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
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 (pignut.co.uk), 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.”
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
Balcony deckchair, £185, and footstool, £45, both available from Denys and Fielding
Jacky golden yellow garden floor cushion, £35, available from Ragged Rose
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
Large goldenball cactus, currently reduced to £78 from £98 at Debenhams
Ramp up the ‘big screen’ effect with an American Originals popcorn maker, £19.99, Argos, and pin up a couple of movie posters