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Inside out

Eliza Costabel brings a sense of nature indoors.

Design: Eliza Costabel. Photo Credit Alvise Silenzi. Right: Design: Eliza Costabel. Photo Credit Alvise Silenzi

Design: Eliza Costabel. Photo Credit Alvise Silenzi. Right: Design: Eliza Costabel. Photo Credit Alvise Silenzi

Well-designed outdoor spaces are perfect places to relax, enjoy time with friends and unwind while surrounded by greenery. If you can’t get enough of the summer vibe of your outdoor space, you can recreate it inside the house by instilling some of those qualities which make outdoor living so pleasant and unique.

The most ideal space to use for an indoor-outdoor feel is the room directly connected to your garden, yard or terrace. However, any room in your house can be a good candidate.

Start the transformation process of your designated indoor space by observing what does or does not work. Natural light is a fundamental element to make a space feel connected to the outdoors. The absolute best solution would be to have a room with wall to wall glazing, but if that is not possible, think of skylights, enlarging existing windows or simply using light colour paint on the walls to keep the space as bright and airy as possible.

Another trick to extend the flow from inside-out is to use similar flooring materials and colour. You can, for instance, use a textured tile or rustic decking material on the outside paired with its smoother version on the inside. Colour scheme and style of furniture are other elements which can be carefully curated to give a sense of cohesion between the indoors and outdoors. Bright floral patterns and colours, as well as summery stripes in blues and white, give any interior space a cheerful summery feel. Inside the house, you can repeat some patterns used on the outside, but mixed in with more solid colours, as in the fabric of the sofa, a feature wall or a bright armchair.

A major trait of outdoor living is the informality of the seating, both in its arrangement and style. Use deep, low sofas with lots of throw pillows or, if you already have most of the furniture, remove some of the more formal pieces and update the look by mixing in furniture and decorative elements made from natural materials.

Colour scheme and style of furniture are other elements which can be carefully curated to givea sense of cohesion between the indoorsand outdoors

These could range from a large wicker pouffe or armchair, a sisal rug, an ethnic coffee table or natural reed roman shades and even wall covering. This time of the year is perfect to shop for summer-inspired decor at greatly discounted prices.

At night, outdoor spaces are characterised by diffused ambient lighting and moody candle-lit lanterns. In your interior space, avoid using single source illumination and opt for a variety of lighting points and styles. Niche lighting, table lamps, uplighting a wall from a floor fitting and adding a few candle-lit lanterns, will create a very pleasant, relaxed mood.

Last but not least, remember that nothing creates an outdoor feel more than plants do. Tall, tree-like indoor plants are excellent for giving a room a striking impact, especially when placed around a seating area. Opt for a composition of a large specimen with a few mid-sized filler plants, place them in a very big decorative pot and uplight the plants to add drama and an instant chic garden look. If you are a keen plant person, consider creative ways to decorate with plants: use oversized glass vases for terrariums to be displayed on your coffee table, or integrate plants directly in the structure of the house by digging a planter into a short parapet wall. You can also create a herb garden directly in your kitchen by grouping a variety of aromatic plants in one large, shallow pot.

No matter how you decide to go about the transformation of your indoor space into a seamless extension of your outdoor area, remember that the key element is to bring nature in, in its wide variety of possibilities and in a balanced, thoughtful manner. With the right mix of furniture, decorative elements and greenery, you will achieve a stunning interior space with that relaxing summer vibe which you can enjoy all year round, even in the chillier winter months.

Eliza Costabel is originally from Malta but has lived in Asia, Europe, North Africa and the US. Her formative years in architecture took place in Los Angeles with over 10 years designing architecture, interiors, and branded environments, first at Gensler and later at her own design studio, DLFstudio. In 2008, Eliza moved to the Kenyan coast and set up IDEA studio. Since then she has designed and coordinated a variety of retail and landscaping projects, private residences and developments on the Kenyan coast, Nairobi and Kampala. She has recently returned to Malta, making it her base for new design ventures. For more information visit www.ideastudio.co.ke.

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