Frugal Decorating Tip #2: Bring Nature Indoors

By Kate Riley April 20, 2010

One of the most inexpensive ways to add style to your home is with a simple collection from nature, right ?  I’m a huge fan of bringing nature inside, and decorating spaces with inexpensive (or free) finds from the great outdoors ! 

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” 

– Frank Lloyd Wright

Shells on display, sand from a nearby coast, starfish or even sand dollars fashioned into wall hooks – the beach is a great source of inspiration when it comes to decorating your home.  Place items inside glass jars and they become instant focal points. 

 shells collage Credit: Country Living; Traditional Home; Nest; BH&G; JLDesigns; Pottery Barn; BH&G.

Whether it’s a simple wreath, a bowl of fruit, or topiaries grown indoors, citrus smells amazing, and has plenty of uses in the home.   

citrus collageCredit: Creative Decorations; Good Housekeeping; House Beautiful; Cottage Living; Snippet&Ink; JLDesigns


The lull of trickling water over river stones is one of the most soothing sounds in the universe.  It’s no wonder we surround ourselves with this simple element that is undeniably therapeutic. 

stones collage  Credit: My Wedding Ideas; Viva Terra x 3; Crate + Barrel; Eco by Design; Wisteria; Real Simple


Succulents are small and hardy enough to last for months with little water.  Displayed as a wreath, in compotes, urns or vases, they’re a easy way to bring low maintenance greenery indoors !

succulents collageCredit:  Martha; Country Living; Style Me Pretty; moi; JLDesigns x 3


Who can ever tire of singular blooms or stems in bud vases ? 

stems collageCredit: Country Living x 3; DIY Ideas; Pottery Barn; House Beautiful; Style Me Pretty

And how many other ways are there to bring botanical beauty inside at very little cost ?   It can be branches from a blossoming tree, a small indoor herb garden, a bundle of lavender, a sea fan, sand or driftwood from coastal visit, or even a fresh basket of garden tomatoes.  Some of my most precious treasures are shells collected from travels, or stones my children find for me on evening walks. 

Nature is simply the easiest and most beautiful way to decorate on a budget, don’t you agree ?  What’s your favorite natural thing that you collect, or like to bring indoors ? 



  1. Last summer we had to take down a few small cedar trees. I had my father cut the tree trunks in slices, revealing the pretty reddish rings and they smelled great! In the fall, I would stack or heap those rings for a real woodsy effect.

  2. Love your inspiration collages. One of my favorite things to decorate with last summer was sea shells and pebbles. I have two things of faux lemons upstairs…I need to go bring them down!

  3. Love the idea of the succulents . . . that may be a nice way to bring nature into the front room of my house. It has two windows that would get mass amounts of afternoon sun, but we have a lovely oak tree in front of it which shades them both. One idea that I’ve seen so many places is using branches in a vase. I’ve seen them very simple and organic, and then also spray painted a color, usually white, with some sort of decoration–white with eggs at Easter, black with Halloween ornaments, etc. Not sure if that’s my style, but do like the more simple/organic look. Thanks for the inspiration, Kate!

  4. Great ideas, Kate! During the holiday season I used pine branches in vases throughout my house. It was a simple, understated holiday decoration, but it looked great and they lasted forever. Plus, I could go cut them from the trees in my yard!

  5. I love collecting sea glass. Its a fairly new hobby for me so I dont have a huge amount of it but it looks great in my clear glass vase. I also like pebbles from the beach, you can write something on them such as a quote or words such as peace, love etc.

  6. Such gorgeous inspiration! I am using shells, coral & flowers in my house right now. Come summertime I’ll add in beach stones and potted herbs! Nature is the best for inspiration!!

  7. I am a lover of shells and ferns and succulents too. Twiggy branches left from a windy day in my neighborhood, too. I am that lady you see walking down the street with a handful of branches. Sure, they think I am weird; but I do love some twiggy sticks! Check out floragrubb for some super, awesome succulent ideas. Inspiring.

  8. Great selection of nature-inspired adornments. Love them all and have them strewn around my home. I especially love a single hosta leaf in a sleek bottle in the bathroom. Thanks for these collages – very inspiring.

  9. I love the sea shells. I like to collect them for my living room. I bought cheap tall jars from Ikea and I filled them with sand that I brought back from beach vacations…. Hawaii and Texas. I also put little tags hanging from the necks of the bottles saying the location of where the sand came from. The cool thing is… is that each one of the sand is different in texture and color… I love the idea of bring nature in… thanks for this post, keeps my mind turning on future ideas.

  10. Fresh cut flowers in the summer! I love bringing these inside. I also just love gardening decorations inside, it makes it feel like the outdoors are inside all year round. Great pictures.

  11. I’d love to say flowers, but our cats like to munch on them. Otherwise, it’s shells. We collect our favorites every year while on vacation and I have a beautiful glass box filled with them! Beautiful collages; thank you.

  12. Kate,Beautiful images and all bring good karma from nature into our environment!! Love your images and choices!!

    Art by Karena

  13. I like moss. :) I take some dirt and put in a sweet little tea cup and put in a violet thats growing wild in my yard and then cover the surrounding dirt with moss. That’s just one of my favorite outdoor items to bring in. :) My son thinks bugs are a great little addition to our home, but I’m having to disagree with him on that one, unless it’s lightening bugs in a jar as a nightlight. :) Gotta love him!
    Hey, I’m having my very first giveaway if you’d like to come over to my blog and check it out. Got cute goodies!! :) Tell your friends, the more the merrier!
    Blessings to you

  14. Right now — flowers from the yard (specifically tulips) and any kind of blossom/branches!

    Fun post, Kate!

  15. Love the colorful pictures here! One of the best decorations at my wedding and more recently in my living room is spray painted branches…quick easy and free! Fabulous:)

  16. Wonderful ideas! Currently (as our house is for sale) I have a glass trifle bowl of oranges on my counter, and another large glass bowl of lemons on our kitchen table. I love the look of fresh flowers or plants-but then our cats chomp on them-and then spit them up: not a pretty sight for potential buyers.

  17. I love the idea of using citrus as decoration. I am severely allergic to fragrance so I cannot have any candles, sprays, or faux florals in the house. Citrus would definitely provide a wonderful fragrance without the fake chemicals.

  18. What beautiful ideas. i love the citrus.

    I am hosting a “Saturday is Crafty Day” party on April 24th and I’d love it if you stopped by!

  19. Lovely collages. I enjoy bringing in fresh herbs from the garden and displaying in vases and old blue Ball jars. A touch of nature can freshen up the whole room!

  20. We collect sand from every beach we visit and display in glass jars in our family room. It’s a nice reminder of fun family times.

  21. I’ve been wanting to make a succulent wreath for years. Thanks for the inspiration! I currently have a 3-tiered dessert tray on my dining room table filled with oranges and lemons. It looks great against the dark brown of the table. And it’s handy when we need a snack!

  22. I love using pinecones and acorns in the Fall. My husband thinks I’m crazy for bringing those inside but clearly there are lots of people that do the same out there!! Thanks for the inspiration…

  23. I LOVE the stone lamp! Where was that from? I checked the credit links but couldn’t find that one.

  24. Loved your photos. I love bringing “nature” indoors. Thanks for the inspiration. Love & blessings from NC!

  25. Love the inspiration photos. I tend to bring fresh cut flowers or branches indoors for that natural feeling. I am trying to grow some potted plants now and so far, no dead plants ^_^

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