These 9 Nature-Inspired Projects Bring the Outdoors In — from Leafy Wallpapers to Other Unexpected Choices

published May 31, 2022
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After: Entryway with floor length mirror, shelf, and greenery wall
Credit: Kit Lin

It’s Get Outside Month at Apartment Therapy, a celebration of curb appeal, outdoor hobbies, backyards, stoops, balconies, rooftops, and more. But the celebration doesn’t have to stop when you reach the threshold of your home.

If you have absolutely zero private outdoor space — or if you’re just looking to liven up an indoor corner — these nine reader-submitted projects will inspire you to surround yourself in nature, even when you’re inside.

A $1,000 Redo Adds Lots of Life to a Dull, Drab Entryway

Homeowner Kit Lin used topiary tiles from Amazon and faux plants to bring greenery into her entryway, a great substitute for a living plant wall. She’d previously tried adding real plants there, but the lack of windows made it hard for them to survive. Now, her entryway is eye-catching and vibrant — no watering can required.

Credit: Michael Schwebel
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A Bright, Botanical Redo Modernizes a Dim Hallway

This hallway reno from homeowner Michael Schwebel relies on two elements of nature: plants and sunlight. Michael says he had always wondered about busting through the ceiling (and the non-used attic apace above) and adding a skylight. He eventually decided to go for it. He says he loves the “bright sun and plants and tropical jungle alleyway feeling” of the hallway now. “My favorite is around noon each day, if I happen to be home, I walk through this lit-up vault draped with vines and plants and green,” he says.

An Untouched 1980s Laundry Room Gets a Lively 2-Day, $100 Refresh

One room where you might be forgetting to incorporate a bit of nature-inspired color or texture? The laundry room. Consider adding a small succulent, a handmade wooden bowl to store dryer sheets, or go big, like Kari Rezac (@casasbykari) did with her palm print peel-and-stick wallpaper. Kari says the wallpaper brightens up the room and she loves the new, bold look.

A $250 Natural Wood Coffee Table Project Looks Much More Expensive

Another great way to up the outdoors-y vibe in your space is with live-edge wood. Faith Carbon and her partner, Julia, wanting a live-edge look for less, created this coffee table using a slab of wood they found on Facebook Marketplace after a long time searching for the perfect piece. “We chose the piece because of its shape and the bark around the edges,” Faith recalls. They sanded it, sealed it with Odie’s Oil finish, then added hairpin-style legs. Voila! A one-of-a-kind, nature-inspired coffee table.

This Living Room Redo Makes Knotty Wood Paneling Look Chic

There’s no place like a cabin to be inspired by nature, and this cabin designed by Amber Wallace (@amberwallacehome) gives its knotty wood paneling a new lease on life thanks to wildflower-inspired wallpaper behind the built-in shelving. Although banana leaf and other tropical, palm leaf wallpapers are great, this redo proves that nature-inspired decor doesn’t have to be green.

A Beat-Up IKEA HEMNES Gets a Colorful, Tropical Upgrade for $40

Speaking of tropical wallpapers, though, this HEMNES redo from Claire Armstrong (@pillarboxblue) is a great reminder that adding peel-and-stick wallpaper to IKEA furniture is a great way to give it more personality, and if you’re using that furniture to display plants, for example, why not go with a plant-themed print? “A roll goes a long way,” Claire says, adding that her wallpaper selection only cost her $20, and she has plenty leftover for future projects. Another great thing about Claire’s project? It’s a great way for renters to get in on the peel-and-stick trend, too.

A Plain White Bathroom Gets a Greenery-Filled Upgrade

This bathroom refresh from Charlotte Richards (@the_handymama) keeps the same tile and fixtures but looks totally new thanks to green paint on the vanity and green plants galore. Charlotte says she wanted “to make a statement with the room decor but without having to touch the fundamental shell of the bathroom.” Her living wall in the corner is made from $5 IKEA FEJKA panels, which “creates a lot of impact but was actually very straightforward to do,” she says.

A So-So Spare Bedroom Becomes a Serene and Tropical Boho Nursery

Rather than a repeated pattern, the tropical wallpaper in this boho-inspired nursery redo is like a full-on mural, which really helps to create a serene, escapist vibe. “The green paint and tropical mural make it feel so much more relaxing and calming, perfect for a baby’s room,” homeowner Ella Faulkner (@housenumber6_) says.

A Boring Basement Bedroom Gets a $2,000 Old-World-Inspired Redo

And last but not least, the stick-on wall treatment opposite the bed in this basement bedroom redo by Cerrissa Fitz (@piranhadesign) is reminiscent of old world cobblestone walkways. The stony texture unexpected and plays well with the faux, Roman clay walls and fluted wooden details in the completed space.

This piece is part of Get Outside Month, where we’re covering all things out-of-the-house, from curb appeal tips to al fresco hobby ideas. Whether you have a backyard, a patio, or 1 square foot of a fire escape. Head over here to read more!