If you think your living room is looking less than lively, it might be time to introduce actual natural life to it. Nature and the great outdoors provide no end of inspiration for beautifying your décor, whether through natural decorations or simple inspiration. Depending on your budget and means, there are multiple ways to (almost) expose your home’s interior to the elements. To help you get started, here are several affordable ways to bring nature into your living room.
Go for the Natural Look
When picking your furnishings, stick to pieces made of materials such as wood, stone, cane, slate, wicker, and other elements that retain their original colors, markings, and other qualities. Plastic and metal look too civilized and industrial. As an example, you could go for the roughness and unique look of stone-topped, reclaimed wood or live edge slab handmade solid wood coffee tables for a combination of natural beauty and solidity. Rattan and wicker give a light, airy look to sofas, chairs, and end tables—and by extension, the rest of your living room. The possibilities are endless because nature offers so much variety!
Decorate With Nature Themes
Is there a continent, country, or any place of natural wonder and beauty you admire? Punctuate the room with knickknacks, decorations, and imagery reflecting or depicting the flora, fauna, patterns, and colors found in that place. Bring nature into your living room by incorporating things such as throw pillows, rugs, and blankets themed around nature. You could also use animal statuary, vases, coffee table books, photos, and lamps. With some beautiful candlestick holders, you could illuminate the sheen of found river stones. As a visual centerpiece, some decorators suggest having one wall host a mural depicting a realistic, romanticized, or stylized scene of a scene in nature. That could be the woods, a field, the seashore, or anywhere else.
An Indoor Garden of Eden
Houseplants are indispensable in adding color, air, atmosphere, and life to a room. Take the time to decide what plants are best for the room, depending on the amount of space and sunlight available. Also, think beyond lining them up on the floor in massive planters or simply propping them on the shelves and end tables. Ponder placing a trellis or planters on the walls. If you have an especially green thumb, consider installing a green wall of ivy or living moss. Hang plants from ceiling hooks to surround yourself with greenery and perhaps provide a little privacy, too. Ask a gardener or garden center for recommendations on low-maintenance plants, but it’s good to start with jade plants, Christmas cacti, rubber plants, palms, and ferns. You could even make a large indoor tree—such as a dragon tree or lemon tree—the focal point and surround it with smaller plants for a mini-forest look.
Let the Sunshine In
To let glorious sunlight into your home, you could build a skylight or install a picture window. This one might require a little contractor work, though. Before you make that call, see if there are ways to bring more sunlight into your living room. For example, leave the curtains open, buy curtains with sheer fabric, or eschew widow treatments altogether to let the sun pour in. Another option is to set up mirrors on the walls or throughout the house that reflect light from rooms that are more blessed with its rays. If that’s not possible, look for lamps and install LED lighting that can brighten up the place with simulated sunlight.
Take a Breath
Fresh air is one of the biggest selling points of the great outdoors, so keep the air flowing in your home. Periodically open the windows as wide as you can for as long as you can to allow in and retain that special outdoor scent. But what if you live in the city? Flowers always add a lovely fragrance to the air we breathe while converting our CO2 into oxygen. Lavender, gardenias, orchids, jasmine, and lemon balm are some great options. Workhorse plants for air refreshment including snake plant, spider plant, English ivy, aloe vera, and Chinese evergreens.
The Sweet Smell of Nature
When considering how to bring nature into your living room, don’t forget scents. Recreate nature’s bouquet with candles, incense, or an essential oil diffuser. Nothing influences memory or creates the sensation of time and place more than scent. You can find any number of aromas that would be home in a forest, by a placid pond, or somewhere in a countryside cottage. Pine, sandalwood, cinnamon, campfire, rain, petrichor, lavender, cut grass, and other earthy to fresh scents are available.
Color Your World
Time to paint! The most basic nature-reflecting choices are green, brown, and blue, recalling the green of the woods and fields, the earth, and skies and waters. Don’t be too basic, though. If you’re searching for a proper natural palette, look for a particularly lovely photo from a national or state park, remote forest, or some similar place. Computer programs are available to analyze and list the colors in the photo, which you can then bring in to have matched and mixed at your local hardware or paint store. Want to recall that feeling you had while watching the sunset over the lake? You can by framing the photo and decorating the walls, ceiling, and trim with those unforgettable colors.
Planet of Sound
If you really want to immerse yourself and your guests in the great outdoors, install hidden speakers and regale them with the sounds of nature. Nothing quite approximates being there, but thousands of recordings have been collected over the years, from around the world, by audio researchers and sound effects specialists. Now they’re available through audio streaming services. Add a new dimension to your living room with songbird calls, crashing waves, gently whispering winds, and more.
Buy a Waterfall
Not every living room can accommodate it, but indoor waterfalls can supply the gentle, calming sight and sound of trickling, tumbling water. Several models are available that are either freestanding or connected to your plumbing system. If you don’t have the means to buy your own waterfall, smaller tabletop fountains are available to set on a handmade solid wood coffee table and afford the meditative aspects of watching running water.