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From peach to tangerine, orange is probably one of the most controversial colours on the colour wheel. Its stronger tones tend to provoke a love-it or hate-it response, while the subtler shades have more universal appeal.
How to get closer to nature in your interior design
Last year I was lucky enough to go on holiday to India and, in Khem Villas – a beautiful little eco-lodge in Ranthambore, I fell in love with outside bathrooms. I’m not talking about outside loos here but the luxury and complete sense of freedom of showering in your own private outdoor shower surrounded by flora and fauna! So, maybe outdoor bathrooms are never really going to catch on in the UK (unless you favour the Swedish approach of a roll in the snow after your hot shower!) but I really recommend, if you get the opportunity, of hunting down a holiday hotel or villa with an outdoor shower and I’m sure you’ll be a convert just like me!
But, in all seriousness, what are the benefits of introducing more nature in to our home environments? Barbara Stewart, a San Francisco-based architect and trained Feng Shui practitioner, says we share 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees. If zoologists, who design habitat for chimps, were to design habitat for us, what would it look like? Stewart says “A zoologist would design a place that reinforces our natural patterns and reduces stressors.” In nature, humans are used to short bursts of stress — say, running from a lion — but not the “low-level constant stress we find in modern life.” The modern world sets off stressers more frequently, which wear down our immune systems. “Stress is directly linked to all the diseases we face” so all buildings and landscapes must work to reduce this for everyone’s well-being. Pointing to well-known studies by Ulrich in the mid-80s, she said views of landscapes out of hospital windows significantly reduced the amount of pain medication needed and sped up recovery times. Then, studies conducted in the late 90s showed that even images of real or simulated nature can improve recovery times, although photos of real nature scenes work better. Also, patients with access to videos of nature — forests, flowers, oceans, waterwalls — used pain medicine less.
I don’t need convincing, I know that plants and landscape affect my well-being and calm me and, indeed, don’t most of us seek beautiful scenery when booking a holiday?
So here are 10 tips on introducing nature to your home and office environments -
1. Wallpaper a feature wall with a stunning mural wallpaper – particularly wonderful for a bathroom or maybe a study?
2. Herbs for your window ledge and get healthy to boot
3. A mirror positioned to reflect plants or trees from outside – that way you see them whether you are walking towards or away from them
4. A landscape scene piece of art that makes your heart sing – I have a beautiful image on canvas of crashing waves which reminds me of wet and wild walks with the dogs
5. Collected pebbles, driftwood, coral and shells from the beach, together with some framed photos of your favourite beach holidays
6. Natural wood accessories or furniture in their raw form
7. A water feature placed outside a patio door – it doesn’t need to be huge and can be free-standing, re-circulating into a trough, but the sound of running water is very calming
8. Get a digital photo-frame and load your favourite shots of nature to play
9. A bit radical I know – but how about some background music with birdsong and running water – well it works in spas doesn’t it?
10. And lets not forget the olfactory perception – scented candles with your favourite smells of flowers, ocean spray or herbs!
I hope that’s inspire you, but if not, take a look at these wonderful rooms at one with nature…
Let me know how you get your nature kick at home?
Bye for now,
So, 2013 is well underway and, if like me, you have run out of steam on your pledge to de-clutter and re-organise then join me in a look at some of the key trend’s for 2013 and how they can be interpreted for our interiors.
Touch – 2013 will be as much about texture as it is about colour and just as we are in for some interesting colour combinations so too will we see contrasts in our textural finishes. Think natural, tactile materials such as wood, leather and stone meets glass, steel and plastic. Woods will be light, such as beech and light oak, and we’ll see them paired with polished concrete, plastics, clear acrylics and polished steel. Look out for polished concrete floors and kitchen worktops!!
Colours – Still in uncertain times we’re looking to be distracted with things that tease our imagination. Bright colours continue their trend from 2012 but we see them becoming less saturated and teamed with neutrals such as stone, grey and off-white to create interesting and unusual colour combinations. Bronze as a colour and texture will also feature. Pantone announced their colour for 2013 is Emerald Green and their most influential colour for the year will be Monaco Blue.
Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute, director of the Eiseman Center for Colour Information and Training, and author of several books on colour, says that colours for 2013 will need to “coax and cajole, soothe or astonish, renew and replenish.” But it’s not all about colour and she predicts “earthy textures will lay a new foundation for palettes of blues and greens”.
Designers are predicting indigo will be the biggest colour trend this year and expect to see lots of grey… charcoal will be the new black (fabulous!!).
Pantone have collated 9 key colour palettes for 2013 and I’ll be taking a look at a selection over the coming weeks so watch this space!
Patterns – well, we saw geometrics hitting in 2012 and they’re here to stay for 2013. Pure geometric designs, tribal, retro botanics and vintage florals will all be big this year but expect to see them on bright white backgrounds giving lots of impact. How about trying them for an occasional chair?
Style – Mixing antique and distressed with contemporary will be a key look for 2013 giving you ample opportunity to get the ‘textural’ vibe spot on. If you’re a white wall, ‘contemporist’ then try introducing Sujiivana’s Luna Design Frames to get the look just right!
Finally, internal gardens will be huge. It goes along with the ‘textural’ and organic themes for 2013 and expect to see designers introducing planting areas in their large home and commercial designs this year. For those of us with a little less space, a great way of combining glass and garden is a Terrarium. Click on the image for a link to Wiki “how to make”.
Personally, I love the new picture walls coming to the forefront and predict big things for them this year, particularly in my dream house!
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look at what’s in store for us this year but remember, this is just the designers talking…go with what makes your heart sing and do share your thoughts!