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The lighter side of nature-inspired home decor

July 23, 2009

If the words “nature-inspired decor” make you think of muted wall hues or overwrought floral fabrics, it’s time to rethink your take on this hot design trend.
Nature-inspired design can certainly be soothing, sedate and traditional, but a plethora of new products and techniques is also bringing the bold, bright and fun side of nature indoors. Whether it’s a throw pillow that looks like birch bark or a full wall mural of green bamboo, nature’s brighter side is spicing up modern American decor.
If you’re looking for fun, funky ways to bring the brighter side of nature-inspired design into your home, here are a few ideas and items to look for:
‘Woodn’t’ it be good…
Wood has been a beloved design element in home interiors for centuries. But you don’t have to invest in expensive hardwood floors or put up with dated wall paneling to enjoy wood’s rich beauty in your decor. Logs are the latest, and not just in log homes.
From glass tabletops perched delicately atop natural twig and branch bases, or a faux wood-grained area rug to plush throw pillows in fabric that mimics the grain of natural wood, you’re barking up the right tree by incorporating the look of log into your decor.
You don’t have to spend a dime to bring this trendy yet timeless material into your home, either. Simply take a stroll in the woods, gather some eye-catching branches, bring them home, tie with your favorite colored ribbon and use them as an accent piece above mantles, windows or doorways.
Way to do a wall
Wall murals have been around for thousands of years, and the latest twist on nature-inspired murals is bold. Forget the walls of idyllic woodland scenes that were ubiquitous during the 1970s. Modern nature-inspired murals amplify the graphic qualities and bright hues found when you take a closer look at Mother Nature’s artistry.
Zoomed-in close-ups of a pebble-filled beach, bright green bamboo stalks and graceful birch trunks turn familiar natural scenes into graphic design elements that emphasize color and pattern. Each look adds a unique touch of nature-inspired drama to a room’s design. You’ll find all three murals for just $99 at www.DecorPlace.com, which sells easy-to-install wallpaper murals.
Whimsy away
Some nature-inspired decor is anything but serious. From parchment votive holders made out of real vegetables (at www.vivaterra.com) to lamps that resemble a tumble of glossy stones (www.stonecreationsonline.com), it’s easy to find the fun side of nature-inspired accessories.
Made slice by slice from fresh produce, sculptor Margaret Dorfman presses veggies into durable parchment, then fashions them into flower shapes to create inventive votive holders.
Bamboo is another versatile material that’s finding fun applications in American homes. A serene stand of miniature bamboo shoots elegantly displayed on a coffee table is a perfect foil to the vibrant, joyful color of a bamboo wall mural. A spritely bamboo window film (www.Amazon.com) can balance the rich, practical presence of bamboo flooring.
Americans’ continuing interest in the environment and eco-friendly living is sure to keep the nature-inspired home decor movement going strong. Colorful, whimsical decorator items that remind us of Mother Nature’s sense of humor are finding their place beside the more serene staples of this decorating trend.

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