Home & Garden

Step into summer: Pieces with an outdoor design help transition your home from winter to warmer weather

As warmer weather arrives, there are lots of ways to soften the boundaries between indoors and out.Even city dwellers without so much as a balcony can create a modern mini-Eden by incorporating elements of the natural world into their home.

For some, it may be a sleek bamboo print indoor/outdoor lamp (www.homeinfatuation.com), branch motif rug (www.smithandhawken.com) or sculptural root repurposed as furniture (www.vivaterra.com).

Faux zinc planters are lightweight enough to carry up a few floors and fill with serene greenery. There are curvy, steel, barrel stools (www.homegoods.com), and display cabinets filled with found items such as birds' eggs, shells and organic ephemera. Often imbued with an Asian or Californian aesthetic, these pieces marry well with contemporary decor.

Advances in photoprinting technology have allowed designers to place evocative and beautiful images on all sorts of furnishings.

Seascape Lamp's misty, sepia-toned forest pendant lampshade is a perfect accent over a sleek table. Or opt for a fixture with images of fresh green bamboo stalks on a crisp white shade. (www.seascapelamps.com)

At Urban Outfitters, find a leafy canopy imprinted on canvas. A group of them placed on a bedroom ceiling would serve as a gently invigorating eye-opener in the morning.

Other folks might prefer the exuberant, showy side of Mother Nature with enameled cachepots in hot hues, or a Zen-style large vertical garden planted with fragrant herbs that can go indoors or on a balcony (www.smithandhawken.com).

Designer Jason Champion powder coats vivid shades like fire-engine red, Popsicle blue, Kelly green and yellow onto aluminum screens, planters and table sets, laser-cutting them with geometric or leafy patterns. They can carry a home's sophisticated, modern sensibility out to the terrace (www.homeinfatuation.com).

Also for the terrace or a window is a clever planting bucket that straddles a railing and takes up very little space (www.uptoyoutoronto.com).

There are pieces that evoke nature in a charmingly artsy way. Little bird wall hooks (www.wisteria.com, www.urbanoutfitters.com); leaf magnets (www.uptoyoutoronto.com); tiles brushed with blossoms (www.xeniataler.com); playful squirrels peeking out of trays (www.iddko.com); and ornamented chests elaborately adorned with flora and fauna (www.wisteria.com ).

Autograph a wall with letters fashioned from twigs, feathers and tiny dried flowers, from www.vivaterra.com. Strings of whimsical little lights or hanging Bindi lanterns (www.homegoods.com) give off a Bohemian vibe.

Finally, for those who wish to let their inner nature lover run wild, consider the garden murals from www.muralsyourway.com.

Among the offerings is "Poppy Field," a riot of cheery blooms that, on a full-wall expanse, will elicit Lilliputian sensations. Or try a verdant trail through a sun-dappled autumn forest: With the mural named The Path, you can almost smell the woods.