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January 16, 2007 > Winter Heats Up with Garden Inspired Dˇcor

Winter Heats Up with Garden Inspired Dˇcor

(ARA) - Now that the hurdle of the holidays has passed, even the most ardent winter enthusiasts can find themselves dreading the long, cold weeks between New Year's and Memorial Day. Warming up your interior dˇcor with garden-inspired looks and themes is a great way to beat winter blues.

Here are some ideas for brightening your home this winter by bringing the outdoors inside:

* Grow an Herb Garden in Your Kitchen

Windowsill herb gardens bring the outdoors in and add a splash of natural color and earthy fragrance to your home. Plus, they're a great source of fresh seasonings for your cooking. A variety of easy-to-grow pre-planted herb garden kits are available from a number of sources, from your local home and garden center, to online retail giants like Target.com and specialty Web sites such as www.herbkits.com.

* Go Grand with Your Garden Theme

For year-round inspiration, consider creating a garden room with a wall mural that brings the outdoors in. Few of us are up to hand painting our own murals, but fortunately there are alternatives.

From professional masterpieces to images of simple backyard gardens, you will find install-it-yourself wallpaper murals at www.muralsyourway.com. The company's selection of more than 140 garden-themed murals includes a blissfully peaceful Japanese garden highlighted by a waterfall, a sun-splashed Mediterranean terrace, and a Monet-inspired water garden dappled with water lilies. Murals to fit a typical size wall average $200 each.

* Brighten with Floral and Garden Accents

Floral wreaths, flower arrangements and fabrics are a simple, familiar way to add a garden touch to your home. But for those who think outside the box, there are endless opportunities to create a garden effect. Your favorite patio chair, subtly tucked into a corner of your family room, serves as extra seating and a gentle reminder of outdoor socializing.

Floral and garden designs have influenced home furnishings from coat racks to wall switch plates. Choose items that you are likely to love year-round, or that are easy to swap out as the seasons (and your tastes) change.

* Don't Leave Your Garden Gnome Out in the Cold

If you miss your favorite garden gnome, cherub sculpture or bird bath, dust it off and bring it inside the house. You can evoke the comforts of the garden by creating a display using your favorite garden ornament. Or, turn the birdbath into a unique presentation by putting an ivy plant in place of water. Watch the plant overflow the bowl all winter long.

* Sounds of the Outdoors

Our sense of hearing has a profound influence on our emotions. Whatever feelings your garden evokes - soothing, stimulating, relaxed or energized - you can recreate that mood with sound. Recordings of nature sounds, from birdsong to wind moving through tall grass, are available from a variety of sources, including Amazon.com, or check out your local music store.

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