It’s finally summer and there’s nothing nicer than opening all the doors and windows and allowing the sunshine in. But in the UK the weather is never guaranteed, so we need to get creative when it comes to making the most of the season. Here’s a few ideas to help you bring the outdoors in:
Enhance your home with natural daylight
Light is an important aspect to consider, because natural daylight gives us a lift. So to ensure we get its full benefit, use mirrors and even light reflecting paint on the walls to bounce sunlight around the room. Avoid heavy curtains – blinds or lightweight voile panels may be a better option.
Roof windows can be beneficial for increasing light levels, but if you really want to connect with nature, why not consider installing bifold doors? Not only do they allow significantly more light in, compared to ordinary doors and windows, they are perfect for providing a seamless link between inside and out. Whether leading out onto a patio, garden or balcony, they can add value and extra appeal to your home, whilst giving a special feeling of lightness and space that you don’t get with a traditional French or patio door. This is because of their minimal design – and when opened fully they provide an unrivalled, frameless view.
Take cues from nature
When we live in harmony with nature we are at our happiest. So aim to create an inviting space that includes aspects from the natural world. Having flowers and plants around the place is an obvious choice, but you could go a step further and create an amazing living wall; this is essentially a vertical garden inside the home and it looks amazing! You could introduce a water feature like a tank of exotic fish for a further natural element.
In nature, there is always texture, so incorporate different natural materials into the home; this could be a bamboo cabinet or chairs, a wooden side table, woven grass rugs or a stone floor. Driftwood bowls or glass jars containing shells make nice decorative elements and a pine or floral scented candle can add an extra sensory dimension. If you are excited by bold design and pattern, animal prints can provide a great nod to the more exotic and wild outdoors. Look for lamp shades in zebra stripes and leopard print accessories!
Blur the lines
A good trick is to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living, so mirror decorative details both inside and out e.g. planters that spill out from the house into the garden or strings of indoor/outdoor fairy lights. Lots of people like to use the same floor tiles both in the house and out on the patio to give a flow of continuity. As mentioned earlier, bifold doors are a great way to merge the two spaces, but there are other things you can do. For example, all weather furniture can suit the garden or indoor living space – there are some really stylish waterproof rattan sofas and chairs, with rain resistant cushions, which look just as at home in the conservatory as they do on a wooden deck. A lot of this furniture and trendy indoor/outdoor rugs are fabricated from recycled plastic (like these from Ferm Living made from plastic bottles).
Any kind of shelter is a good idea, for example a retractable patio awning, a garden umbrella or parasol. Gazebos are another great invention when it’s pleasant enough to be outside, but you need to keep the drizzle off! It’s a nice idea to hang a hammock or trendy hanging chair by the threshold between the two areas – and when socialising, a rolling bar cart can be wheeled in or out as a fun extra element.
Have you ever considered building an outdoor kitchen? If you love to entertain, creating a permanent outdoor kitchen is another way to enjoy your garden and smudge the lines between indoor and outdoor living.
Let colour guide you
Colour can really affect our mood and a lot of it is about personal preference. Enhance the flow from your living space to the garden by incorporating similar colours which will provide harmony. You may be drawn towards a natural, soothing palette of more muted tones from nature, such as earthy browns and sun-bleached greys. Or alternatively you might prefer mood-enhancing brights, including vivid greens, which will really work to bring the outdoors in. Add some leafy touches to your home decor that match the outdoor view. There are some amazing jungle-style designs available in wallpaper or wall prints, which will echo the beauty of the plants and greenery outside.
Outdoor paint is a quick and transformative way to spruce up sheds, fences and outdoor furniture to create continuity between the two spaces. And if you echo the same colours in your rugs, cushions and throws inside the home, they will connect more to the outdoors and make both spaces seem seamless.
Use lights effectively
You can continue to bring the outdoors in even during the evening with the use of outdoor lights. Use lights outside for your enjoyment, whether you’re sitting beneath them or appreciating the twinkling view from inside. Wrap string lights around a tree base and illuminate architectural plants and garden features to make the most of them. You might like to try coloured lights for a pretty effect, or opt for solar powered ones. Candles and lanterns inside and out look pretty and help to extend the living space further. Keep a supply of citronella candles on standby, though, so as not to encourage the bugs to come inside. A firepit or patio heater is a nice way to keep yourself and guests cosy well into the evening.