Challenging yourself in design is the best way to learn and try new things! I've created these challenges on Instagram to do just that, for me and for you! For our latest challenge we decided on "Nature Inspired" and I believe nature is so inspiring as a designer. Not just pulling greenery indoors, but getting ideas from all the different elements our Earth has to offer; textures like wood and stone, the simplicity of a calm lake, curved branches, wild animals, colorful skies, etc.
I have this spot in our apartment that has always been a challenge to decorate (and I am always, always redecorating it) because it really doesn't make any sense. Its a large mantle in the center of the room built out from the windows creating a nook underneath and on either side, but the really weird thing is there is no fireplace! And opposite this mantle there is a large non-functioning wood stove fireplace with a tile surround on the floor (creating a whole other design challenge) so I've dressed that more as a 'fireplace' with lots of pillar candles on top. Back to the large space up front... it is way to large to try to dress it like a fireplace with candles and wood logs anyways. So it has just become an ever-changing vignette. I did get a new coffee table last Christmas so our old coffee table is now under the mantle, which works great I just wish it was a bit taller. But you gotta work with what you have. So I started by hanging a wooden framed mirror and nature inspired wall art on the wall (the wallpaper was a project from a few weeks ago, but goes perfectly with this theme) the two framed pieces have both really helped to blend in and tone down the wallpaper!
Wood is one of my favorite natural textures and I feel I don't have enough of it in my space so for this challenge I wanted to highlight wooden pieces. I went to HomeGoods and picked up the wooden mirror, wall art, and the two wooden frames. I kept going back and forth on this wooden mirror and another with a raw wood edge, while that one may have been better for this theme I knew the simpler mirror would work best with what I already have! The photo of the pier on the lake caught my eye because it feels very calming and draws your eye to the center (which is perfect as this is the focal wall of the room with the t.v. above). I then had the idea to add smaller wooden frames layered in front to tie in the hanging ones. I was trying to find frames of all the same color finish but it was too difficult to find perfect matches so I went with more of a mixed look which is much easier anyway. And doing so I was able to seamlessly mix in other wood pieces we already had like Brian's bass guitar and my wooden vase (both also tie in my new coffee table). I do like how the planked wood look on the 8x10 frame pulls in the vertical planks in the framed photograph. The frame's rectangular shape also helps tie them all together.
I wanted to pull in my tall potted tree for the Nature Inspired Challenge and balanced out its height with the wooden guitar. The textured stone planter I got from Target a few weeks ago and it has a very earthy vibe to it. That poor tree had been in three or four different pots before I found the perfect one for it (this one works so well because of the shape and size). I loved that planter so much I got its matching smaller version as well! Which I actually had empty for quite a while deciding what to put in it, then one day at good old Trader Joe's (great place to buy plants) I saw this fern and knew it would be perfect in that low wide planter! I almost always have my double-handled vase in this spot because it is so large and helps fill the space, it also happens to go really well with the two white planters and the stripe detail goes with the planked frame and pier photograph!
For the two frames sitting on my coffee table I needed some artwork or photos, so I flipped through my favorite photo book, a large coffee table book "John Derian" to find some prints to frame. I just hold the glass frame inset over the pages to imagine how it would look that size before I cut them out. I chose the peacock and the frog because they are both wild animals that are mainly green (my favorite color) and have pops of accent colors like orange and blue!
When styling your accessories don't be afraid of the mix-and-match look! Usually it makes design a bit easier and gives more interest to the space. Keep it looking cohesive by repeating patterns, colors, textures, shapes or styles. Stick to a color theme (muted colors, black & white, Earth tones, etc.) or a style theme (nature, modern, vintage, etc.) for more cohesiveness.
Check out my other Instagram Challenges by searching the hashtags #natureinspiredchallenge #threepiececenterpiecechallenge #theeasterbasketchallenge or read my blog post "My Instagram Challenge"