Back to nature: interior designs inspired by leafy plants and botanicals

Posted 23 November 2015 by Keith Osborne

The shapes and hues of the natural world generate some wonderful interior design ideas for your new home...

The classic children's tale, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, has at its heart a passion for plants and flowers and its happy ending is the result of nature's own healing power. 

Nature's beauty is the inspiration behind the elegant and evocative botanicals trend and its leaf, plant and flower inspired results offer tranquility and the chance to escape to an enchanted garden of our own, but expressed through interior design. 

It is not an eclectic bohemian style, but a more formal take on the study of plant life, influenced by detailed, historical plates showing flora and fauna in incredible detail.  The appeal of these beautiful artworks lies in the intricate skill and attention to detail shown by the artists. Their delicacy has a reassuring quality, which has been translated into a stunning choice of bold floral patterns, prints, wallcoverings, accessories and fabrics for the home. 

BotanicalsThere are many sumptuous big, bold floral- and leaf-patterned wallpapers to choose from and, depending on your room's dimensions, you can either paper a single feature wall or an entire room.  

Cushions with large single motifs, featuring birds or insects, look stunning against plain cream sofas or chairs. Or use an oversized piece of art to make a statement and add to its impact with a supporting cast of plants in pots. This creates the effect of an indoor greenhouse, which is a great solution if you don't have a garden or access to a real greenhouse. 

Olive greens and sages are a primary colour source for the botanicals look, but additional colours include graphite grey, almond, seaglass greeny-blue, heather, amber, emerald and mint. 

Texture plays a strong role and you can afford to try different layers, including silks and linens, velvets and fabrics shot through with metallic threads. Printed patterns featuring leaves and feathers and a wild mixture of foliage, in mono as well as full colour, can be mixed with plains, to avoid leafy overkill.   

Don't forget that what you use underfoot can make a significant difference to the feel of a scheme. Try contrasts such as rich, dark mahogany coloured floorboards with a botanical influenced patterned rug over the top.

For added impact, pick out the main colour from the rug and match it as closely as possible to a paint colour to create a feature wall. Add scatter cushions in similar tones, framed botanical prints and some potted plants, and the result will be a restful scheme that brings nature indoors.    

 

Captions: 

1 19th-century orchid hunters and walks through woods and gardens is captured in the Palmetto collection of prints, weaves and wallcoverings, www.harlequin.uk.com 

2 Shabby chic with a botanical twist - rustic wooden Carte Postale tray with birds and butterflies, www.livelaughlove.co.uk 

3 Inspired by an 18th-century French design, this elegant botanical wallpaper features delicate watercolour flowers, www.shop.miltonandking.com 

4 Make a statement with these gorgeous birds of paradise cushions, £26, www.rigbyandmac.com 

5  The feather motif of this white and green upholstery fabric also looks like a leaf. It is beautifully soft and light and was inspired by the seaside and summer, Iggy armchair in Feathers white and green £720, Iggy two-seat sofa £1,180, www.sofa.com 

6 Botanical prints are part of the inspiration for the current leafy design trend, vintage-style Orchid prints with mirrored frames, £325, set of six, www.thefarthing.co.uk   

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