The days are getting longer, the trees and plants are ready to burst into leaf and we are gearing up to spending more time outdoors. Now is also the perfect moment to think about connecting our homes with nature, by throwing open the windows, filling vases with fresh flowers and tweaking our interiors so that they reflect that lighter, fresher feel of the changing seasons. And what better way to do this than with a natural print? Here, we explore some of the key designs and offer five tips on how to introduce natural prints into the home.
The stalwarts of a quintessentially English home, classic rose prints capture the beauty of a garden in full bloom and are perfect for bringing an uplifting and reassuringly familiar feel to an interior. These fabrics lend a sense of timelessness, yet they can also be given a subtly modern feel when teamed with more contemporary pieces – see how a steel table and chunky rug bring a touch of modernity to timeless curtains showcasing our beautiful Albertine linen in Classic Rose. The perfect way to bring the garden right into the home.
Muted florals are a fantastic choice for introducing natural print in the subtlest of ways. Use a faded floral to soften a predominantly pale scheme – see how this sofa in a romantic print, Loseley in Boating Lake, gently lifts the space – or adopt a more nostalgic approach by layering faded florals for a modern take on shabby chic. The key to bringing this look up to date is to avoid excess – no swags this time around, although the occasional ruffle is lovely – and instead play with textures, teaming soft florals with tactile designs such as thick tribal rugs and handcrafted ceramics.
There is something instantly comforting about traditional country prints. Encapsulating the beauty of nature, they bring cheer and a sense of heritage to a home. Use country prints for curtains to frame a view of the garden or to cover a favourite piece of furniture: they make remarkably forgiving choices for upholstery, as they don’t tend to show up the odd mark as much as a plain fabric might. Here, a painterly print, Winterbourne in Folly, captures wisteria in bloom for a deeply romantic effect. Note the red trim that adds a touch of tailoring.
Natural oak leaves
Of all the leaf prints, the oak leaf motif must be the most enduring. Arguably one of Britain’s most majestic species, the oak appeals to our sense of tradition, and the interesting shapes of its leaves have been the inspiration for many glorious natural prints, from lush, elaborate designs to simple block prints. Our Hester linen fabric, pictured here in Grey, sees a classic oak leaf motif combined with a scalloped stripe that gives it a contemporary edge. Perfect for lending a sense of height to curtain treatments whilst referencing the great outdoors.
The forest floor is another source of inspiration for natural prints, and its plants and flowers offer the chance to create designs that have a sense of freedom and playfulness. Our Miyagi design encapsulates these impressions with its intricate pattern printed onto luxurious velvet. Use it to bring a burst of optimism to upholstery or a window treatment, picking out the fresh greens and reds with paint colours and furniture.
5 ways to introduce natural print into your home
Start with soft furnishings
New curtains, cushions, slipcovers or bedspreads are a wonderful way to bring natural prints into the home and if storage and budget allow, you can completely transform a room to reflect the changing seasons. Think of swapping slipcovers in muted autumnal shades for versions featuring a joyous natural print that heralds the arrival of spring, or imagine a window dressed in a curtain in a thick wool fabric in the cooler months, that is switched to an uplifting print – such as our Perdana linen in Citrine – as the days get lighter and you want to improve the connection with the great outdoors. And of course, if all this sounds rather ambitious, different cushions are an incredibly easy way to make a noticeable change: go for materials such as wools and velvets in winter and change them for gorgeous linen prints when you are ready to lighten the mood. A small amount of effort that will feel like a breath of fresh air…
Opt for a feature wall
A wall papered with a lively print that captures the beauty of nature is a fantastic way to create a connection with the outdoors. Choose a wall that has a focal point, such as a bed or a fireplace, to ensure that the paper gets maximum attention; you might also consider papering alcoves either side of a chimney breast, or, indeed, the chimney breast itself. The leafy design pictured here – English Oak in Blue – captures the magnificence of the oak tree and features a palette of greens that beautifully taps into a biophilic aesthetic. Select slightly brighter greens in the same tonal palette for plain linen fabrics and paint colours – the effect is like standing beneath a canopy of leaves on a fresh spring day.
A wonderful way to reflect the abundance of nature is with repetition of an uplifting natural print. Carrying the same pattern across different soft furnishings – and, for that matter, the walls, if your chosen print is also available as a wallpaper – captures nature in all its exuberance. In this pretty sitting room, our Gertude linen fabric in Blue Green has been made into curtains as well as slip covers for the armchair, while a cushion and trims pick out the pink of the linen’s rhododendron pattern. Framed botanicals add to the joyous feel.
Mix traditional with modern
Don’t be afraid to mix different styles when you are introducing a natural print into a scheme, as a blend of eras helps add energy and freshness. In this sitting room, a vibrant Chinoiserie-style floral – Louis in Lucky Yellow – has been contrasted with modern, curvy furniture that adds a relaxed, playful mood. There is nothing like yellow to bring a touch of sunshine to a room, hence the mustard yellow walls, which pick out the background colour of the print. Note, too, the vases of hydrangea, which chime with the blowsy blooms in the pattern.
Embrace a theme
A lovely way to introduce natural prints is to adopt a specific theme: this could be anything from focussing on fabrics with motifs – for example, leaf patterns or rose blooms – to adopting a certain style of print such as chintz or block prints. In this country bedroom, designs inspired by block prints showcase the interesting shapes found in nature, with a simple leaf design, Maze in Ochre, used for the curtains and an organic pattern, Hopscotch in Mustard, for the cushion. The patterns set the tone for a relaxed simplicity that is complemented with a soothing palette of sage green and ochre yellows. Sculptural dried artichoke flowers add to the organic quality of the space.
We hope you have fun introducing natural prints into the home and that you enjoy the impressions of freshness and hope that they can bring. And remember, of course, that these designs are not just for spring: patterns that reference nature will lend a sense of promise to interiors throughout the more dormant months, giving the feeling that nature is in bloom all year round. And we all need that small amount of optimism in our schemes…