Living Room Makeover: Our Natural History Infused Bohemian Modern Space

July 20, 2016

Natural history decor coral, eucalyptus, shells, curios. styling nature interior design

 

We are now at the really nice point in decorating the house (hallelujah) where we have finished decorating everything internally so can look to objects and styling spaces to make it feel more our own and interesting. This is everyone’s favourite part, right? The bit where you edit down your pieces, add a few special new ones to embellish with and drive your partner crazy moving things around until they are just right (all before a tiny toddler comes into the room and makes his own stylist decisions about exactly what belongs where!).

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green styling inspiration decor

Image: Design Soda

I have a confession here (especially to those who read my blog regularly), my overwhelming thought when decorating this room was the old motto that if something isn’t broken don’t try to fix it. It had taken 6 months between offering on our house and exchange of contracts and I spent much of those months strategically mood boarding, budgeting, getting carried away with pretties, budgeting again, reprioritising and having lots of fun on secret Pinterest boards. I wanted more fun in some spaces, more texture in others and accommodations to now being a family home in others. But the living room didn’t really figure in my design plans. Why? Because I absolutely loved our old living room, yes I could see plenty of new things that I like, I know Nordic can look really cool in a family space for example, but our old room ticked all the boxes for me and never got boring. It was a space I felt really at home in, one that expressed aspects of our style whilst allowing us to completely relax and unwind. Perfect really. That said the new room is considerably smaller and only technically has the same window footage if you include the sides of the bay so some accommodations had to be made – the cocktail cabinet I bought when I was 18 had to be re-homed, we needed some stylish storage bags for our toddlers ever expanding tat collection (we bought these fab ones here) and some new elements needed to be added to pull everything together.

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green industrial lamp vintage type writer natural history styling shells feathers

Image: Design Soda

I think quite a nice point to start with in rooms is holidays. My garden is based on an ideal summer holiday since this is when I will spend most time out there. It’s outline is somehow a Mediterranean meets L.A kind of vibe. This space I see as a bit of a 1930’s countryhouse retreat, say Atonement minus the stuffiness and replacing chintz for bold patterns. I guess this is the ultimate goal for leisure time and an admirable one. A lot of the furniture and lighting in the room dates from about the same era 1930’s so I guess I see this space as our take on a refined inter-war theme. We are both history graduates and I did quite a lot on the inter-war period for my MA thesis so this space is a good fit for us.

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green styling inspiration decor

Image: Design Soda

 

One of my favourite things about moving is the chance it gives you to think about what you most liked about your previous space so that you can take those as a basis to embellish upon. Thinking about our old room, the things I loved most were; the elements of natural history, the wall colour, items inherited from the past and the elegant but worn in furniture (outside of the unreality of blogging there is a strategically placed cushion in a shot below which conceals the part of the Chesterfield sofa the cat has utterly decimated!).

 

Natural history decor coral, eucalyptus, shells, curios. styling nature interior design

Image: Design Soda

 

The starting point for me then was the elements of natural history we had in our last space. From the first vintage taxidermy butterfly I bought in that room it was an aesthetic that made me really happy. It’s important to me to have some nature and bring the outdoors inside wherever possible but nowhere more so than this living room. This element works, I think, in tandem with the paint choice. I think that this paint colour demands it, its natural pigments (which remind me of changing light on the sea) could look a bit sterile or maybe even a bit bathroom-y if they weren’t set off by the gorgeous hued wings of some mother natures best work – butterflies, or the texture of coral, feathers, the iridescence of shells, plants, dried eucalyptus leaves and even sand. This room started to come alive for me with the first instance of natural history when I started my entomology collection (below) years back and each piece I find over time within this theme gives the room a look and a depth I’m really pleased with.

 

 

Entomology Vintage butterfly collection interior design styling living room eclectic bohemian

Image: Design Soda

 

Next on my list was the colour, it could only be the wonderfully opalescent Teresa’s Green by Farrow & Ball. I can hardly believe that I have painted another living room in the same colour as the last, it feels so safe and pedestrian, but I think this colour is something dreams are made of so I’m glad I didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water when it came to hue. Incredibly both living rooms have the same fantastic natural light that picks up the iridescence of butterfly wings and produces tone shifts from an uplifting mint on a summers morning to a cosy muted blue-green in the evening. We also stripped the floors to the same shade as our old house as I think the two tones compliment each other and the feel of the room. I’m quite a spend thrift with paint and think you tend to get back what you pay for with posh paint. It costs more but then it tends to be thicker, far more important than this though is the use of natural pigments found in the landscape that determine the authenticity and beauty of shade from heritage or designer paint brands.

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green globe wernicke palm tree lamp

Image: Design Soda

 

There is  a lot less surface space in our new living room so everything has to work without looking contrived. I’m not sure I’m on top of this yet, especially on top of the Globe Wernicke bookcase which is very much a surface in progress! But real world living isn’t about everything being perfect or curated within an inch of its life so this surface will change and evolve over the coming year (maybe several).

