I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only April. Berlin and much of northern Europe have been enjoying a beautiful spring with summer like weather after what seemed like a year of rain. After a long winter it’s time to take it outside.
The benefits of being outdoors in the light and fresh air are well known and essential to everyone’s health, wellbeing and let’s face it, sanity. The sidewalk cafés are full but sometimes, it’s nice to just hang out outside in your own space.
Nothing is more uplifting than being able to retreat from the world, whether it’s to a patio, deck, terrace, veranda, porch or balcony, to relax and recharge.
Even if spring is not where you are yet (almost there,Toronto!) thinking about your own fabulous outdoor space will get you in the mood.
If you’ve read my other articles you’ll know I often write about scale and proportion in terms of interior design and outdoors is no exception. No matter how large or small your space is, fewer but larger items can go a long way to creating a restful and beautiful space.
There are so many great products now available for outdoor living that you can literally create an extra room outside with furniture, lighting and accessories as well as your favourite plants and flowers. Avoid having too many small pots and bits and pieces as this can often end up just looking cluttered and confusing.
An exception here is creating a wild and charming garden atmosphere inspired by the south of france or english countryside where a slightly cluttered but charming effect is desired. Modern or whimsical, it’s up to you.
Here are some ideas and changes you can implement to take it outside and kick it up a notch.
- Some comfortable seating – it doesn’t take much, a couple of chairs and a table, a lounger, a hammock or my favourite, the outdoor sofa – genius! Add a few decorative pillows and you’re set.
- Not all shade is bad – add an umbrella.
- An outdoor carpet – I’ve yet to try this myself but love the look.
- No green thumb or time? Fake it! I have become a fan of throwing in a few fake plants in the garden after seeing how they are used to great effect on outdoor film sets. Helps to fill out the space, saves time and guaranteed to look good all year.
- Lighting – set out some large lanterns with candles, string up café lights or check out the huge variety of XL outdoor table and floor lights.
- Fewer, larger XL planters and plants – having one or a few oversized planters and plants can add a sculptural element
- Have a plan – as always in interior design, measure your space and plan out what you’d like to have to make sure it fits. Keep this plan with you when shopping in person or online.
- Colour scheme – all white or lots of colour, there’s no limit to what you can do. It can be an extension of your interiors or an opportunity to try a completely different design direction.
- Go upscale and have a pro do it for you – hire a an interior designer to design your outdoor living space or a landscape architect for professional landscaping.
- A water feature adds an acoustic element to the space and can help if you’re in an urban setting or looking to detract from unwanted noise.
- Still kind of chilly outside? Add a fire pit and and few blankets.
So get inspired to take it outside and kick it up a notch for your own uplifting outdoor retreat.