I have a brown thumb. It is not from digging in the soil. I have very little gardening ability. Most plants wither and disappear shortly after I plant them. I finally have given up on my yard. The basics make it through all the seasons and my yard is full, no thanks to me.
My house is a different matter entirely. I LOVE all things garden, except the work, I guess! So I D-E-C-O-R-A-T-E inside the house to get my gardening fix. As an antique dealer over the years, I have saved many garden items that could have been sold at a show, or my shop, and have placed them throughout my house. I’ve done most of my garden themed rooms with vintage items, but there are many new inexpensive (as well as very expensive) garden items in retail stores that can be used to create the same effect. So finding special touches to turn your indoor rooms into “garden-style” retreats does not have to be stressful.
Here are my two favorite things to bring my garden indoors.
1. Vintage cement garden statues sit on the floors and tables in most of my rooms. I’ve pulled some out of junk shops that had to be washed to get the crusted dirt off before they entered my kitchen door. I’ve found many online on Ebay, from dealers I know pack well, so I don’t have to worry my treasure will crack during shipping. Many of my old garden ladies came from larger antique shows. Then there is my collection of vintage garden frogs of various sizes, made from old cast iron, or cement with their chippy paint patina, in my small foyer.
If you read those sentences carefully, you might think, that sounds like a lot of garden statues, and you are right. I am overflowing with them. It is a collection gone wild, but one that, tastefully done, adds an old world garden feel to every corner. Below are some photos of my favorite vintage pieces.
A garden cherub placed in front of an old painted slightly worn mirror adds color and patina to a chest in my guest room.
A frog couple courting in the dining room on my old green chest, add whimsy to the garden style look.
A collection that adds a delicate touch of romantic garden style.
If I kiss him, will he become my Prince Charming? I think I like him the way he is, thinking about life!
2. Vintage Floral Themed Paintings
I haven’t met a vintage floral painting I can resist. My collection goes from fine Victorian pieces, to thrift store amateur paintings that cost as little as $1.99. Just like in the garden, where all types of flowers bloom in harmony, my paintings mix well and compliment each other. Because I like large groupings of paintings, I remove most of the frames. If a painting is on canvas tacked to stretcher bars, it is easy to just plop it over a nail. For those on canvas boards, I like a very thin frame. For me, frames distract from the art. I always like the painting to be the focal point, not a decorative frame.
Perhaps my walls are over done! I should prune back a little, move a painting to leave more wall space. But I like my walls to look like my garden – abundant, overflowing and bursting with color.
A living room wall.
My guest sitting room, complete with both garden statues and Victorian paintings.
There are many different ways to give your home the feel of a garden room. Many decorators are using old metal outdoor chairs and tables in breakfast nooks and dining rooms. A few floral fabric pillows will soften the look of the wrought iron and give a cushy seat for comfort.
Wicker has been popular since Victorian times both inside the house and in the garden. Vintage wicker can be found at shops and shows, but many retail shops have new wicker that has the look of ol, for a fraction of the cost.
Thrift stores are full of tabletop gardening books for $3.00 or less, once priced new at $25.00 and up. I love to stack the large books on my coffee table and end tables. Visually the covers are pleasing with lots of pretty flowers and they are great tools to flip through to plan your next year’s garden.
Think about what pleases you most in the garden, then don’t be afraid to bring it in the house to use for decorating purposes. Look through magazines, clip your favorite photos and rooms for ideas, and get busy bringing the outdoors in! Before you know it, your house will start blooming with cottage garden style!