Bringing Nature Inside: Earth, Air, Fire & Water in Interior Design

Even though we enjoy the indoors for shelter, warmth and comfort, it’s always nice to bring natural elements into interior designs to make a statement and to synchronise your home with the outside. By using natural elements and particular materials, colours and styles it is quite easy to bring in touches of earth, air, fire and water, making any home design pop.

When considering room design it is a good idea to choose 3 or 4 colours to work with, and picking materials that match the feel of the room. Try to use an accent colour in rooms with paler colours to prevent a washed-out look.



Materials: Try to bring in wood and stone elements in flooring, furniture or additions. Oak and darker woods are more emotive of earth and give a rich, opulent feel, but if your room is quite small, or you prefer a lighter feel, then use pine and other light woods instead as dark colours can be oppressive in a small space.

Furnishing: Solid and structured furniture with strong lines, especially in dark woods incorporating slate or stone. For example, a simple table with glass top and stones underneath brings in the idea of earth as a foundation. Darker coloured furniture, like this dark grey solid sofa with stocky little legs, is ideal as the hard lines are like rock.

Additions: Put some stones or pebbles on display, for example this candle with pebble base brings in stone whilst being elegant and stylish. Using rich colours in a pale room, or pale colours in a rich room, will give a good contrast and stop the room from being oppressive.



Materials: using glass and metallic accents gives an airy feel, and is especially good for small spaces as glass won’t detract from other colours and styles, whilst also being a poignant feature piece. Glass also looks the colour of the items behind, so place over a rug or against a coloured wall to boost the colour presence. If you are going for wooden flooring, use a paler colour wood to brighten the room.

Furnishings: try to find simple furniture with flowing lines (much like water) in pale colours, perhaps with metallic elements like this sofa, which brings in curved, flowing lines and metallic feet. By bringing in rose gold as a metal finish in some elements of the room, a little warmth can be added.

The use of mirrors is also key to give a spacious effect to a room – this can also be tied in with additions to the room, perhaps in lighting or fittings as well as mirrors on the wall. Get creative!

Additions: bringing glass into items around the room, such as glass lighting surrounds/chandeliers, as well as mirror elements to make the space feel larger.



As an element, fire is very emotive and gives a strong presence to a room. This is normally used as an accent or feature concept, as an entirely red room could be overbearing and mentally tricky to be in! However, the warmth and energy that colours in the palette offer is great for a cosy room as much as a kitchen or bathroom, and if contrasted well (for example, using white) then a red room can be a bright, bold statement – like this bedroom. Fire is associated again with flowing shapes, but don’t shy away from hard lines as this still works – try interesting shapes for an energised effect.

if you like wooden flooring, go for the darker woods, though use of carpet will give a much broader range of colour options to match to your red features. There are no particular materials that are best to use, fire is more of a colour concept. Metals will reflect the red colours at certain angles, dancing on the metal as you move around the room and giving a great feeling of fire.

Colours: red, clearly! Using red on a feature wall can be a bold choice, but carefully chosen contrasting elements being placed against the wall (mirrors, sofas, tables) will soften a harsh colour. If your red elements are not in flooring or walls, then using contrast colours, such as white. Green is the complimentary colour for red, but be careful as you don’t want a permanent Christmas feel. Use a pale green with a dark red to balance the strong colour combination, perhaps through plants in pale coloured pots.

Furnishings: If you are bringing in red through furnishing, use strong, statement pieces to give energy to the room. A red table and lamp can be a great way to brighten up a room in fire fashion without being too bold.

Additions: red additions add a real splash of colour in a pale or simple room. Accent pieces, like cushions, lamps and bowls are ideal for a living room, and a bed scarf/bed runner, pillow or curtains can be great in a bedroom. Kitchen splashbacks, utensils and kettles can be a great way to add colour too as kitchens can be a cold environment. Add some actual fire with a statement fireplace or candles which match the colour scheme.


Water: table with river effect Water

Water is a flowing, curving, powerful concept to bring into a room. Just like air, a seamless flow is ideal for a water element room, with lots of light and reflections using calming colours – just like the sea or a trickling stream.

Materials: soft textured fabrics and carpets are ideal for water. Tie your chosen materials in across the room to give flow.

Furnishings: try to find furniture that has smooth curves and flowing lines, with no element of the room drawing attention hugely over another. These drop-shaped chairs are ideal, with a soft colour and edges bringing a flow to the room.

Additions: mirrors, glass and metallic pieces will bring light and flow to the room, and reflect like water. Water itself is also a good addition – adding some feature to the room using water makes a clear connection. A ‘water wall’ is an ideal piece for an open kitchen area if budget is no issue. Something small, like this metallic and blue glass bowl, can be equally effective, especially in a small space.