Accessories are just as important outside as in, so don’t stop at furniture when creating your outdoor sanctuary. If the sun makes an appearance, use this as an opportunity to take advantage of your extra space, whether that may be a sprawling expanse of grass in the country or compact terrace in the town. It’s relatively easy to turn your garden into an outside room with a little help from a few decorative pieces; here we share some of our expert tips for accessorising your outdoor space.
COMFORT IS KEYWhen relaxing outside, maximum comfort will ensure you can remain outdoors from sunrise to sunset. If you’ve the whole arsenal of garden furniture – sofas, armchairs, footstools and more – then you already have an enviably comfortable set up, but this can be enhanced even further by adding lots and lots of cushions. Not only will cushions add an extra dimension to wooden, metal or All-Weather ‘Rattan’ furniture, they’ll also deliver a level of comfort more akin to sitting in your living room than in the open air. For smaller gardens with limited outdoor space, cushions are invaluable for creating a less formal, alternative seating area: just spread a large throw or rug on the ground (make sure you place waterproof material underneath to prevent any damp patches) then ramp up the comfort with a pile of cushions.
BE BOLD WITH COLOUR With nature as your backdrop, anything goes when it comes to colour schemes and patterns. Prints that would be overwhelming inside appear much more toned down in the great outdoors, so it’s an excellent excuse to go overboard with cushions and choose designs you might shy away from using indoors. Multi-coloured ikat cushions are ideal for summer, dusky pink and vibrant turquoise also make a great complementary summer pairing, but you can’t put a design foot wrong if you opt for the classic combination of blue and white.
THE REAL DEAL On our list of things that we love to do outside, dining al fresco comes top. Banish from your mind memories of attempting to eat food off paper plates using flimsy plastic knives and forks, and turn al fresco dining into a proper occasion by insisting on real plates, glasses and stainless steel cutlery. Drinks are always more appealing when poured from glass jugs or sipped from beautiful glassware, and using a linen tablecloth and napkins will help to create a sense of formality (not to mention that they’ll protect your table and your clothes).
EVEN MORE DECOR We’re big fans of decorative pieces inside the home and find that they can make a huge difference outside too. Archways and gazebos can help to separate and define areas of your garden whilst also serving as sculptural features. Gigantic planters – potted up with a selection of your favourite flowering perennials or even a small tree – are great if you want to introduce some greenery to a bare terrace or courtyard. A pair of decorative metal obelisks will add varying levels of height to flower beds or planters, bringing an extra dimension to the space and creating an attractive focal feature.
AFTER DARK With forward planning, there’s no need to head indoors when the sun goes down. After sunset, a selection of carefully placed hurricane lamps will help to create a magical ambience, or for more substantial lighting, you could perhaps decorate a gazebo or archway with outdoor lights. As the temperate starts to cool down later on in the evening, make sure you’ve a lightweight woollen or faux mohair throw to hand for when you start to feel chilly. Just remember to bring your accessories inside at night – we all know how prone to change the British weather can be!
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