Look at the outdoors to inspire your interior style

Hi everyone. We've had the most amazing few days in London rather like in the Nordics - freezing temperatures, clear blue skies, no wind and the most incredible sunrises and sunsets.  It's been such a mild winter until recently so a proper cold spell was long overdue.  However it only lasted until yesterday and today it rained and the temperatures rose to a balmy 11 degrees Celsius!

I took full advantage of the glorious sunny days being out and about with my Nikon D5500 DSLR camera. I'm still a total novice with it but it's less intimidating now and I'm actually starting to enjoy using it.  It is my first ever DSLR camera hence the trepidation.   But the photos you take on a DSLR (and NOT on auto setting I stress!) are fantastic compared to a compact camera aka point-and-shoot.

On Tuesday I'm sitting at my kitchen table working away when I suddenly felt the urge to be out in the sunshine taking photos so I donned layer after layer of warm gear (I ride a little Vespa moped so keeping warm is always a challenge) and headed to the Chelsea Physic Garden as it's snowdrop week there.  I am a member of this wonderful little garden which is older than Kew Gardens. It is a walled garden in the heart of Chelsea, founded in 1673 by the Worshipful  Society of Apothecaries for its apprentices to study the medicinal qualities of plants. It became one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world. It really is an oasis in the heart of Chelsea, flanked by the Embankment (constant traffic) and Royal Hospital Road which is quite a busy road, but you are hardly aware of the traffic once you are inside the walls of the garden.

I spent two hours wandering around photographing the plants.  It's winter so you wouldn't expect to see much in flower.  However, there were spring bulbs in flower and two of my favourite plants in full bloom and creating both a visual and sensual impact - Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) and Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'. 

I always use the outdoors to inspire my interior design and styling.  Here are a few tips to help get you started:

1. Look at the way the colours of flowers work together in gardens. For example, you may not dream of using purple & orange or pink & orange in a colour scheme but they work brilliantly outdoors.  If you are afraid of colour, do some "interior gardening" and bring indoors plants and flowers in bright colours (even clashing colours). This is an inexpensive way of introducing colour and if you can't cope with the colour you can just remove it!!

2. Look at the textures and layering in a garden as these add so much interest.  Most people never think of this when styling their homes so everything is very one-dimensional.  Stimulate the sensesby aiming for at least three different textures - introduce these with cushions, throws, rugs, lighting etc. For example, glass, wool and velvet - a chandelier, a sheepskin rug and velvet cushions - and voila, you have textures and layering.

3. Never stop looking at the outdoors and visually framing scenes as if they were rooms.  This can really help when you are trying to decide how to style a room. For example, different heights are really important - try using floor lamps, tall vases of flowers or plants on a mantelpiece and compilations of artwork and furniture of different heights. 

4. And don't forget weights of colour. We are environmentally conditioned to think that darker colours should go lower down, something to do with the earth beneath our feet and the lightness of the sky and air above. so we are subconsciously emulating the outdoors with which we are both familiar and comfortable. However, it doesn't have to be the rule of thumb and there are a lot of people bucking the trend and painting walls & ceilings in dark colours and having a lighter coloured flooring.  Either way, remember to mix up the shades of colour.

Enough said, and now I want to share with you some of the photos I took at the Chelsea Physic Garden, the best of them. It's a visual feast of colours and textures and hopefully will stimulate you to look at your interiors differently. Please note that these photos are all unfiltered, not Photoshopped, exactly as I took them on my Nikon.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos and that they have inspired your interior styling.  If you are London based and would like some help/advice, give me a call. I offer an initial free consultation and then I charge by the hour so you can use me as little or as much as you wish.

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