Wednesday, 04 December 2019 08:51

Interiors and the natural world

    Following the launch of Farrow & Ball’s collaboration with the Natural History Museum for its Colour by Nature collection, Inex caught up with the established paint brand’s International Brand Ambassador Patrick O’Donnell to find out more about taking inspiration from organic elements.

    When we designed our new Colour by Nature collection in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, we did so with the awareness that the world of interior design was undergoing two fundamental shifts: one, towards a greater confidence in using stronger, bolder and deeper colours, and two, towards a renewed effort to embrace all the natural world has to offer in our indoor lives.

    In fact, the two colour families that have had the greatest renaissance over the last couple of years have been green and pink – and how welcome this is; especially green with its innate associations of nature.

    Green is an excellent all-rounder, having the ability to be gloriously soothing, but also to bridge the gap from interior to exterior. From the relaxing capabilities of soft eau de nil all the way through to the sheer drama of the deepest forest greens bordering on black, it’s a tremendously versatile family of colours.

    In a space that’s lucky enough to look out onto a garden, green is a winning choice. Tying the outdoors and indoors together is a job for a beautiful mid-tone green that picks up on the verdant hues outside, while adding soft furnishings in red – green’s opposite on the colour wheel, and as such a natural partner – creates a beautiful contrast.

    To keep the space thematically linked to nature, try layering earthy tones of green in natural materials such as linens and textured wools. Brown furniture, strategically placed throughout the space, creates balance, scale and harmony.

    That’s not to say, of course, that nature is in any way confined to greens and browns – all you have to do is look around you. Summer borders crammed with perennials are especially rich pickings for inspiration, featuring hues ranging from magenta pinks and petrol blues to clear soft whites and butter yellows. Even in autumn, inspiration abounds, with burnt oranges, soft tobacco browns and cardinal reds all sitting happily against each other.

    There are no limits to pursuing the colours of nature in the home, but as with every consideration when decorating a space, we have to consider the use of the room and – perhaps most importantly – its lighting. Natural light, while a blessing, can be an especially tricky consideration, as we know that the way a colour reacts to an east-facing room can be dramatically different to that of a colour in a west-facing room.

    Wallpaper also helps us to capture the spirit of the outdoors in our own spaces, whether with literal or more figurative representations. The beautiful repeats of Arts and Crafts motifs from the late 19th century, peaceful pastoral scenes, floral prints of varying sizes and styles – they all offer beautifully subtle means of embodying the outdoors, indoors.

    But despite our newly rediscovered love of colour and pattern, there will always be a place for neutral tones and beautiful simplicity in nature-inspired schemes. Clean, Scandinavian-inspired interiors call for a palette of soft whites and greys, softened by natural touches of hand-crafted wood, soft animal hides, rich Mongolian lamb throws and caramel-toned tweed blankets.

    Texture is another key player in creating an interior that convincingly embodies the charms of the outdoors. Beyond bringing in accents of wood and stone, the many varied textures of nature can be embraced in a more abstract way, through touches of reflective gloss, smooth chalky matt, or even sumptuously tactile wallpaper prints.

    Finally, as with everything we bring into the home, the impact our decorating materials have on the planet is firmly at the forefront of many minds. What better way to create interiors that feel intrinsically linked to nature than embracing earth-friendly, responsibly made formulas, or low-impact recycled pieces?

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    Inex magazine and its complementary website is the ultimate specification resource for design professionals working in both the domestic and commercial marketplaces.

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