plus your window treatments, upholstery fabrics and carpets won't fade and degrade nearly as much.
Using Energy Star windows means that you can open the windows with lighter curtains and sheers, plus you can now expand the size of your windows without compromising on energy bills. There are even tax incentives to using Energy Star rated windows.
Outdoor colors for indoor ambiance
Your garden and lawn have wonderful palettes of greens, blue, and other colors to choose from. By bringing these colors indoors, the outdoors becomes a natural extension of your home's decor.
Paint your walls one of the dominant neutral shades of your region, such as deep green with white trim for a forested area, or a warm gold or sandstone to complement a sunny southwest location. If you have a rose garden, repeating the reds, yellows, pinks and fuschias in a fabric or decorative accent can bring your favorite flower indoors.
"Going green" is a very big theme in decorating and the colors of grass, tree trunks, flowers, bushes and foliage are usually soothing colors to live with. Natural materials balance our electronic lifestyle, warming rooms with entertainment centers and other electronics.
Bring plants indoors
The lush accent of green plants is beneficial to your health, as plants clean and humidify the air you breathe. Lighting is important if your houseplants don't have access to the sun. Choose plants that require low lighting such as palm tree, Chinese evergreens, rubber trees, ferns and ivy.
Repeat your outdoor plantings of geraniums, impatiens, or hydrangeas with beautiful arrangements of these flowers in your favorite vases and bowls. Double check that any plants you bring in are non-toxic to children and pets.
Use natural scents
Many outdoor plants will waft their fragrance into the house. Chinese cherry trees, peonies, verbena, lavender, roses and honeysuckle are strongly scented plants. Instead of using fragrance sprays with artificial ingredients, scent your home with boiled cinnamon and cloves.
Bring the casual look of outdoor furniture indoors
Patio furniture has come a long way, and rivals breakfast room and den furniture for charm and practicality. The light, open weaves and leaf patterns of wrought iron patio furniture look great in a kitchen or breakfast room, and you can embellish the seating with custom cushions. New rattans and natural fabrics lend an outdoor feel to furniture to and remind you of sunny days at the beach or lake.
For continuity, tile your breakfast room with the same outdoor tile as the patio. Soften the room with a natural fiber rug such as bamboo, jute, sisal, sea-grass, and mountain grass.
It's easy to bring the outdoors in - just think natural and think green.