I’m definitely not an outdoorsy kind of girl. You will never catch me hiking in the wilds, cooking over a campfire or sleeping under the stars. No, my idea of spending time with Mother Nature is reclining in a comfy chair in my garden. Unfortunately, I live in a climate where the garden is asleep for months on end. That’s why I like to bring the best of the garden inside my home, so I can enjoy the fresh feel of this little oasis all year long. It doesn’t take much to give your interior décor a garden view – just a touch here and there. Here’s how.

Pull up a Garden Stool

These squat little ceramic stools have taken the decorating world by storm. Whether they sport a blue and white Asian motif, are a bright, bold color, or feature a funky colorful glaze, they will look super in your home too. Right now I have two garden stools in my house. Both are partially tucked under formal end tables, one in my study and the other in my living room. They look great peeking out from under a traditional wooden end table because they add a bit of color, a sleek texture and a small surface on which to stick something little, like a book or cup of tea.

If you want a fresh, outdoor feel for your interior spaces, I think garden stools are a must. There are so many ways to use them, too. In your living room, use one as a side table or a footstool. In your bathroom, place one next to the tub to hold towels. In your bedroom, push one up to your vanity instead of a chair or bench.

Make Room for Outdoor Furniture

I always pull together a mix of furnishings when I decorate rooms, blending formal and informal styles, diverse textures and colors, and an array of materials, like textiles, wood and metal. Often, the finished rooms include a piece or two of classically outdoor furniture because I think outdoor furniture adds whimsy and character to interior spaces.

A friend came into Nell Hill’s the other day looking for a new dining room table. She wanted something unusual, so I suggested a pedestal concrete table, just like the one I have in my courtyard at home. I’m crazy about this table because it’s indestructible and versatile. I dress mine up a host of different ways when I entertain or when I have my home open for public tours. My friend sparked to the idea immediately. With its 72-inch diameter, the table was large enough for her to entertain a party of eight. To soften up the look of the stone, she ringed the table with slip-covered parsons’ chairs.

I adore garden benches festooned with seasonal pillows. They make a perfect addition to a large mud room, giving you a place to sit and take off your shoes. You could also place a garden bench at the foot of a bed in your master bedroom or a guest room. Or in your living room, back it to your fireplace during the warm weather months when your hearth is dark.

Wicker chairs are a building block of the Nell Hill’s look. You can’t beat these beauties for affordability and versatility. You can use them as dining room chairs, in bedrooms and living rooms, on screened porches and entries. They are sturdy and surprisingly comfortable. And, because you can have the seat cushions and pillows custom made, you can achieve myriad looks. For instance, if you want vibrant color in your room but don’t want to paint your walls, cover the cushion in one of today’s hottest colors, like apple green, coral or sunny orange. Select a pillow that pulls in the electric color of your seat cushion and some of the other hues in the room. Suddenly, you have an arresting focal point.

Build Garden Ambiance with Architectural Elements

Periodically we stock a few antiques at Nell Hill’s. Recently, I couldn’t resist buying one for my own home. It’s an antique capital that I’m going to put next to a chair in my living room and use as a little side table.

To me, aged architectural pieces, like capitals or finials, give a garden feel to a space. Perhaps it’s their aged, weather-worn appearance, suggesting they have seen lots of spring rains, or the fact that they have been used to bring interest to gardens for centuries. You can also use a small, reproduction capital as a riser in your displays – we do this all the time at Nell Hill’s. Or, add a finial to a display to lend vertical height.

Accent with a Garden Statue

If you’ve been a part of the Nell Hill’s family for long, you already know we’re crazy about garden statues that have an aged patina. Whether antique or reproduction, this sophisticated yard art brings a stately look to home décor.

You only need a few statues to pull off the look – too many and your home will resemble a historic graveyard! Weave the statues into the décor throughout your home. For example, use one in the display on your coffee table ottoman, or on your dining room table, or in front of your hearth during the summer. How about this lamp that has a garden statue as a base? Love it!

Bring on the Flowers

What is a garden without bowers of flowers? So to give your home a garden feel, you have to add some flowers. Don’t you love this cheery daisy-covered wreath? You could hang it on your front door, lay it atop an urn in a display, or use it to ring a garden statue on a side table.

Have you ever hung a wreath in the spring and later discovered some birds have built a nest in it? Now you can get the same charming effect, but without the droppings all over your porch! Just tuck a cluster of twigs holding a bird’s nest into the center of the wreath.

Don’t Forget the Garden Pots

Including garden pots in your décor is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to give it a fresh garden feel. I like it all, from aged terra cotta pots to cast iron planters to brightly colored cachepots.  Use these versatile receptacles in a traditional manner, holding a potted fern. Or, think of them as vases waiting to be filled with a host of fun things, from the daily mail to kitchen spoons.

Next Week … Are your interior spaces looking a bit stale? Next week I will share six simple tricks to help you amp up your rooms.

