If you’ve been seduced by all the peonies at the farmer’s market, roses at the flower shops, and succulents on your Instagram feed, we’ve got the design book for you: stylist and author Selina Lake’s gorgeous, hugely inspirational Botanical Style. “People have always loved having plants indoors, but the trend’s gotten bigger and bigger,” Lake says. “I think it’s because people want natural things in their homes — it’s another complement to eco living, clean living, and eating healthily.”
For Lake, that love for plants goes way back — to a childhood filled with family trips to public gardens and tours of lush, landscaped estates. “My nana was very into planting and gardening as well; she used to take me down to her garden shed and talk me through what she was propagating. That’s perhaps what kicked things off for me.”
To welcome the book’s release, we spoke to the author (who took time out from a rainy holiday in Marbella) about the five styles she breaks down in her book — Natural, Vintage, Boho, Industrial, and Tropical — and how to achieve each of them at home.
“This is perhaps the easiest botanical style to achieve,” Lake says. “At home, I have white floors and white walls — you really don’t have to do much at all.” Think tones of wood (furniture), white (walls and floors), and green (plants). “One easy thing is to buy a natural woven basket for your plant and its planter — often when you get a plant you’ll just leave it in the planter it came with. But it’s so easy to get something to enhance it.”
Interior Elements: Textiles with simple, stylized greenery prints; woven planter baskets; raw wood furnishings and tree stump decor; oversize glass jars; vintage illustrations and specimen art; natural materials like linen, cotton and leather.
Plant Picks: Cut branches (with or without blooms); dried seed pods, berries, and cotton plants; trailing mint; ivy.
“The tropical style seems to come back around every summer,” says Lake. “It’s the perfect look if you live somewhere that’s sunny all the time — or if you’re just craving that summery mood.” For this style, focus on palm tree prints, bursts of tropical color amongst the greenery, and fun extras like peacocks, pineapples, and hits of neon.
Interior Elements: Palm tree prints on wallpaper or textiles; furniture and accents in wood, rattan, wicker and cane; saturated colors and neon; large-scale prints; bold, bright planters.
Plant Picks: Palms of all varieties; orchids and other bromeliads; banana leaf; giant taro; vibrant tropical flowers.
“Vintage is floral and pinks and pretty flowers,” says Lake, who adds that it’s one of the more affordable aesthetics to assemble. “If you’re lucky, you can go to a charity shop, have a good root around, and find some old floral tablecloths, ceramics and vases, and start getting this look together on a budget,” she says. Flowers are key: Pick them up at a flower market rather than a florist, or simply purchase flowering plants that can fill a windowsill all summer long.
Interior Elements: Soft pastel colors; delicate or ditzy floral prints; vintage tea tins, china, enamel pitchers, serving trays, bud vases and tea cups (which can double as tiny planters, too); needlepoint and embroidered table linens and textiles; pressed flowers; vintage botanical books and prints; floral wreaths.
Plant Picks: Wildflowers and garden roses.
It helps to have a living space with sympathetic bones if you’re hoping to create an industrial look. “It’s the hardest style to tackle unless you live in a [converted] warehouse or an industrial-looking building,” Lake says. Still, textured accessories, such as concrete planters, weathered metal vessels, and rustic wood planter boxes do the job nicely. As for the botanicals: “The look is definitely about the plants really being quite green — a collection of different greenery,” she says.
Interior Elements: Retro educational charts; concrete, wood, or galvanized-metal planters; black and white botanical prints; science lab glassware and vintage bottles; terrariums.
Plant Picks: Dried globe artichoke flowers; ferns; succulents; moss.
“Boho is definitely all about pattern,” says Lake, who achieved a particularly beautiful effect by layering vintage floral postcards and paintings above a bed. “Some of the paintings were painted by my nana,” she says. “It’s nice to use things you already own, perhaps made by the creative people in your life.” Practically speaking, achieving a deeply textured boho look takes time: “It’s not something you can go out one day and just create on the spot — expect to source pieces from fairs or Etsy. And everyone’s boho is different — it’s about what you’re personally drawn to.”
Interior Elements: Printed scarves stitched into pillows; layered patterns with dark or jewel-tone florals in large-scale prints; fringed and embroidered textiles; colored glass vases; macrame; hanging plants.
Plant Picks: Spider plants; pampas grass; fiddle leaf fig; philodendron; poppies; foxglove; globe amaranth.
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