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Bring the Outdoors In to Create a Nature-Inspired Home

Nature-Inspired Sink From the soothing flow of a mountain stream to the majestic beauty of thousand-year-old rock formations, few things have the power to relax or inspire like Mother Nature. Now, as more homeowners seek to turn their homes into havens, those enchanting colors and rich textures of earthy materials are moving indoors to become the inspiration for one of the hottest trends in home design.

Whether you want to create a peaceful refuge or just appreciate the simple beauty of natural materials, there's no better place to showcase your style than in the kitchen or bathroom. The rich textures and serene colors of natural motifs provide the perfect backdrop for homes throughout the country, says Jeff Pratt, vice president of sales for Danze, a manufacturer of decorative plumbing products.

"Everyone needs a place to relax and 'turn off' the pressures of daily life. Today's variety of nature-inspired materials makes it easier than ever to turn a utilitarian room into a luxurious hideaway," Pratt says. "This trend is becoming especially popular in kitchen and bathroom design. From dramatic, stone vessel sinks to faucets and showerheads that emulate a tranquil river or rainfall, there are limitless opportunities to create a calming aura."

If you're looking to design a room with natural appeal, Pratt suggests these simple tips that draw their inspiration directly from the four elements.

Earth — Engage the senses and invite guest to explore their surroundings through the use of subdued colors and organic textures. Embrace the subtle imperfections of wood cabinets or stone tiles or countertops to bring an elegant but durable earthiness to your space. Colors from nature ranging from airy shades of sky blue to rich shades of cattail brown will bring warmth to the room, while accents of earth-inspired fabrics such as those that mimic the feel of woven wood or a sea grass rug add a sense of calm and simple functionality.

Water — Faucets and their finishes can dramatically impact the personality of a room. With the wide variety of styles and finishes there are countless options to complement natural materials. Look for faucets with organic-inspired shapes and soft finishes like distressed bronze or distressed nickel to add depth and warmth to the room.

Air — Well-placed casement windows can not only add a sense of spaciousness, they will also capture fresh air or guide gentle breezes. Try using windows to blur the line between outside and in. If you need window treatments for privacy, keep them simple so they won't detract from the outdoor scenery and will blend with the color palate inside. Look for shades made of organic materials such as bamboo, or opt for sheer panels over heavy fabric drapes.

Fire — Nothing is more soothing or inviting than a room flooded with sunlight. Draw light in and warm your space by incorporating skylights or awning windows that direct light throughout the room without sacrificing privacy. If your room has no windows, recreate the feel of sunlight with multiple light fixtures matched to the finish of your faucets.