Now that summer has officially arrived, I thought I'd share a few ideas for summer living to make your outside area, however big or small, as user-friendly as possible over the warmer months to maximise the time you spend outdoors.
It's set to be a long hot summer, when it finally decides what it's doing... so now is a good time to prep your outside space now and turn it into a haven to escape into after work for a sundowner, or a weekend BBQ with friends... or just somewhere to unwind and listen to the birds singing or the city humming.
I'm going to shy away from the big furniture items and focus instead on the smaller details you can add easily and quickly for maximum impact.
First up- if you have space, an outdoor rug. I'm seeing them a lot lately. Usually made from recycled plastic, they're tough enough to stand some weathering but soft enough to add an extra layer of comfort underfoot on those hot patios! They look great and make a space feel like an extension of your living area. Throws are also great for creating a 'homely' feel to an outside space, and they come in handy if the cloud comes in or the wind picks up (hot tip: Dunelm have some in their sale online at the moment). Just add some scatter cushions for a lovely relaxed boho vibe.
If you have a young family and you need some added shade, try hauling your child's tipi out doors! Pop it on a picnic blanket as protection and you can dash in and out as the sun gets too warm. And the kids can stay outside for longer without burning in that midday sun- they look nice too!
For a lovely whimsical feel, dig out the bunting to waft in the breeze. The White Company bunting is plain but hardwearing and will last for years. Tie to trees, along fences, balconies and sills.
Now is the time to plant up your Pots, baskets and troughs to add a touch of colour, and this works however big or small your space. Galvanized and terracotta pots can add a nice eclectic feel. Plant then with lavender for a calming colour and gentle scent. Or try a herb garden... rosemary, thyme and mint all give off gloriously summery scents and you can use them in the kitchen and in drinks too. These are great on balcony's and need minimal care- just a little water.
Candles in the evening keep the mossies at bay. Pop them into some lanterns for and spread them around for a romantic vibe at dusk.
Al Fresco dining is of course key to the summer living experience. Paper plates are great but if you want to impress guests with a summer dining experience, try an outdoor dining set. The supermarkets have come up trump this year with many offering really stylish sets which will be handy year after year. Or if you're feeling brave, gather together your odd plates and bowls and even those 'save for best' dining sets to really make an impact- this is what memories are made of.
Shop for glassware at charity shops for an eclectic mix that will add style and a bit of old-fashioned glamour to your table- and you might not mind so much if one gets smashed.
And to serve your food- try wooden chopping boards as serving platters. Wab Home supply some amazing boards that are hard wearing and I guarantee you will be using them all year round for years to come.
Finally, just add family and friends (and pets) for good times!
Photography: Curly Fishtree | The Fresh Exchange | The White Company | Lights 4 Fun | Not On The High Street | Elle | Quitokeeto
I am a PR and Marketing Consultant by trade, having spent the last 20 years honing my skills in the corporate world working in TV, Gaming, the travel industry and management consultancies. I still run a consultancy, specialising in small businesses and brands and really enjoy helping independent businesses to make a name for themselves in the public arena.
However, I am also passionate about all things interiors! And last year launched a new venture which aims to make it easier for shoppers to find unique products from small brand owners and creatives by curating the best of Instagrams small businesses to bring shoppers beautiful brands all under one roof.
I love searching out new brands; working with them and giving them another platform help raise awareness. But most of all, I just love interiors. I could scroll through magazines and websites looking at all the beautiful home-wares, all day long.
I've had this passion since I was a child, leafing through the latest Grattan catalogue at the home section, and then getting all giddy at the prospect of a trip to Habitat- for a treat.
These days I'm always on the look out for items for our converted Victorian coach house. There's always something to fix and faff about with. We've replaced drains, re wired, added log burners, replaced floorboards, insulated, plastered, painted, sanded, and grafted... the list goes on! But nothing gives me greater pleasure than finding new cushion covers, or a new rug. It's these details that really make a house a home.
And so I hope to bring a little of my passion to you, to share the things I've found on my endless searches, and to help inspire any other interiors fans.