Lifestyle: On the nature trail

Woodland pheasant plate, �18.50; side plate, �15; soup plate, �18.50, Spode. PA Photo/Handout.
Woodland pheasant plate, �18.50; side plate, �15; soup plate, �18.50, Spode. PA Photo/Handout.
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If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of an interiors surprise!

A little woodland spirit is essential for super-stylish autumn interiors. Gabrielle Fagan gathers some forest-inspired finds to make you feel at home with the great outdoors.

Nature is inspiring decor, and a veritable menagerie of creatures, from stags to foxes, is ‘running wild’ in on-trend rooms.

“It’s the decorative equivalent of a cosy night in with a steaming mug of hot chocolate,” says Amanda Fox, creative director for The Handpicked Collection, of the theme.

“Woodland motifs bring the wild side in. In the summer, it’s a great look because it blurs the boundaries between the home and garden. In autumn and winter you might not always feel like gambolling in the freezing cold, but some tactile and beautiful pieces made of wood, or evoking woodland, help you feel part of the natural world.

“And let’s not forget that woodlands are secretive places where magic happens. A little bit of mystery in the home is no bad thing!”

The trend shows no sign of slowing, she adds, pointing out that evoking the natural world in our homes helps us feel less mass-produced, and more at one with nature.

“This is such an easy-to-live-with look which can be interpreted in classic manor house style, or by taking a more modern, chic approach which just hints at the great outdoors,” notes interior designer Joanna Wood.

“To achieve a stylish woodland feel in your home, use rural colours and natural motifs. Try neutral shades such as heather, tan and chestnut or bolder tones like berry red, lake blue, lichen green or lavender violet.

“If you’re hoping to achieve a more modern touch, mix in mustard yellow and cooking-apple green as accent colours.”

You’ve truly been living in the wilderness if you haven’t noticed that those kings of the forest - stags - are a must-have accessory, either as a faux mounted head, or emblazoned on cushions and throws.

Smaller furry creatures - foxes, squirrels, hedgehogs - are just as fashionable, but if you want to create a truly traditional countryside look, include pheasants, partridges and owls too.

Nature’s come a-knocking - it’s time to open your door to all creatures great and small and create your own woodland hideaway...

Classic country

Hunting lodge style is wooing those yearning for a snug but up-market, rural hideaway, no matter where they live.

“Tartan rugs and throws, currently so fashionable, offer an instant Scottish highland feel,” advises Wood.

“Add personality by hanging a mix of pictures together, vintage photographs alongside a beautiful oil landscape, or a scenic print, to create a refined feature wall.

“For a touch of added luxury, bring in fur cushions and leather furniture and you’ll have a perfect setting. All you need to do then is curl up on in front of a roaring fire.”

Creature comforts:

Young designer Lisa Bliss has created Stag or Fox Print wallpaper, £125 a roll, from Graduate Collection, and either paper would look brilliant on a feature wall. Matching cushions, £45 each.

Incorporate tartan with a Radlett Chair in a Tor Plaid fabric, from £384.30, Marks & Spencer, which also has an appropriate Stag Frame Wall Art print, £35, and Stag cushions from £12.

Spode’s Woodland china is decorated with a variety of birds including pheasants and could be hung on a wall. Dinner Plate, £18.50.

Bag a trophy (without firing a shot) with Debenhams’ Dark Red Heritage Stag Bedding Set, from £50. Follow the theme with a cross-stitched Deer Cushion, £49, BoConcept.

Hunt down a bargain: You don’t need a ‘lord of the manor’ budget to achieve the look; there are plenty of stylish steals to be snapped up, like an Antler 5 light, £110, and a Pheasant Print Cushion, £14, both from Next.

A collection of fir cones, and a Woodland Retreat Acorn Doorstop, £10.99, Dunelm would be perfect finishing touches.

Cool country

Pared-back country style is a world away from rustic and folksy, and has its origins in sleek Scandinavian decor which relies on subtle shades and texture to achieve a serene, get-away-from-it-all effect.

“The dappled light on a woodland floor reveals a natural tapestry or organic shades which delight the senses and look wonderful in interior decoration,” says Marianne Shillingford, design director of Dulux Design Service.

“Colours inspired by fallen leaves, lichen-covered bark and forest fruits are the inspiration for wall and furniture shades. These will create rooms with a flavour of the wild woods and capture the peaceful essence of being surrounded by trees.”

She suggests colours such as Olive Branch, Soft Maplewood 2, Auburn Leather and Ochre Weave from Dulux.

“Those will blend with natural wood furniture, simple dyed linen and woollen accessories, and use lamps to bring soft, dappled light to a room,” she says.

Creature comforts:

Sylvan woodland is depicted on Bark-Heath wallpaper, £42 a roll, in the impressive range of papers at Little Greene. Make a statement with a Modern White Round Antler Table, £495, Alexander & Pearl, or have fun by plundering designer Abigail Ahern’s quirky animal-focused Edition accessories range at Debenhams. A Grey Hare Lamp topped with a bright red shade, £85.

Magpie has a set of two dinner plates, featuring a fox and a hare, £26, in its Beasties collection.

Informality is at the heart of this look, and a Mr Stag Round Floor Cushion, from £120, Voyage Maison, fits the bill for casual seating. Alternatively, bring life to a tired sofa with a couple of Sanderson Squirrel And Dove Cushions, £40 each, John Lewis.

Hunt down a bargain: Simply give a nod to woodland with a Stag Wall Sticker in Dark Grey, £9.95, Cuckooland.com. Asda’s crisp photo-image Leaf and Reindeer Print Cushions look super-expensive but are only £7 each.