Even the smallest apartments can be transformed by bringing in a little exterior influence. Miami-London architect and designer Natalia Miyar had revealed some of her favorite methods for bringing the outdoors in.  ‘Post pandemic we continue to spend a lot of our time living and working at home and therefore we need these spaces to work harder for us. I have always gravitated towards the outdoors – particularly the electric blue shades of the sky and sea in Miami and the countryside greens of England. I love the interplay between the inside and outside and think it’s important that the two are connected’.  Here, she shares her interior design tips for creating the perfect room that works both inside and out.

1. Choose biophilic design 

The serenity a verdant garden brings to an outdoor space can easily be translated into an indoor space, even for those living in the city.  Natalia recommends using large planters of tall hedges to create a sense of seclusion, and for those with a courtyard garden she suggests ‘an abundance of oversized pots with tropical greenery is an easy way to change the atmosphere of a space.’  Inside, tall ceilings can be further accentuated with indoor plants and trees to create a feature even in the smallest spaces or the ceiling opened up completely to create an internal courtyard garden.

2. Mix furniture and fabrics inside and out

Natalia suggests abandoning the rule book around which fabrics and furniture should be used indoors and which should be kept for the outside. Instead she advocates taking a playful approach to outdoor spaces, prioritizing comfort and good design.  ‘I don’t usually choose a set of all matching furniture: mismatched seating around a dining table for instance, creates a much more eclectic look. Layer a sofa or a lounger with cushions in pattered fabrics to create an inviting, relaxed spot.’  For larger casual gathering, pile up pretty oversized indoor cushions and arrange rugs from inside the house on the grass. At the Mediterranean house pictured above, Natalia used striking architectural fins to give shade to the outside terrace. The architecture and styling the space work in harmony to create a feeling of light and openness.

3. Carry pattern from indoors, out

Using wallpaper outside is a great way to continue an indoor theme outdoors. The same effect can be achieved by carrying on floor tiles from one room to the outside, often creating the illusion of a larger space in the process.

4. Consider al fresco dining

Dressing a dinner table outside affords all kinds of opportunities to bring natural, earthy elements to the setting by incorporating details such as a linen table cloth and napkins, just-picked springs of herbs and flowers from the garden, and natural rope glass holders.  Lighting is also important to set the mood as the sun goes down. Natalia says: ’ Just as indoors, a variety of light sources at different levels results can really pull an outdoor scheme together. Clusters of church candles in large floor-sanding glass lanterns work really well, paired with tea lights on the table and string lights hung from the trees.’

5. Create indoor-outdoor spaces

For a contemporary Mediterranean villa , Natalia created a snug / movie room, with a retractable wall – perfect for rainy day gatherings with friends with wallpaper by Miami based company Preppy Pimp (opens in new tab). ‘For the snug, I chose summery blue and white linen print for the upholstery and walls, which ties in with the colors and the pool outside.’