Sunday 22 July 2018

As nature intended

Plants are jumping out of pots and into home decor, with botanical patterns taking over from florals

The maximalist look: Mix real-life greenery with bold botanical accessories for a fresh, striking update. Selection of botanical-inspired wall decor from Dutch interiors brand HK Living, available at Home Lust, home-lust.com
The maximalist look: Mix real-life greenery with bold botanical accessories for a fresh, striking update. Selection of botanical-inspired wall decor from Dutch interiors brand HK Living, available at Home Lust, home-lust.com

Nathalie Marquez Courtney

Nature-themed decor surges in popularity every spring, as we shake off winter's layers and crave a fresh, bright, new beginning. At first, botanical patterns and plant-themed accessories seemed like just another fun, passing trend. But, season after season, plant patterns return, inching ahead of florals as the new spring staple.

"Customer interest in plant decor started about two years ago and is still going strong," says Diana Valentine, owner of online interiors store Home Lust (home-lust.com). "We've always sold out on stylised stem art prints and textile designs."

Cushion, €43, Dark botanicals add a lush, dramatic touch to a space, michaelmurphy.ie
Cushion, €43, Dark botanicals add a lush, dramatic touch to a space, michaelmurphy.ie

While blooms can seem a bit busy and fussy, the clean, structural lines of botanicals can add interest without overwhelming a space.

"Personally, I always turn to stem silhouettes and patterns," says Diana. "They somehow feel more natural and ornamental than florals, which can add a certain formality to the space."

They also suit a wide variety of home styles; plant patterns can soften a modern industrial space, pair perfectly with the eclectic bohemian look and add texture and interest to pared back, monochromatic homes.

Blogs like Jungalow (jungalow.com) have soared in popularity (that blog alone boasts 200,000 monthly readers), with regular posts sharing tips on how to make bold plant patterns work in the home.

Set of six fern prints, €25, irishdesignshop.com
Set of six fern prints, €25, irishdesignshop.com

Part of this is certainly down to the increase in fresh, real-life greenery in interiors. You'd have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the proliferation of house plants, everywhere from hip hotels to cool coffee shops and, of course, interior spaces.

From the quirky appeal of cacti to the soft romantic look of trailing leaves in hanging baskets or the striking structural forms of palms and succulents, plants became a hugely popular home addition.

"I love foliage because stems have a more sculptural quality - they can be really tall, and are more versatile when creating bouquets," says Diana. "Foliage looks fresher, lasts longer and green matches everything. That they are significantly cheaper or you can forage them yourself also helps."

When it comes to picking a pattern, you need to tread carefully; an ornate tropical design can look beautiful on its own, but will often clash with the rest of the decor in your space.

Banana Leaves woven wallpaper, €175, aprilandthebear.com
Banana Leaves woven wallpaper, €175, aprilandthebear.com

"There's no point adding a trendy palm leaf cushion to your living room if it just does not suit," says Diana.

If you have a clean, modern space, try going for delicate plant designs, which can add a more subtle natural touch. Minimalist plant silhouettes work very well on white and bright walls and also contrast beautifully with rich, dark backdrops. Botanical wall charts or soft watercolour prints can be a great alternative to cushions.

"As in nature, botanicals are very seasonal," says Diana. "There is always a tendency to add a tropical touch to your decor for the summer, but leaf and herb illustrations, as well as woodland patterns, can be introduced at any time of the year."

Ceramic cactus vase, €25, debenhams.ie
Ceramic cactus vase, €25, debenhams.ie
Tropical print daybed, €1,300, hkliving.nl
Tropical print daybed, €1,300, hkliving.nl
Botanical print tray, €23.31, JamesBarkerDraws on etsy.com
Botanical print tray, €23.31, JamesBarkerDraws on etsy.com
Ceramic dinner plate, €17, cultfurniture.com
Ceramic dinner plate, €17, cultfurniture.com
Forest wall hanging, €29, home-lust.com
Forest wall hanging, €29, home-lust.com

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