Budget goes beautifully with arrangements and projects drawn from the great outdoors
Give your living space a big breath of fresh air by decorating for the season using simple, natural materials and nature-inspired colors. From creative ideas for sea glass to fancied-up pressed flowers, decorating with nature is a great way to wake up tired rooms without spending a lot of cash. In fact, you may already have what you need around the house.
1. Paint an op shop find spring green
Vintage, antiques and charity shops and flea markets usually abound with small, funky wooden pieces like the little bench shown here. The flaws won’t matter after you’ve given it a lick of spring-green paint — and if the piece is too flawed to be used as intended, you can always put plants on it.
2. Add a botanical fabric
A textile featuring birds, branches, flowers or foliage is a great way to wake up a room for spring, and a few meters of fabric won’t break the bank. If you are an experienced sewer, you can try fashioning your own slipcover for an upholstered chair. If you are a beginner, try covering a seat cushion. Or use a botanical print oilcloth and simply cut out a tablecloth using pinking shears — no sewing required.
3. Make luxurious linen-backed pressed-flower portraits
A morning’s walk along a local trail or in your own backyard can provide you with enough botanical specimens to create your own beautiful and one-of-a-kind art. First, you will need to press the flowers you’ve picked, so carefully close them in a heavy book or flower press, one per page, and leave them until fully dried (one to two weeks).
When they’re ready to frame, trim a piece of linen to fit the back of your frame and attach it to the backing using a bit of spray adhesive (do this outdoors). You can either use a bit more spray adhesive to stick the dried flowers to the linen, or simply place the flowers on top and allow the glass to hold them in place.
4. Cover a windowpane in sea glass
Have a nice collection of beach glass? Take a cue from this creative homeowner and use glass adhesive to cover a window in it. Use a clear floral-setting resin (find it in craft stores with the floral supplies) to fill in gaps between glass pieces. This window will block views but still let in light, so use it somewhere where this will be an asset, such as the bathroom.
6. Paint your coffee table legs summer-sky blue
Brighten up your room in an afternoon with this small painting project. If you have any leftover paint in a fun, springy color, table legs are the ideal place to use it, because they require only a small amount of paint. Tape off the edges of your tabletop or ottoman cushion, and sand, clean and prime the table legs before giving them two coats of color.
7. Wrap branches in rainbow-hued thread
This simple project is the sort of thing you can do while watching TV – just take any old twig (cleaned and dried thoroughly) and some vibrant-colored thread and start wrapping. Use a tiny dab of glue to hold the thread in place at the beginning and end of each place you wrap, leaving some bark exposed between colors for contrast. If you choose a branch with a few forks in it, you can use the finished project to hold jewelry, as shown here.
8. Collect feathers in a cup
Sometimes the simplest things can be quite beautiful. Collect feathers you find on walks in an earthenware mug and pop it on the shelf alongside your kitchenware to bring in a touch of the wild.
9. Make your own driftwood planter
If you own a drill and can get your hands on a nice big piece of driftwood, you can make your own version of the gorgeous succulent planter shown here. Hang it on the wall, frame it in an old window or use it as a centerpiece on the table.
10. Fill bottles and jars with your finds
A glass jar filled with sea glass (with or without water) looks lovely placed in a window to catch the light. Also, try placing small, smooth stones in a glass jar and nestling in a tea light for a nearly free candleholder with natural appeal.
11. Start a curio cabinet
Vintage drawers make excellent curio cabinets when mounted on the wall. Fill the sections with rocks, shells, abandoned nests and other things you find on your outdoor adventures.
BONUS TIP: If you want to use a nonvintage drawer, try staining it a darker color first to give it a vintage look.
12. Use a chair rail to showcase a collection
Have a chair rail in the dining room or bath? Use it to display a collection of small shells, stones, sea glass or bits of driftwood. The key to making this look like a collection rather than clutter is to be really strict about what you include — don’t use a jumble of different items, and stick with one type or color.
What’s your favorite way to decorate with finds from nature? Share your ideas in the comments section below.