Sofa-sticatedConnecting to nature can both relax and inspire, so why not create a garden of earthy delights indoors with one of Spring's hottest trends — The Naturalist. Whether your style is modern, country, retro, eclectic or minimalist, you can incorporate the various elements of this informal look in a way that still reflects your personal style. Built largely on a faded neutral palette and layering textures, the Naturalist blends warm wood and rattan with linen and seagrass, a handwoven rug or cork flooring, botanical prints, and nature-inspired patterns, like floral or leaf motifs. When selecting furniture, look for plenty of natural materials and fibers, textiles with subtle, organic prints, faded solids in natural hues, and materials that are informal yet built to last. Area rugs both warm and soften a room, add visual interest and ground the space, which is why they're so often seen in our favorite rooms. Botanical designs inspire us and since they're a common theme in rug design, flowers and leaves are easy to find. Flea market finds and other found items, such as stones or shells, add tactile appeal and organic dimension, especially when placed beneath a glass cloche or artfully arranged on a bookcase. Here's a roundup of our favorite Naturalist finds, so take your cue from Mother Nature for a comfortable, inspired way of living — a trend that never goes out of style.
Clean lines and slim cushions float atop wooden tapered legs of this sofa, giving the room an airy, modern vibe. Worried about white? Don't be — the Jasper is covered with specially fit, machine-washable slipcovers so you can sit down and relax. Mix in wooden trunks, worn walnut end tables with raw edges, glasstop tables with rusty legs (flea market finds), and vintage suitcases topped with a lamp, and you're on your way to building the perfect nest.
Sitting PrettyKnown for its durability and beauty, rattan warms the space and the rolled edges of Pottery Barn's Malabar Chair (www.potterybarn.com) adds a beautiful silhouette. Source for seating and tables with texture; rattan, wicker, bamboo, seagrass, and wood are key materials to look for. Going au-natural is also eco-responsible, making you feel much better about the planet and your purchase.
Table TalkThe Live Edge Dining Table from Viva Terra (vivaterra.com) is hand-crafted in monkey pod, the lustrous surface showcases gorgeous grain while the curved shape brings a sculptural element to the piece. Rustic yet refined, Viva Terra is the perfect source for building your naturalist space, from the Live Edge table to their headboards, side tables and more.
Quite CushyThese linen Sand Dollar pillows from West Elm (westelm.com), with their Spring-y colors and hand-stitched details, are the perfect way to usher in a new style. When scouting for pillows, go for nature-inspired motifs and natural fibers (cotton, hemp, linen, wool, raw nubby silk), and look for tactile details like embroidered or raised patterns, or ones that incorporate techniques such as felting and gathering.
Tip: Swap out your pillows seasonally to freshen things up, it's an expensive transformation and involves the least amount of money and commitment, something we love!
A Little Bird Told MeDwell's Chinoiserie bedding is both decorative and sophisticated without an air of taking itself too seriously. The almost-antiqued bird and branch motif is a huge trend this year, and like your favorite worn jeans, nature-themed motifs truly are timeless.
Tip: For a relaxed bed that you'll want to linger in on Sunday mornings, mix and match Dwell's prints and patterns to create a bedding ensemble that is uniquely you.
Window DressingIf you are lucky enough to have a room with a view, use your window treatments as a frame to the natural world outside much like a piece of artwork. If your views leave much to be desired and it's privacy you seek, layer your window treatments by combining panels with shades or blinds. These natural woven Waterfall Shades from Smith + Noble (www.smithandnoble.com) bring texture to the space without appearing to heavy. Incorporate lots of natural fibers, barely-there prints, and sun-washed solids to create a breezy, laid-back feel.
Tip: These Smith + Noble shades would look lovely paired with a mid-toned neutral linen panel, such as a misty blue or beige. Or you could go with two panels on either side of the window in coordinating pale hues, like sage with barely-there yellow.
Better Plate Than NeverJohn Derian's charming must-have assortment of decoupaged plates are the perfect find for displaying on walls, a bookcase, or using to collect your precious jewelry on your armoire. Try the Aviary birds, available in four coordinating designs, on a pale robin's egg blue wall.
Pile HighThis rug is textured patterning and delicate blossoms, understated yet interesting, are versatile enough to play nicely with other patterns in the room. In addition to tufted wool and other soft pile rugs, you can also opt for cotton flat pile rugs, or add earthy appeal with natural materials in solid colors, from jute to sisal, bamboo to seagrass.
Tip: Display freshly cut apple blossom branches in a vintage glass vase to play off the pattern on your rug. Gorgeous!
Light Up Your LifeCelebrate the beauty of nature by bringing in her light and texture with lighting that has an interesting, uncommon base — shells, carved wood, driftwood, coral, and ceramic combine function with gorgeous organic form.
Natural CollectionThis collector's box is inspired by an old-fashioned printer's box, is perfect for installing, or leaning against, a wall. It's raw, untreated wood lends plenty of vintage charm, while the 40+ nooks give lots of storage for displaying found items from a flea market or a walk on the beach.
Tip: Top with glass and add four legs and use as a sofa table for a rotating display of natural curiosities.
Color Me HappyUsing a soothing wash of hues as your base, look for colors that are fresh and serene from Benjamin Moore www.benjaminmoore.com). If it's blue you love, try Whispering Spring. If you favor more of a blue that changes with the light, Dusky Blue is fantastic because it sometimes appears as a pale lilac. Gray is always a favorite, especially pale Night Mist. And if it's green you love, Green Wave gets our vote.
Holly Becker is an interior design consultant and freelance writer who covers the latest trends and products on her daily blog (decor8.blogspot.com).