With the ever-growing focus on embracing nature, it's no surprise that there has been a shift towards home interiors reflecting the outdoors and a bending of the rule book when it comes to the design of interior and exterior spaces.
Even the smallest apartments can be transformed by bringing in a little exterior influence. Miami-London architect and designer Natalia Miyar had revealed some of her favorite methods for bringing the outdoors in.
'Post pandemic we continue to spend a lot of our time living and working at home and therefore we need these spaces to work harder for us. I have always gravitated towards the outdoors – particularly the electric blue shades of the sky and sea in Miami and the countryside greens of England. I love the interplay between the inside and outside and think it's important that the two are connected'.
Here, she shares her interior design tips for creating the perfect room that works both inside and out.
Natalia Miyar splits her time between Miami and London. As a result, she has a deep understanding of the importance of using outdoor space, even in less temperate climates, and how adapting design principles from one to the other can be incredibly positive. Her formal discipline as an architect is responsible for her deep love and respect for the power of materiality and proportion – an affinity that led her naturally into the design of interiors. The spaces that she creates are both serene and lively.
1. Choose biophilic design
The serenity a verdant garden brings to an outdoor space can easily be translated into an indoor space, even for those living in the city.
Natalia recommends using large planters of tall hedges to create a sense of seclusion, and for those with a courtyard garden she suggests 'an abundance of oversized pots with tropical greenery is an easy way to change the atmosphere of a space.'
Inside, tall ceilings can be further accentuated with indoor plants and trees to create a feature even in the smallest spaces or the ceiling opened up completely to create an internal courtyard garden.
2. Mix furniture and fabrics inside and out
Natalia suggests abandoning the rule book around which fabrics and furniture should be used indoors and which should be kept for the outside. Instead she advocates taking a playful approach to outdoor spaces, prioritizing comfort and good design.
'I don't usually choose a set of all matching furniture: mismatched seating around a dining table for instance, creates a much more eclectic look. Layer a sofa or a lounger with cushions in pattered fabrics to create an inviting, relaxed spot.'
For larger casual gathering, pile up pretty oversized indoor cushions and arrange rugs from inside the house on the grass.
At the Mediterranean house pictured above, Natalia used striking architectural fins to give shade to the outside terrace. The architecture and styling the space work in harmony to create a feeling of light and openness.
3. Carry pattern from indoors, out
Using wallpaper outside is a great way to continue an indoor theme outdoors. The same effect can be achieved by carrying on floor tiles from one room to the outside, often creating the illusion of a larger space in the process.
4. Consider al fresco dining
Dressing a dinner table outside affords all kinds of opportunities to bring natural, earthy elements to the setting by incorporating details such as a linen table cloth and napkins, just-picked springs of herbs and flowers from the garden, and natural rope glass holders.
Lighting is also important to set the mood as the sun goes down. Natalia says: ' Just as indoors, a variety of light sources at different levels results can really pull an outdoor scheme together. Clusters of church candles in large floor-sanding glass lanterns work really well, paired with tea lights on the table and string lights hung from the trees.'
5. Create indoor-outdoor spaces
For a contemporary Mediterranean villa , Natalia created a snug / movie room, with a retractable wall – perfect for rainy day gatherings with friends with wallpaper by Miami based company Preppy Pimp. 'For the snug, I chose summery blue and white linen print for the upholstery and walls, which ties in with the colors and the pool outside.'
Sign up to the Homes & Gardens newsletter
Decor Ideas. Project Inspiration. Expert Advice. Delivered to your inbox.
Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.
- Natalia MiyarContributing Editor
'I would wear this pattern' – this last-minute decor decision proved a game changer in Shea McGee's dining room reno
Incorporating an eye-catching patterned wallpaper and sweeping sidelights, Shea McGee's dining room renovation is sun-drenched and sophisticated. This is a full rundown of the finished space
By Abby Wilson Published
Are these design and layout mistakes making your home feel depressing?
Find out if your interior design choices are making your home look sad; plus, interior designers give advice on what to do instead.
By Anna K. Cottrell Published