How to bring the outdoors in: 23 fun and modern ways to embrace the outdoors in your home

Here are some of our favourite methods on how to bring the outdoors in. No garden, patio, balcony or terrace needed...

how to bring the outdoors in
(Image credit: Future)

Looking for how to bring the outdoors in? The past few years have seen lots of creative ideas for bringing more greenery indoors – particularly perfect for homes that might be lacking a modern garden, balcony, courtyard garden, roof garden, or any other type of outdoor space.

Aside from immediately adding a touch of nature and life to a space, plants are known to have air-purifying qualities, absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen but also filtering out harmful and toxic chemicals emitted by microwaves, TVs and screens – and they're known to have calming effects on people too. Studies have even shown that simply seeing green lowers stress levels and increases alertness. So it's a win win all round.

So whether you go all out with an indoor garden, or keep things simple with a display shelf or wall of hanging plants, there are many good reasons behind bringing greenery indoors.

From lush and flowing living walls to having trees growing right through the middle of your home, we've been getting more and more creative with foliage.

In terms of trends, parlour palms, cheese plants, calatheas and string of pearls are all having a moment right now. Not to mention our on-going love affair with low maintenance succulents - great for those with busy lives or who lack green fingers.

The spaces below offer a number of cool and inspiring ideas for displaying your house plants and bringing the outdoors in – whether that's a big faux olive tree in your kitchen or a neat grid of mini succulents. There are numerous ways to create a more natural environment, even in an urban indoor setting.

So get on board with biophilic design (to give it its scientific name) and both you and your home will reap the rewards.

1. Turn a feature out of a light well

Ever thought of a light well not only as a light source but also as a connection to the outside? Here a tiny light-well garden connects with the bathroom space, creating a spa-like, luxe bathroom vibe.

how to bring the outdoors in with a light well

(Image credit: Photography: Joe Fletcher)

2. Frame garden views with floor to ceiling windows

This ensuite bathroom offers intoxicating views, with a floor-to-ceiling glass window breaking down the barrier between indoors and out.

how to bring the outdoors in with glass walls

(Image credit: Lauren Bamford)

3. Consider carrying an indoor theme outdoors

Clad in zellige tiles, this kitchen dining area focuses on a cantilevered table that continues through the bifold window to the terrace outside. 

how to bring the outdoors in kitchen extension

Get the look: Similar tiles, Bert & May. Try West Elm’s Cosmo side table. Wall lights, Hicken Lighting & Interiors

(Image credit: Barbara Corsico)

4. Use real or artificial potted trees to create an indoor oasis

Tall potted trees transform this room into an indoor oasis.

how to bring the outdoors in with an indoor garden

5. Utilise tall ceiling height with an indoor tree

This kitchen blurs the line between indoors and out. The space is dominated by the jaw-dropping faux olive tree, which seems to have taken root within the Corian-clad island. 

how to bring the outdoors in with a tree indoors

Get the look: The Esteril Siusi faux-timber porcelain flooring is from Eurotiles & Bathrooms

6. Create a boho look with a 'more is more' approach

Even more is more when it comes to indoor plants. Hang them high and include large ones in pots to create a true interior jungle. Monstera and ferns live inside if they have good sunlight and are kept moist.

how to bring the outdoors in with maximalist houseplants

To keep the look creative rather than confused, designer, Sera of London, artfully employs colour, with a dark ceiling to ground the space. Exposed brick and reclaimed wooden flooring create a handsome, earthy backdrop, that's perked up with plenty of plants.

how to bring the outdoors in with maximalist houseplants

Get the look Green sofa, Tulip and Bustier lamps, Sera of London Privee. Large planter, bought in Sicily.

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

7. Use moss to create a textured living wall

Handleless eucalyptus wood units and a living moss wall bring verdant rainforest styling to this kitchen. 

how to bring the outdoors in with a moss wall

Get the look The kitchen units are by Prototype Design Lab. This is the KWC Eve mixer tap with light. The coffee maker is by Gaggenau.

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

8. Highlight garden vignettes through cleverly positioned windows

A floor-to-ceiling glass panel floods the space with natural light, and shows off the lush greenery outside.

how to bring the outdoors in with a tall window

(Image credit: Photography / Roger Davies)

9. Open up the ceiling completely to create an internal courtyard garden

The retractable roof – which opens on to the terrace outside the bedroom above – allows guests to dine alfresco when the weather allows. The mirrored door gives the impression of stepping into a secret garden.

how to bring the outdoors in with indoor living walls

Get the look: Dining table, Vitamin. Chairs, Cassina.

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

10. Go wall-to-wall with a picture window

White walls and a vaulted ceiling give a serene quality to the living space. But the real stand-out feature is of course the view. 

how to bring the outdoors in with a picture window

Get the look: Sofa, made.com. Noguchi coffee table, Vitra.

