Bringing Outdoor Freshness In
As summer winds down and the fall chill picks up, you begrudgingly cover up the grill and patio furniture and kiss it all goodbye for a while. If only you could bring a little of the summer in with you . . .
Actually, there are plenty of designers who are on the same page as you. More and more designs are bringing in elements of nature to interior design that make it a bit less difficult to leave outdoor living behind.
Let your indoor and outdoor design get acquainted and begin to blur the traditional lines. Here’s how.
Windows and Skylights
One of the reasons you love the outdoors so much is all that light. It wakes you up and enriches your soul. Get more light into your home with larger windows and skylights. Larger windows not only let in more light, but allow you to see out into nature around your home.
Many home designs employ floor to ceiling windows for a glass wall feel that lets you enjoy that winter scene or watch the coming of spring almost as if you were out in it.
Traditional skylights let in the light from above so you can naturally light your home. If logistics (like trusses and wiring in the attic) make it difficult to get natural light where you want it most, check into tubular skylights that essentially pipe the light right to where you want it. These flexible tubes make skylights possible in seemingly impossible situations.
While you’re contemplating windows, make sure to think about the best views your property offers. A big picture window facing the street is not nearly as calming as a big window facing the stand of trees on the side of the house.
Optimize window placement so you can see the best of nature just outside the four walls of your home.
Step aside house plants, we’re taking it to a whole different level. A little bit of green here and there does make a difference, but what about an indoor garden? You can treat some spaces in your home the way you would the small flower beds around your patio.
With a few precautions, some indoor green space is easy to pull off. Install a drainage system that feeds directly to waste water in case of overwatering. Put durable, waterproof, and easily cleaned materials like tile or flagstone around the beds. Voila! Instant green space.
Consider planting tropical plants that will flourish indoors all year long. Taller plants add visual interest. And green plants don’t produce as much waste and won’t make as much of a mess as flowering plants.
Nothing will bring back those comfortable summer nights like a fireplace. Gas fireplaces allow you to get a little more creative with how you implement a fire feature into your home since you don’t have to stick to a traditional hearth. You’ll probably still need the capability to vent your fireplace to the outdoors, but you can definitely go with a more streamlined, modern look rather than the traditional look.
A great look for an indoor fireplace is stone. It is reminiscent of your backyard hearth and introduces a natural material to the space. That means an earth-toned palette and feel right in your living room. Try a quartzite or slate stacked stone for a rustic feel or a polished marble for the more refined design.
If the modern vibe is what you’re going for, classic 1 x 1 glass mosaics in new and interesting colors and finishes give the whole room a festive sensibility.
Breezeways and Outdoor Spaces
Breaking up the house with some intermittent outdoor spaces can be a good way to include nature in your design. Breezeways let you step outside to go from one part of the house to the other—even if it is just the garage. They make great places to add some plants or you can enclose the breezeway as a greenhouse for a little bit of summer in the dead of winter.
An atrium in the center of the house, open to the sky is becoming a popular feature with outdoors lovers. When it’s centrally located, you can’t help but be exposed to some wildlife and sun as you make your way through the house.
Decks, Patios, Balconies
Create more access, both visually and physically, to the outdoors with decks, patios, and balconies off of bedrooms and living areas. A French door or sliding door lets you step out into the fresh air anytime you want.This does double duty: it gives your home an additional exit for safety’s sake, and lets in the light and views.
Indoor Water Features
Water features aren’t just for the garden. Invite the outdoors in with an indoor water feature.
Water walls are popular in hospitals and hotels, but they also make a great addition to your foyer or living room. They don’t make a mess or spray water all over the house, unless you have curious children at home.
Using natural materials in your interior design makes the outdoors a part of your structure. That doesn’t mean your interior has to look like a rustic mountain cabin (unless you want it to). Stone floors, countertops, and wall coverings can be polished to a modern, high-gloss and you’ll still get the natural effect.
You can also try products that are meant to look like natural materials but are actually porcelain or ceramic tile. Excellent visual imaging technology makes these products—wood-look tile and stone-look tile—almost indistinguishable from the real thing. You’ll get the durability and low maintenance associated with tile, the look of natural materials, and the peace of mind that comes with staying on budget.
Let the sunshine in! Invite the outdoors to come into your home to stay. Talk with a Daltile representative to see how natural materials can change the aesthetic in your home.