Indoor Outdoor Design

By Decorbuddi Interior Design Expert Sophie Wells

originally written for Time & Leisure magazine.

As we enjoy the longer days of May and the pleasures of meeting outside we are looking forward to a time when we can invite friends and family back into our home. With this comes an increased desire to bring the outside in, to blur the lines and make our homes more connected with the natural world around us. Incorporating nature into our homes is thought to reduce stress, improve productivity and mental wellbeing. This process, both an art and a science, is known as Biophilic design.

The way in which we connect our internal and external spaces is vital to our emotional and psychological wellbeing, whether we just have access to a city balcony, or an extensive country garden.  In the corporate sector, companies are investing heavily in Biophilic design to improve the health and productivity of their employees. So how can we bring this concept into our homes and reap these rewards for ourselves and our families?

The skill is to create a cohesive design which seamlessly connects the interior and exterior areas, whilst allowing the individual characteristics of each to feature. A sense of flow is the key to achieving this.

Here are some interior design tricks, tips and ideas

Materials, colours, and textures

Choosing a similar palette of materials and colours is one way of making the immediate outdoor space feel integral to the interior.  Select natural, more earthy tones to harmonise with the landscape. This can be through paint or your choice of chairs, artwork, lighting, and accessories. Consider painting external walls with colours found inside.

Another trick is to pick a floral or foliage wallpaper.  This uses subconscious trickery of the mind to stimulate thoughts of nature. The Botanical collection “Botanica” from Cole and Son, above, captures the beauty of the English landscape throughout the seasons.

Outdoor soft furnishings have benefited from improvements in textile technology to bring a greater degree of choice of texture, colours, and patterns without concerns of moulding or fading.  Cushions, rugs and upholstery can be colour matched and coordinated with your indoor fabrics. Thibaut Design, for example, have over 100 fabrics suitable for outdoor use and can be moved from inside to outside, to create seamless continuity.


Your choice of flooring can also bring a sense of cohesion.  Laying the same colour and material draws your eye outside and will not be stopped by a change of design. This can be achieved with wood, natural stone or tiles. Manufacturers create ranges specifically designed to enable you to do this. Mandarin Stone have indoor and outdoor porcelain tiles to use on a kitchen floor and then out onto a patio, for example.

Windows and doors

When we think of connecting home and garden we think of lateral glazing. Full height glazed panels, bifold, sliding and crittal doors all draw a line between the interior and exterior, whilst retaining the biophilic connection, embracing the garden. Be mindful that the choice you make will impact both view and ease of access.

Looking up, we have an, often forgotten, opportunity to capture the light fom above.  Lanterns, sky lights and orangeries open-up a space and bring in natural light.

Outdoor kitchen

As the outdoor space has become more important, so the trend to create not just a kitchen garden, but also a garden kitchen has grown accordingly.  This goes far beyond a BBQ, to provide a dynamic space where all types of culinary meals can be prepared and enjoyed, taking al fresco dining to a new level.  With a little planning, it is possible to incorporate a variety of options including pizza ovens, storage, worktops, sink, bar area, relaxed seating, formal seating, fire pit, outdoor wine fridge, heating, lighting, rain cover and so on.  There is an outdoor appliance or gadget for every culinary desire.

Indoor greenery

Another trick is to, quite literally, bring the outside inside.  We are no longer limited to a few pot plants and herbs. It is even possible to have small trees in your kitchen or indoor space, natural light and conditions permitting.  They improve the quality of the air, add natural colour, and texture, and serve the same function as a piece of furniture, softening a corner and helping set the mood of the area.

To create drama and make the greatest impact, bring foliage to all eye levels.  Going beyond the simple shelf, there are a wide variety of installations to support hanging plants from the ceiling, individual wall plants or whole walls of greenery in the form of a living or preserved moss wall.

If you are not green fingered, or away for longer periods, there are alternatives.  Preserved and faux plants can also bring about similar aesthetics and psychological benefits.  Fake It Flowers’ range of artificial flowers, foliage and trees are so beautiful and life-like they have even been accredited by Royal botanical gardens at Kew.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Written by: Sophie Wells
All project images from Decorbuddi projects designers including Jackie Hoyte and Nikki Rees.
Wallpaper Image with thanks to Cole and Son
Living Wall image with thanks to Fake It Flowers