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

11. Incorporate the outdoor space

This master bedroom features a striking marble bath that’s half inside, half outside, with a glass wall nestled neatly into the marble.

how to bring the outdoors in with an outdoor bathroom

(Image credit: Photography: Matthew Millman)

12. Live in warmer climes? Consider an indoor/outdoor bathroom

This shower is outside in a light-well, with bathroom tiling that reaches all the way up to the top of this outdoor wall.

how to bring the outdoors in with an outdoor shower

(Image credit: Photography: Matthew Millman)

13. Create a peekaboo window

Two 'pavilion' structures connect via this glass box, which offers views into a lightwell that's dotted with aloe vera and boulders for a rustic look.

how to bring the outdoors in with a garden display

(Image credit: Photography: Matthew Millman)

A low window fills this corridor with natural light, while keeping a sense of privacy. A glass window at the bottom gives a glimpse over the aloe vera and boulders on the other side. Large boulders that were originally found in the back garden were preserved and placed throughout the landscape.

how to bring the outdoors in with low windows

(Image credit: Photography: Matthew Millman)

14. Build around a mature tree to bring it inside

This Victorian meets New York loft-style home is full of surprises – including a large fig tree growing through the middle of it… 

how to bring the outdoors in with an indoor tree

Get the look: The kitchen is the Cesar Maxima 2.2 designed by Ben Jones of Espresso Design. This is the Table B dining table by BD Barcelona. The Vitra Panton S chairs are available from John Lewis.

15. Create a glass framed corner just for appreciating green views

This home celebrates the beautiful blurring of lines between interior and exterior.

how to bring the outdoors in with glass walls

(Image credit: James Merrell)

16. Bring living walls indoors

This living room boasts a lush living wall. 

how to bring the outdoors in with a living wall in living room

Get the look: Sofas, B&B Italia. Tan Egg chair, Arne Jacobsen. Gold-leaf artwork (on back wall) by Marco Grassi.

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

17. Hang trailing plants

Tumbling plants add lovely lush greenery to this minimlist's sun room. 

how to bring the outdoors in with hanging trailing plants

Get the look: Try Habitat for similar basket chairs. For pendant lights like these, try Heal’s.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

18. Contrast fresh greenery against a darker scheme

This is a house that invites you to reach and touch, following a fingertip trail of rough concrete, strokeable fabrics, smooth metal and faceted glassware. And then there’s the greenery… The garden is creeping indoors, it’s like Eden in the making. 

jungle fever

Get the look The pendant lights are flea-market finds. Moroccan Bazaar does similar. The large mirrored light came from Hadeda in Cape Town. The Chandelier & Mirror Company sells mirrored lights. The table came from Lim in Cape Town. Find similar at Fish Fabrications. Head to CB2 for a similar shelving unit. These are Nguni chairs from Vogel Design in Cape Town. West Elm stocks similar John Vogel chairs.

(Image credit: Micky Hoyle)

19. Faux or real – bring greenery into the bathroom

A tiny bathroom has been transformed into a functional shower room. The foliage is faux due to limited light. 

FAUX REAL?

Get the look The bronze wall tiles are by Fired Earth and the faux plants are by Abigail Ahern.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

20. Indoor garden

The family’s love of nature played a big role in the design here. In the heart of the house, a lush indoor garden almost screens a Damien Hirst painting. The bamboo will eventually soar through the double-height space. 

house of bamboo

Get the look The Rainforest marble flooring is from Crystal Tile & Marble; the wood flooring is Trendtime 8 Oak Smoked Elephant Skin from Relative Space. The floor lamp is from Palazzetti. The collection of designer Barbie dolls, in fashions by the likes of Versace and Oscar de la Renta, top left, are displayed in a recessed cabinet made by Prototype Design Lab.

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

21. Bring greenery into light wells

A Victorian-style spiral staircase in the light well leads up to a garden. 

Light Well

Get the look: Premier Basements carried out the basement conversion The reclaimed floor tiles are from Bert & May.

22. Decorate a bare wall with hanging plants

Hanging plants against the wall add to the relaxed, neutral scheme. 

Hanging Plants

Get the look: The plant pots are from botanyshop.co.uk. The basket is by Ikea.

23. Put plants on display

Free-flowing foliage is contained within a structured grid in this urban version of a garden room. 

Garden Grid

Get the look: The Krossing modular shelving unit by Kriptonite is from The Conran Shop.

A cool, modern way to display an 'indoor garden'. The copper box was a sterilising box for dental tools found in an antiques shop on the Isle of Wight. It was a lucky find and it fitted on that bookshelf perfectly. 

On Display

Get the look: This is the Network bookcase by Casamania.

Lotte Brouwer
Lotte Brouwer

Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.