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23 Responses to “Garden View: Bring the Best of the Garden Inside”

  1. garden statues Says:

    the angel statues look really nice. They would make good accents on any design.

  2. Mimi Tafour Says:

    thanks, did i ever need a pick-me-up. so enjoy the boost to get me going when i’m about ready to throw in the towel as well as the kitchen sink of dirty dishes. love the photos and the advice….great encouragement to get going again, clean house, decorate a bit, and enjoy home and “garden”.

  3. cindy lang Says:

    Looking at your web site and reading the information is a delight for sure. Always find something to immediatley do after reading your comments. Thank you

  4. JoAnn Says:

    Always look forward to your tips! We had stored our garden bench due to lack of space when the patio furniture is brought out. However, this reminded me that it could be put at the foot of the bed! Thanks

  5. Allison Says:

    I am in love wit the daisy covered wreath. How much is it?????

  6. Barbara Says:

    Love the fabric in the pillow in the picture under “Build Garden Ambiance with Architectural Elements”. Is that a fabric you have for sale at the store? Price per yd if you have this. I also love the daisy wreath – reminds me of a breath of fresh air.

  7. Barbara Rpcje Says:

    Wondered if you had any lanterns? I love to place them around the garden.
    love you blogs. I send them to my daughter in DC.

  8. Pamela Jo Says:

    I love the idea of bringing the garden indoors. I’ve been searching for a way to lighten up my library as a personal, more feminine office and watercolor studio, but I don’t want to paint the wall to wall cherry paneling, blinds and bookshelves. My carpeting is similar to a sisal in a light tan.

    Thus far I have added a rustic painted old post office table as a desk, a greige tufted curved loveseat with large pale yellow and pink cabbage roses, an antique wicker rocker, a rustic painted garden bench and several bird themed items, but I really feel that I need more softening. I loved this post because I think , but adding the garden touch with perhaps a small fountain

  9. Pamela Jo Says:

    Oops, let my fingers do the walking! I plan to add a garden ceramic stool and many plants, perhaps a small fountain and perhaps a statue. Any other suggestions? I really have to try to lighten up the look as the cherry is somewhat overpowering, but I am determined! Thanks for all your great ideas. I want to check out the colors of garden stools you have! I have a daughter at college in Missouri and plan to drop by Atchison to shop on my way to bring her home to Colorado from college. We may have to dump some of those college things to fill up on NH treasures!
    Thanks again

  10. Lynn Says:

    It would help so much if you would add the prices for the pieces you have showcased! Please think about doing this as I’ve seen several people ask for this information.

  11. Barb Says:

    I love Nell Hills everything. This blog is one of the most helpful and probably easiest one for me to attempt. I am always concerned that if I try something not only will it not look like yours but it will miss the mark. The items on today’s blog look exceptionally doable. Thank you so much! Love everything about NH.

  12. Toni Beck Says:

    The “bringing the garden indoors” is wonderful. Love, love, love your two stores for great ideas. I too would like to see a few of the prices quoted to see if it is something I could do in my home as well.

  13. Mary Carol Says:

    Allison–That cutsie daisy wreath is $36.50.

  14. Mary Carol Says:

    Barbara–There are several different types of lanterns in the stores right now. Please come see us! Our bamboo style would look so fun in the garden.

  15. Karen Bissell Says:

    The daisy wreath is 36.00 but what is the size is it big enough to put on the wall alone behind my couch?One I have is 20″ or little bigger.

  16. Mary Carol Says:

    Barbara–The pillow you like in the picture is not one of our bolt fabrics at Nell Hills, it is a custom fabric from C.R. Laine.

  17. Mary Carol Says:

    Karen–It depends on the size of your wall, the wreath is approx. 24″ in diameter. If you had a good sized wall you would want to add some extra things to the wall, maybe artwork etc.

  18. Wylene Says:

    Yes, a little bird wanted to make a nest in my front door wreath. One morning my husband opened the door to get the morning paper and the bird flew in the house!!! He left the door open and since the house was still dark every else, the bird gratefully flew back out. That was a close call!!! That’s more outdoors that I really care for!

  19. Stephani Says:

    Hi Mary Carol,
    I love the daisy wreath! Can you please tell me how big that is? Also do you ship?

  20. A Centerpiece pour moi | A Westside Story Says:

    [...] was inspired the other day by this post from Mary Carol Garrity and her Nell Hill’s Blog. If you’re not familiar with Mary [...]

  21. Linda Davenport Says:

    Love the pictures! I didn’t get a bird’s nest in my wreath, but I had a dirt dauber’s nest.

  22. Sandy Says:

    Hi Mary Carol,

    The pillows on the outdoor couches under the title: “Make room for outdoor furniture” – on the brown wicker settee.. do you sell these pillows, especially the small rectangle floral one? Just beautiful!

  23. Mary Carol Says:

    Sandy—That particular pillow sold however, just call and ask for ‘fabrics’–sure they could have another custom pillow made–877-746-4320.

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