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green globe wernicke palm tree lamp

Image: Design Soda

One thing I am delighted with on this surface is my perfect lamp. This is a vintage 1950’s Palm tree which was bought as part of a pair at antiques cornucopia Alfie’s in Marylebone but the owner got bored of two and I picked it up for a song on eBay. I’m also really happy with our new period dolly switches which you can just about see on the top right of the shot above. The vase is new in at Skandium and the owl was officially the best bargain of the year as she came free with any purchase at Smug store over the weekend!

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green industrial lamp vintage type writer natural history styling shells feathers

 

I really like the styling of the typewriter box on this 1930s chest of drawers (above) but my tiny person disagrees so it mainly ends up on the floor or in his hands. In a perfect world the arrangement would be on the top image.

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green industrial lamp vintage type writer natural history styling shells feathers

Images: Design Soda

 

I don’t really believe in child specific storage so this chest double as storage for our child’s toys. It is styled with quite a few thirties elements – the chest, the lamp, the typewriter and of course some more shells, feathers, coral and trinkets bringing the outside in.

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green

Image: Design Soda

 

All this clutter on the mantelpiece (above) has a purpose (no really!) which is to distract from the modern fireplace which I’m less than happy with but which is staying for now. Ditto the plants in the hearth (below), I think they pull together some of the other natural history elements and rather like a firescreen they act as a screen to the minimalist fireplace. I painted the pots in bright colours and with geometric pattern to add some fun to the room.

 

Botanical interior how to use plants, d.i.y plant pots aloe pussy willow, pink ceramics, fake boston fern concrete pot

Image: Design Soda

A lot of our furniture pieces in here are pretty classic, nay maybe even boring so they need shots of colour to enliven the space – and also to satisfy the colour lover in me. The sofas have always had colourful patterned mismatched cushions (below), the chevron pouf is a new bargain from Asda and we’ve bought a central pendant to match our much loved one on the standard lamp from Rapture & Wright (below) cost justified as an investment since we’ve loved the lampshade for so, so long. To counterbalance, one of the cushions in here was a recent pretty massive bargain from Tiger. I’ve seen the exact same fabric on a chair from Anthropologie last year and cushions in this seasons Graham & Green range, all for considerably more than the £8 I paid!

Eclectic vintage bohemian interiors decor styling butterflies wood pallet coffee table
Image: Design Soda

 

Finally, I leave you with some shelfies, can’t decide if we need one more shelf at the top or if in fact this would dwarf the high ceilings. let me know what you think…

 

eclectic modern bohemian vintage interior decor farrow ball teresa's green styling inspiration decor

Interior styled bookshelves, bohemian, coral, ceramics, inspiration

Images: Design Soda

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17 thoughts on “Living Room Makeover: Our Natural History Infused Bohemian Modern Space

  1. Lins @ Boo & Maddie

    Oh it looks absolutely beautiful beautiful!! I love everything about it, the style, the pieces, the colour. You remind me of my best friend and aunt – able to take so many things and find the right space whereas when I step away from minimalism it looks so messy ? I admire with awe and wonder and am now thinking about that colour for our living room perhaps – similarly to you a lot of natural light and we’re going to rip up the carpet for wood. Lottery win, where are you?! X

    Reply
    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Ah thank you so much Lins for such a lovely comment, it means a lot to me. Your renovation looks like it’s going to be fab (but stressful) our last flat was a lot of work like that, we’re now in a small house with comparatively less work and happily a bit more budget for pretty things than last time! Things move around all the time until they find their perfect home, my husband can never rely on anything remaining on a given surface for too long ? X

      Reply
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  5. Elina

    I love your living room! You have such great style! I totally agree about kids storage space and I’d keep the shelves as they are, that way you can put tall items such as a tall vase at the top should you want to 😉 x elina

    Reply
  6. Lauren

    Your house is beautiful! I love your style, you have some lovely pieces. Can I ask where you got the mirror above the fireplace from its stunning! Have just bought my first home so am looking for inspiration, you have given me a great deal, so thank you 🙂

    Lauren x

    Reply
    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Hi Lauren
      Thank you so much for dropping by and such a lovely comment. I’m afraid the mirror is a really old purchase from our old house (about 5 years ago) I bought it through Graham & Green and it was described then as a pocket watch mirror, I’m afraid they don’t carry it anymore and are always really secretive about the brands they stock so I’m afraid I can’t be much help! Please drop by again 😘

      Reply
  7. Caroline

    Your home is beautiful! Please can you tell me what paint you used in the living room, it will be perfect for our new home, (I’m also mood boarding whilst waiting for completion date! He he!)
    Your blog is very inspiring for me, thank you

    Reply

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