Smart Solutions: Try a bit of glamping at home this summer

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
A glamping vignette captures the spirit of the popular trend that adds glam to the concept of camping.

You don’t have to travel far to get a taste of nature and a touch of luxury.  Just pitch a well-appointed tent in your own backyard for a more sophisticated stay in the great outdoors.

Two years ago, the current trend that adds glamour to camping for the popular pastime of glamping inspired avid traveler Terry Ellis, owner of Room Service Interior Design in Troy, to create a vignette for the Celebrations event at the Michigan Design Center.

Ellis wanted to expand upon the concept in a sensory way without sacrificing distinctive details like luxury linens. The end result, “Off the Grid: To Big Sur with Love,” featured an airy tent made from sheer fabric.

Artwork signals an upscale setting, like the landscape painting the designer commissioned that was made with metallic gold paint. Tree trunk tables found on Etsy and natural accents like geodes and river rocks pay homage to Mother Nature.

Accent rugs and cozy blankets also work well, says Ellis. Rocking chairs by the fire pit up the comfort level while a bar cart offers refreshments. A pair of binoculars perched on an open book shows what many want to do these days. “Just unplug,” Ellis says.

When outfitting your own “glampsite,” you can enhance the environment with lanterns and string lights. An old chandelier from a garage sale or thrift shop can be updated with white spray paint. “Add some flameless candles and let it hang from a tree all summer long,” Ellis says.

Glamping can be a ton of fun for little ones. Set the tone for a sleepover party with outdoor pillows and potted plants. For the tent, canvas drop cloth is an affordable option, while sheer fabric lets them see the stars at night.  

You can build your structure with PVC pipes or tie the fabric to a tree. For an indoor setup, install cup hooks on the walls to secure your tent.

With a music app like Spotify you can mimic the sounds of nature with crickets or waterfalls. Candles with a campfire scent also capture the essence when your glamping site is inside.  

Outside, Ellis says your tent can serve as an impromptu cabana. It can even be positioned on a deck that’s attached to the house for a truly special outdoor space. When spending the night, try an air mattress instead of a sleeping bag. 

As Ellis explains, the glamping trend has been influenced by millennials who like to travel. “They really want an experience, not just a luxury hotel room,” she says. “It’s about wellness, too. Glamping makes you feel good; it’s experiential and the luxury brings comfort while you’re in nature, which is so important to us right now.”

The popular concept can also be a more sustainable option. “It’s a little bit roughing it; you’re not leaving a footprint like you would in a hotel,” she adds. 

With glamping on the rise, it’s easy to see why people were attracted to her clever vignette. “They would come in and sit in a chair and say, ‘I want to go there; this is my idea of a great place to be,’” says Ellis.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at