As we edge ever closer to warmer weather, it's all I can do to resist the temptation to kick off my shoes and romp barefoot through every patch of grass I find. From manicured green lawns to tall waving beach reeds, grasses have a sensuous summertime attitude that many find highly attractive. Fortunately, a growing trend toward decorating with natural materials like grasses, leaves and reeds means that nature's bounty is nearly as plentiful indoors as out.
Dos & don'ts
DO paper walls with grasscloth in rooms where you want a natural look and tranquil atmosphere. The intricate texture lends depth and warmth to ordinary walls.
DO consider natural fibre weaves as an alternative to carpeting. Seagrass, sisal, coir, jute and rush are much in demand right now. Materials vary widely in terms of durability and stain resistance, so be sure to ask about their merits and limitations before purchasing.
DON'T choose sisal carpeting for playrooms, as the coarse texture is uncomfortable to crawl or play on. A wool or synthetic carpet that imitates the look of sisal is a better choice in this case.
DON'T install seagrass on stairs unless the grain runs parallel to the tread -- it will be too slippery otherwise.
DO admire the natural variations in colour and texture inherent in woven materials. Grasses, like any harvested material, are subject to all sorts of uncertainties, such as bad weather and poor harvesting conditions; the resulting slubs enhance the artisanal quality of the goods.
DO choose rattan or woven furniture to underscore the tropical or global feeling popular in today's modern spaces.
DON'T assume that grasscloth comes only in "natural" colours. Modern dyes produce a nearly unlimited palette, suiting a variety of contemporary rooms.
Paired with linen or patterned draperies, matchstick and bamboo blinds are perennially pleasing -- and the bonus is they're affordable.
Bamboo and matchstick blinds are ideal window coverings where draperies would take up too much wall space. Not only are blinds economical, but they're also moisture resistant and come in natural or stained finishes, making them highly serviceable. Natural finishes are typically variegated, from deep brown to pale maple.
Bamboo blinds can be mounted inside or outside the window casing. Inside mounting leaves room for a valance or draperies; outside mounting makes windows appear larger. To determine the width for an inside mount, measure in three places (near top, middle and bottom); record the narrowest width. For height, measure in three places (left, middle and right) and use the longest length. To determine the width for an outside mount, measure from the left outside edge of the frame to the right outside edge. For the height, measure from the top outside edge to the bottom outside edge. Many blinds come in stock lengths, so round off to the standard length closest to your measurement.