Create a blank canvas
A vital part to making a living room feel more naturally bright is to consider the fundamentals first. Are your walls a fresh, neutral shade? Is your carpet outdated, worn or patterned? Could your ceilings use a lick of paint? Though this might feel all-of-a-sudden like a big redecoration project, creating a brighter, softer space to act as a blank canvas for your room will only help in the future if you decide to restructure your space again to embrace a different style. In terms of the outdoors, white or magnolia walls work amazingly well to enhance the size of your room - perfect for securing that airy look.
The next step is to consider your flooring. Naturally, wood or wood-effect flooring works brilliantly within the wider theme of a summery, outdoorsy living room, but neutral carpets - particularly textured ones - work well too (more about this later).
Lastly, in this effort to create a blank canvas from which you can work, it's a great time to have a bit of a declutter. Not only will this make your home look more open and inviting, it gives you a great opportunity to get rid of things you don't really need or want in your home! Old toys, unwatched DVDs and redundant ornaments can all be donated or recycled ready for you to really get stuck in with your new living room look.
Opt for a theme
The outdoors is such a general term, really, it could refer to any part of our amazing world. Instead, opt for themes and styles that best suit your personal tastes. Are you more partial to a walk along the beach, or a wander through a meadow?
This decision will help to influence your colour palette as well as the accent pieces you may want to include. If a British garden is where you're happiest, invite those summer vibes inside with beautiful fabric bunting and fairy lights. Woodland lovers could embrace a tree wall decal, and fans of the coast might want to invest in some stunning ocean photography. In short, a theme can help you make choices when it comes to decorating - the last thing you want is for the space to become a generic mish-mash of everything inspired by Mother Nature!
Play with textures
Our natural environment is full of different textures. As children, we're much more tactile - we explore the world around us by touch - but that is something that leaves us as we enter adulthood, and the natural textures that exist in the garden, in woodland, in a beach all seem to get lost.
Bringing tree trunks or moss-covered stones into the house may be a step too far, but where it is possible, adding textures into the home through high-pile rugs on non-carpet floor or even just coiled rope placemats can help to add an additional dimension to the space visually. Plants are, of course, a brilliant way of bringing nature inside, and these can complement your theme. Garden or meadow-inspired living rooms can make use of flowers, woodland themes can embrace leafy ferns and beachy rooms could feature interesting faunas or grasses.
Woolly blankets can create a contrast with the harder elements of a room - especially if wooden accessories are used - and throw cushions for the sofas and armchairs can help accentuate any subtle colours you've chosen to include. Ultimately, the idea is to create as many different textures from as few pieces avs possible - a challenge, but one that can look great as a result!
Consider your accessories
To maintain that open, outdoorsy feel, it's essential to not over-clutter your home - but that doesn't mean that a carefully curated collection of accessories can't be included within your living room! After all, it's the small touches that make our spaces feel like home.
With this in mind, you can have fun selecting the accessories, artworks and textiles that you think suit both your space and the theme you've gone for! Pinterest is a great resource when it comes to getting a bit of interior design inspiration, as well as offering some great tutorials if you're keen to make a few bits for your new living room yourself.
Accessorising doesn't need to be expensive. If you're working to a budget, head to the beach and collect some attractive pebbles to place on coffee tables or window sills, or sand-paper some driftwood to create an alternative drinks coaster. Less beach-inspired rooms could make use of pinecones - the world is almost literally your oyster! You could even personalise your room by getting some of your phone snaps printed and framed up - create collages of your favourite photos taken in the outdoors and take a look at affordable sites like Inkifi or Polargram to print directly from your social media channels.
In short, the trick is to not overdo it, but to delicately add touches that give little nods to both your outdoors theme as well as things that are important to you like family and friends.
We've given quite a few different tips here and we hope that a few of them will really help you to embrace the outdoors this summer, even when going outside isn't really an option. Got any more to add? Be sure to get in touch and let us know!