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3 Ways to Bring the Outdoors Indoors

Have you ever sat in your backyard and wished you could bring everything you saw back inside the house with you?

With all the beauty nature has to offer, is it any wonder we want to carry that into our homes. From brightly colored flowers to deep green trees and shrubs to the rich earthly tones of boulders and land, nature paints her canvas with a wide variety of colors and textures.

But there's no need to resort to planting a tree in your living room to get the effect of bringing the outdoors in. Here are 3 interior design tips to get you started.

1. Windows. This is the obvious one but it bears mentioning. If you want to enjoy the views surrounding your house, then adding windows is a must. Make them as large as you comfortably can small windows may work for air flow but they won't make it easy to enjoy your views.

You may not, however, be in a position to change or adjust windows. If you aren't building a new home or remodeling, then check out Tip 2 to get more mileage out of the windows you have.

2. Don't distract with heavy window coverings. You want your eye to flow from inside to outside without interference. Elaborate drapes and window coverings can distract the eye, pulling it away from the window and the view.

You may want to try less formal, less structured window arrangements. The more involved the coverings, the more they'll dominate over the outside view. And stay away from busy patterns as they distract instead choose soft, solid lightweight fabrics.

This tip is especially important if you aren't in a position to make your windows larger. Before you do anything else, try minimizing the window coverings. That may just do the trick. (However, for windows that don't have much of a view, you may want to consider drapes to dress them up a bit.)

3. Use color. This is probably the most important tip and one of the most underused. By using colors you find outside, you can "pull" the outdoors in with you. So how do you do this? Start by choosing colors that are in your environment. Greens, reds, browns, maybe even blue for the sky or water. You may want to stand outside with paint swatches so you can actually match what's already out there.

Once you know what colors you want to use, it's time to go shopping. And no, don't start in the paint section. While painting the walls is an obvious way to add color, that can also distract the eye from admiring the window views the same way drapes can. Instead, why not look at fabric pillows, new upholstery for the coach, throw rugs, etc. Or other accessories, artwork, vases, candles, knick-knacks, etc. If you're remodeling or building, you can also use those colors in your tiles, cabinets, floors, etc.

It isn't that difficult to bring your outside inside. With a little planning and time, you can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors both indoors and outdoors.

Amy Snyder is the interior designer at Sun Pine Homes, a custom home builder and developer in Prescott, Arizona. Sun Pine Home's current project is developing the Canyons at Granite Park, a residential community first founded in 1905 and filled with ancient boulders. For photos and more information, please visit www.LiveTheCanyons.com.

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