A New Leaf

There is a real botanical trend running through interiors at the moment. It shouldn’t be a surprise, “bringing the outside inside” has long been an architectural motif in contemporary builds and most of us find the outdoors – earth, plants, water, sky – soothing and nourishing. It’s one of the reasons we so love the calming atmosphere of Victorian Palm Houses.

So how do you incorporate something of this botanical environment into your own home without building an extension or moving into the Royal Botanic Gardens?  Well, nowhere was this theme more apparent than at this Spring’s Maison & Objet / Deco Off design exhibitions in Paris. From wallpapers to fabrics, lampshades to ceramics it was easy to get happily lost in the jungle. Lush blues and greens abounded, with exotic plant life often intertwined with richly painted or embroidered birds and butterflies. Of course, real flower displays are fabulous, but for those “blessed” with black fingers like me, here are a few of my exhibition highlights that can easily be used in your own home.

Wallpapers are a classic way, with a long pedigree, to introduce a sometimes theatrically botanical note into a room. The wonderful De Gournay made full use of their new Rousseau design in their Paris showroom. Like most of their wallcoverings it is more art than wallpaper, and made a magical backdrop to a champagne breakfast amongst parrots, armadillos and banana trees.  We also loved French fabric house Nobilis’ new botanical wallpapers from their Cosmopolitan 1 and 2 collections. They decked out their showroom windows with a birds of paradise wallpaper – birds resplendent against a dark blue background – and accessorised with jewel coloured cushions trimmed with feathers. Or if you want a truly tropical feel introduce the rain forest into your bathroom by surrounding yourself with Timorous BeastiesMeridian Palm.   

Alternatively there are many ways to simply accessorise a room in a botanical style. We discovered gold palm tree floor lamps, pineapple wall lights, ceramic pineapple dishes and vases, butterfly displays, coral and agate slices. Many had more than a nod to Art Deco and they can be a great way to add an element of fun into a more classic interior. We even sourced the most stunningly realistic silk flowers for those who want to stick to floral displays – but without the watering!

Whether you want to go wild in the country or just tiptoe through the tulips there is an abundance of choice.

First published in: Premier Living Spring/Summer

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