8 Non-Plant Ideas for Bringing the Outside In

We’re calling it now: 2019 will be the year of the plant. What started as a semi-hipster trend in interior design has become a full-on movement, Bringing the outside in has tons of benefits, of course, from mood boosting to cleaner air. But let’s face it: not everyone is famous for their green thumb. If you love the idea of a more natural way of decorating but can’t keep a plant alive to, well, save your life, don’t worry. Plants aren’t the only way to bring the outside in and we predict a movement to more natural decor throughout the year.

If you’re positive you’ll kill your snake plant and you’ve assassinated your last batch of succulents, try these ideas instead.

Opt for natural materials

Living room with wicker furniture

Wicker and rattan furniture isn’t just for patios. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Hey, leaves aren’t the only way to bring in natural decor. There are plenty of non-living natural materials that can warm up your home and reap the benefits without the whole watering and sunlight side of things. Natural materials like wicker are perfect for airy accent furniture, while breezy linen is ideal for textiles. Even leather and faux leather can be considered a natural material and makes a great contrast to lighter colors and materials.

Use color

Minimalist bathroom with green walls

Use green paint for a fresh take. Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

The good news? No one has ever forgotten to water a green wall. Why not use color to bring the outside in? It can easily brighten up a room and you won’t have to have a housesitter take care of it when you go on vacation. Look specifically for colors that can be found in nature, like vibrant greens or cool, brilliant ocean blues. Choose an accent wall so you get the same pop of color you’d enjoy from a plant. Or, use color in your decor accents, like throw pillows or vases.

Try faux animal

Animal print living room

Animal print stands in for plants. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

When you think “natural decor,” your mind usually goes to plants and trees. But don’t forget that animal print and textures can be just as natural as houseplants. A faux hide rug can bring in texture and a pop of color, while a fur throw or blanket makes a room look cozy and natural at the same time. Or, go for an unexpected print like a snake-etched ottoman or an antelope print accent rug and let your animal instincts rule.

Frame with windows

Open concept living room

Utilize windows to show off the natural beauty. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Don’t assume that you’re limited to the interior of your home when decorating and designing. Your landscape can become part of the design (and you don’t even have to hand-water it). While you might not be able to move windows to get the prettiest picture, you can spruce up your yard. Try planting a window box to add some color that peeks through the window. Or, get rid of heavy blinds that obscure the view of your favorite tree. Utilize the outdoors as a low-maintenance, high-impact design element.

Rethink transitional spaces


Bright open entryway

Use transitional spaces for added light. Image: sirtravelalot/Shutterstock

The spaces that bridge the gap between inside and outside can become some of your greatest allies in organic design. Think of restyling your front foyer, back deck, or even unused sunroom so you bring a little more of the outside in. A gazebo or roof extension makes it so you can access your grill all year long, while a glass door with screen keeps the front of your home bright and breezy. You can even repurpose and unused sunroom as a bright playroom with access to the backyard.

Use natural patterns

Living room with palm print wallpaper

Palm print wallpaper doesn’t need to be watered. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

So you’re a hopeless gardener; you can still bring plants into your daily decor. Decorating with plant prints is en vogue and gives you all the same peaceful, happy feelings that live plants give you. Palm-printed throw pillows, a leafy rug, or even a bold, floral wallpaper in a small space (think powder room) can give your home a greenhouse vibe without all of the upkeep.

Think interior windows

Bright kitchen with glass cabinets

Glass cabinets let light stream through. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

The idea behind interior windows is to allow more light to pass through your home. Interior windows can be found anywhere from a French door leading to the living room to glass-front cabinets in your kitchen. Glass half walls and partitions can also be used to preserve light but give your home more character. And, you can use your interior windows as a nod to gardening: tuck a few faux plants or flowers behind the doors or strategically place your windows so they frame some of your home’s nature-loving elements.

Get artsy


Gallery wall with plant prints

Plant prints lend a natural vibe. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Art prints are a cheap way to bring color and texture into a space. An entire wall of different leaf prints or a gallery of floral shots is a surefire way to bring a pop of greenery into your home. You can find floral prints via online photography sites, at thrift stores, or you can make your own. Teamed up with some cool vintage frames, you’ll never have to feel second-best to your green-thumbed sister again.

For those who love filling their homes with living things, the year’s plant trend is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy and breezy for everyone. If you love the idea of a more organic aesthetic but can’t stand the idea of filling your house with live plants, natural decor is the next best thing. Bringing the outside in doesn’t have to mean making your own suburban jungle, but a few key pieces that look right at home.

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