Previously I discussed ways to connect with nature outdoors.  It’s wonderful to get outside and spend time with nature. Nature allows me to escape the stresses of every day life.  I feel more at peace when I am outside.  So I wanted to find a way to bring the tranquility of the outdoors into my home.  By using nature to inspire my home decor, I was able to transform my home into a private retreat.

First, I listed all the things about the outdoors that make it so appealing.  Nature is: calm, uncluttered, fresh air, the sounds, the smells, etc.  Then I tried to find ways to replicate these items in my home.  It turned out to be easier than I thought.  Read on to transform your home into your own private retreat!!


1. De-clutter

This is extremely important and the most difficult thing to do.  We tend to collect things and our homes become cluttered.  We were downsizing so we had to get rid of a lot of our things.  I didn’t realize how much my stuff was weighing me down until I started getting rid of it.

We sold the furniture and items that were in good enough condition to be sold.  We used Craigslist for that.  We also donated quite a lot of items to Goodwill.  Anything that couldn’t be sold or donated was either recycled or thrown away.  Through all of this we were able to move from a larger home (2400 sq ft.) to a much smaller home (1000 sq ft.).  We felt so free once we had less stuff!

It also became much easier to keep the house clean, even before moving to the smaller home.  All of our remaining items had a place, which made the house feel much less cluttered as well.

De-cluttering took a long time – several weeks actually.  But I was amazed at how much better I felt in the house once we didn’t have as much stuff.

For more tips on de-cluttering your home, check out this guide.


2. Find your design inspiration

I LOVE Pinterest.  I created a board called Private Retreat where I saved all of the home interiors that I liked to get ideas for the rooms in my home.  Follow John on Pinterest @timmephotos for design inspiration using John’s photos.

You can also browse John’s gallery to get design ideas.  We sell all images as either prints (which John prints himself) or digital downloads.  The benefit of purchasing a digital download is that you can then use that image to create a wide array of wall art, including canvas wall art.  One of the sites that I love for creating my own canvas wall art is Shutterfly.  If you would like detailed instructions on creating your own wall art, email me at and I will be happy to help you!

For the master bedroom, I wanted to bring nature into the room with a landscape photo.  I browsed the internet and found a beautiful 5 piece canvas print.  This is before John’s work was available or I would have used one of his photos! This photo became the centerpiece of the room’s design.

Make sure you find your design inspiration before updating any of your home decor to ensure that you only purchase items that go with your final design.


3. Update your home decor

Once you have found your design inspiration, it’s time to update your home decor.  There are very inexpensive ways to do this.

  • Buy or make pillow cases rather than buying new pillows.  Use different shades of your color scheme (for me I used green, brown and white), different textures and different patterns to update the room.
  • Buy or make a duvet cover for your comforter.  This is much less expensive than buying new bedding.  I purchased a white duvet cover from Amazon for $35.  A new white comforter was around $200.
  • For accessories, first see what you have around your home that matches the decor you want in your room.  I had a few smaller pictures and brown wicker baskets around the house that fit perfectly with the decor I wanted in the master bedroom.  Then if you still need additional items, shop at discount stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning.  These stores typically have a very inexpensive home goods and you can find great deals.
messy bedroom private retreat

Master Bedroom – BEFORE

private retreat staged room, staged bedroom

Master Bedroom – AFTER








  • Work with what you have – the master bathroom had gold trim for the shower, faucets and doors.  It was going to be very expensive to change out all of the hardware so we decided to embrace the gold.  The green, brown and white colors I was using in the master bedroom worked great with the gold so I continued that color scheme in the bathroom.  The one more expensive item we did buy was a very nice gold shower head and that only cost $75!

    messy master bathroom needs private retreat

    Master bathroom (image 2) – BEFORE

bathroom before private retreat makeover

Master bathroom (image 1) – BEFORE



private retreat staged master bathroom

Master Bathroom – AFTER


4. Add houseplants

For the final touch, I bought houseplants.  This is the most obvious way to bring nature into your home! And houseplants are naturally beautiful and bring the calm and peace of nature in.  You can also add pops of color to a room with fresh flowers.

private retreat decorations dining room


I would love to know what you do to bring nature into your home!! Please share in the comments.