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French for "false wood," faux bois is a fitting name for items that appear plucked from the forest but are actually made of cast stone, cast iron, or cement, or are painted to have a woodsy look. Although earthy and rustic, faux bois makes a splendid match for polished pieces. For instance, a pail made of concrete is dainty enough to hold a lady's slipper orchid.
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Food comes in such a delightful range of colors, shapes, and textures, it's a natural touch point for design inspiration. These striped ice pops would make a perfect summery palette for a rug or upholstered piece of furniture. Look to your favorite foods to see how they can inform your decorated spaces.
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Florals have always been a popular source for design inspiration. Why? They are a great vehicle for color and pattern in a space. Here, a room's paneled walls are accented with a floral paper. The fluidity of a floral print plays off the structure of molding for a fresh, unexpected look. Plus, there are few (if any) seams to match up. Go for a pattern featuring a medium-size flower head, and paint the bordering woodwork the same color as one of the strongest hues in the paper.
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With a nod to chinoiserie furniture, passionflower vines, pressed and sprayed gold, top a Shaker tray table painted a high-gloss royal blue.
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Birds, with their graceful presence, have long been an animal of choice to bring into a space. This quilt's dainty details of embroidery, with their interlocking loops of silky thread, perfectly capture the light-as-air quality that birds embody.
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Shining in the sand like so many emeralds, sapphires, opals, and bits of amethyst and aquamarine, the burnished shards, known as sea glass, look as if they might have been emptied from a treasure chest anchored to the ocean floor. These treasures are a perfect accent for a summery space. Sea-glass pieces and ceramic shards, another beach find, can be combined in a Calder-esque mobile, producing a charming effect when hung by a window.
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The garden is ripe with decorative inspiration. There’s plenty to choose from in botanical-themed artwork, upholstery, carpets, china, and more. Indeed, nature lovers have seen their passions planted in decor for millennia, including in precious Chinese damask traded along the Silk Road, Audubon-influenced furnishings of the Victorian era, and over-the-top floral motifs favored by many contemporary designers.
Capture silhouettes from the garden for a decorate-it-yourself wooden screen. This tri-paneled model features framed leaf outlines, which can be rotated to celebrate the seasons. Both pretty and practical, screens go anywhere in a home, creating instant botanical backdrops or delineating a room-within-a-room, such as a dressing area.
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Old and worn road maps and ocean charts can be salvaged and used not only for adorning walls, but for wrapping gifts or lining trays. Color photocopies are an inexpensive method of making similar wrapping paper from your favorite specimens.
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The scallop shell's iconic shape turns pillows into inspired accessories. The linen covers can be store-bought or hand-sewn.
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Cool, crisp, and classically American, stripes can easily become the stars of your home. They are strong enough to make a statement, but subdued enough to pair with other patterns.
It's stripes on stripes: Paint shelves with chalkboard paint in a color different from the wall for a linear look. These shelves have chalk-drawn lines along the edges. Displaying white items emphasizes the graphic effect.