It’s official. Summer is here. Is your home ready? Or does it need some primping – and perhaps a bargainous purchase or two?
Zhuzh your outdoor space (yep, even the teeniest tiniest one)
I am in my favourite writing spot: at the table by the french doors in my kitchen. The little one is abed, the evening sun is playing on the wall behind me, and the scent of jasmine is wafting through the open doors. (Joanna Archer designed our teeny London courtyard garden and she did such a wonderful job. Our brief was rather vague ‘a child-friendly cottage garden’ and this year her planting scheme has really come into its own (with a little help from me – and my parents, who planted sweetpeas which clamber up a trellis next to the back door. We returned from holiday to find them in takeover mode: heaven. I love it, aside from the shady bed – my nemesis – any suggestions?)
I’ve written before about our love of eating al fresco at the merest waft of warm-enough weather. I don’t think this needs to be complicated. Even a little bistro table and chairs on a balcony works: just string some fairy lights (or even paper lanterns – as per the picture above – for an occasion) on the hedge/wall/fence/in a tree; set up a hurricane lamp; throw a cloth over the table – and you have yourself supper for two. My brother and his girlfriend have a little flat which they have completely renovated. It is something of a find for London as it has not one but two terraces (including a roof terrace). Their small terrace has a jaunty table and chairs, sun loungers, lights and even some cheery strings of flowers – and it’s a magical place. (Follow Anti on Instagram to catch the occasional glimpse.)
Get the look
We’ve just bought the bistro set above from Homebase (in stone – which is not on the website, but is in store – and looks a lot more expensive than it was. It has really upped the style ante in our garden. The blue is gorgeous, too – I love the coastal vibe.)
Or bring the outside in
Are you currently gnashing your teeth saying, “Look, it’s all very well for you with your garden [a term I would use loosely] but I have no outdoor space to speak of. Nada. Not a balcony or a courtyard. Nothing but a windowsill.” Well, my friends, bring the outside in. Flowers are never cheaper than they are now – so buy them in armfuls and festoon your home with floral arrangements. Swap your usual cushions for a summery delight. Or make that windowsill sing with some flowers – or how about a herb or salad window box: beautiful and practical.
You know, of course, that wallpaper is well and truly back in vogue. We should forget the feature wall (apparently) and go for a whole room. Even if that’s your downstairs cloakroom. For the timid, try papering the inside of your wardrobe, or cupboard, or shelves – for a pop of botanical cheer whenever you open said cupboard door.
Happy summer-ising your homes!