Stay­ing in for the sum­mer

Make the warmer weeks even more special, out­doors and in – four ways to turn your home into a sunny sanc­tu­ary

Kentish Express Ashford & District - East Kent Property - - INDOOR LIVING -

Go­ing away on hol­i­day is lovely, but there’s noth­ing nicer than en­joy­ing sunny days at home (no pack­ing, flight de­lays, crowds or mozzies to con­tent with).

So why not turn your home into a su­per-sum­mer des­ti­na­tion by cre­at­ing a desert-in­spired set­ting, per­haps even an out­door cin­ema, beau­ti­ful bal­cony, and chil­dren’s play area?

Here’s how to go about it…

HOTHOUSE STYLE Even if the weather’s change­able, you can turn up the heat at home with decor in­spired by the desert and trop­i­cal zones.

De­signer Abi­gail Ah­ern said: “I am ob­sessed with cacti, so I jumped at the chance of cre­at­ing my own col­lec­tion.

“My new botan­i­cals range at Deben­hams is desert-in­spired and I’ve been play­ing with scale, which is one of my trade­marks, and the re­sult is th­ese fab­u­lous jum­bo­sized faux cacti. I have them ev­ery­where in my Lon­don home, be­cause they re­ally add in­stant ‘wow’ fac­tor and are a great way to add colour, in­trigue and tex­ture to rooms.”

MOVIE ZONE Bring Hol­ly­wood into the back gar­den with your own out­door movie the­atre.

Mar­i­anne Shilling­ford, cre­ative di­rec­tor at Cupri­nol, said: “The sim­ple plea­sures of en­ter­tain­ing fam­ily and friends on a sum­mer evening doesn’t need to be com­pli­cated or ex­pen­sive to be truly epic.

“By day, a fence is just a fence, but by night, with the ad­di­tion of a plain white sheet, it can trans­form into a cin­ema screen. Add a string of lights, a wooden pal­let or two, some old cane fur­ni­ture, throw a few rugs down, and you can view in style.”

BAL­CONY BOOST Just a few stylish ad­di­tions can trans­form even a tiny pa­tio or bal­cony into an out­door haven.

Clau­dia Roberts, co-owner of new fur­nish­ings and fash­ion brand Pignut (, said: “There’s a knack to al fresco liv­ing when space is lim­ited and you’re con­fined to a bal­cony – all it takes is a lit­tle cre­ativ­ity.

“Com­fort is key. A fleece-back floor blan­ket will pro­vide ex­tra pad­ding, as will floor cush­ions – think ‘hygge’ for the great out­doors. Choose box cush­ions with handles, oil-coated table­cloths, and fake it with fab­rics – in­tro­duce colour and even wildlife with an­i­mal or bird prints, and gaily pat­terned bunting.”

PLAY AND DIS­PLAY Create a special corner for chil­dren to cap­ture and en­cour­age lit­tle imag­i­na­tions…

Mar­i­anne Shilling­ford said: “A fam­ily gar­den should be fun, ver­sa­tile and prac­ti­cal, and kids love a corner in it that they can make their own.

“This can also be a bril­liant way to brighten up a ne­glected area. Trans­form a fence into a sunny-skies out­look by us­ing Cupri­nol’s Misty Lake and then, when dry, create the clouds. With chalk, draw a cloud out­line on to a piece of card then cut out to create a tem­plate. Po­si­tion your tem­plate on the fence and draw around it with chalk.

Fill in the cloud shapes with a small paint­brush and White Daisy paint. You will need two coats.

“Get a car­pen­ter to fit a bench seat or use an old toy chest or wooden boxes.”

Pic­tures: PA Photo/Hand­out

Left, Wild­fire te­pee, £135, from the Mod­ern Nurs­ery; right, fence painted in Misty Lake and clouds in White Daisy; bench in Muted Clay and Daz­zling Yel­low, all from Cupri­nol’s Gar­den Shades Col­lec­tion

Staghorn plant, £70; small yuha cac­tus, £85; string of pearls suc­cu­lent, cur­rently re­duced to £36 from £45, and Si­nai cac­tus, cur­rently re­duced to £52 from £65, all avail­able from Abi­gail Ah­ern’s col­lec­tion at Deben­hams

Pic­ture: PA Photo/Hand­out

Bal­cony deckchair, £185, and foot­stool, £45, both avail­able from Denys and Field­ing

Pic­ture: PA Photo/Hand­out

Jacky golden yel­low gar­den floor cush­ion, £35, avail­able from Ragged Rose

Pic­ture: PA Photo/Hand­out

Fence painted with Dusky Gem, and chairs painted with Fresh Rose­mary and Laven­der from Cupri­nol’s Gar­den Shades col­lec­tion, from £14.98 for one litre

Pic­ture: PA Photo/Hand­out

Large gold­en­ball cac­tus, cur­rently re­duced to £78 from £98 at Deben­hams

Pic­ture: PA Photo/ Hand­out

Ramp up the ‘big screen’ ef­fect with an Amer­i­can Orig­i­nals pop­corn maker, £19.99, Ar­gos, and pin up a cou­ple of movie posters

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