Make the most of the arrival of spring – when it happens soon I hope – by merging the boundaries between your home and garden. Whether it is a stylish orangery or a Miami-inspired patio area, use nature as your inspiration for a fresh, new look.
Gone are the times when the home and garden were separate entities. These days, homeowners often view their outdoor space as an extension of their home, with as much emphasis and thought given to its ‘décor’ as is given to the inside of the house. Meanwhile, the latest interior trends continue to reflect the natural world in the use of botanical prints, florals and the rise in popularity of a green and yellow colour palette. Doing away with the boundary between house and home – be it through a design ethos or by literally opening up your house to the garden – is a trend that is eminently stylish as well as having the ability to increase the value of your property.
ROOMS FOR GROWTH
Conservatories, orangeries and garden rooms are excellent ways of giving a home more space with relatively small investment. These ‘add-ons’ are also natural areas in which to reflect the great outdoors.
Conservatories, for instance, have come a long way from the once charmless, PVC structures of the 1980s. Having one is an easy way to extend the footprint of your home and modern-day versions can provide versatile spaces, which can be adapted to your needs. Whether it’s used as an extension to a kitchen or as a den for teenagers, a conservatory can mold to the changing requirements of a growing family.
Quayside Conservatories (01502 714512; www.quayside-conservatories.co.uk) is a company supplying stylish hardwood orangeries, garden rooms and conservatories in a variety of colours. It reports a growing demand for its products.
Caroline Topping, marketing manager, comments: “We’ve seen an increasing number of people wanting to extend their homes by adding on a conservatory or orangery. They are aspirational because it is a stylish way to improve the home. They also come in such a variety of styles that we can adapt to every period of house. Whether you choose an orangery or conservatory, they can open up a home to the garden and are very practical in adding more space to a home without the need for moving.”
Featuring more brickwork than conservatories, and extra investment in terms of money and building works, orangeries are the luxury option. With their typically large windows and glass roofs, however, they still give an emphasis to the outside.
With over 25 years experience, Westbury Garden Rooms (01245 809 287; www.westburygardenrooms.com) based in Essex, has established a reputation for offering bespoke, hand-crafted orangeries (see images above).
Managing director, Jonathan Hey, sings their praises: “Having an orangery creates a flow to the house and gives the feeling of being connected to the garden without actually having to go outside. The light, open space naturally draws people towards it and, we are always told by clients, how the space becomes the new hub of the home.”
Having a glass structure added to your home, it is important to invest in practical window treatments – that will make the most of the room and will not obscure your view.
Window films, as supplied by The Window Film Company (020 3603 2386; www.windowfilm.co.uk), can keep the glare of the sun out and keep costs down. Highlight individual panes of glass with pretty, jewel-coloured styles for a stained-glass look, or use etched designs on half the height of the window to give privacy but to still allow light to flood in.
Shutters, on the other hand, are a practical choice all year round. Shutterly Fabulous models come in a range of colours – including vibrant greens and the latest ombré designs (0845 017 8988; www.shutterlyfabulous.com).
Shuttercraft Cambridge (01223 581339; www.shuttercraft-cambridge.co.uk) also supplies a range of window shutters in hundreds of colours and style options.
“A conservatory is a fine way of bridging the home and garden,” says Ryan Jarvis, managing director of Shuttercraft. “Naturally sunny and with views over the outdoor space, they can be made into inviting rooms year round, but really come into their own in the spring and summer months. Using shutters on windows is a stylish way to make the space practical – keeping the sun out on hot days and making it cosy on cooler ones. We have a wide range of shutters on offer including a bespoke option, to fit all styles of house. Shutters are very much on trend at the moment – offering aesthetic benefits as well as being extremely versatile window dressings.”
The move towards bi-fold doors, instead of traditional French options, is another trend that allows the garden and home to become seamlessly joined, especially in warmer months. Matt Higgs, sales director at Cambridgeshire-based Kloeber (01487 740044; www.kloeber.co.uk), a manufacturer and supplier of a wide range of doors, windows and roof lights, agrees:
“We’ve noticed that there’s a growing fluidity in how people perceive their outdoor and indoor space,” he tells us. “Clients want their rooms to be as airy and light as possible and the addition of bi-fold doors easily allow this to happen. They open up the home to the garden and are very adaptable, practical solutions for a modern house.”
Providing a garden-based home-away-from-home option are bespoke garden rooms, ideal for larger gardens. Cambridge-based My Space Garden Studios (01223 529747; www.myspacestudios.co.uk) is a specialist in creating unique, garden rooms. Mark Alvarez, MD and founder, comments: “There’s a real trend towards maximising the space homeowners already have – rather than spending lots of money moving to a larger property. Our garden studios allow people to use their outdoor space to make another room. They can be used as offices, play rooms, music rooms or dens – anything goes. For a relatively small investment, you can get a ‘home away from home’ – just a few paces away from your abode. Our studios are a cost effective and practical way of adding space to your living area and adding value to your home.”
ONE STEP BEYOND
Maximizing the space that immediately adjoins the house – by creating a stylish patio or decking area – will create a natural flow between home and garden. Choose stylish flooring – such as weather-proofed porcelain tiles – that can be used both inside and out giving a continuous flow to your design.
Stuart Wisbey, director of The Stone & Ceramic Warehouse (020 8993 5545; www.sacw.co.uk), explains how to achieve the look: “We supply porcelain floor tiles in a vast range of colours, textures and sizes so you can achieve any look you desire. One recent trend is to achieve a continuous flow from the indoors to the outdoors and porcelain is a great choice for this as it is virtually indestructible. Recent technological advances have meant porcelain tiles are now available up to 120cm x 120cm by 1cm thick which gives a very impressive finish. These large format tiles are excellent for making spaces appear bigger than they are. They work surprisingly well in small rooms as well as larger spaces and there is very little grouting required so they’re simple to lay and easy to maintain.”
The company has also recently introduced a new range of wood, stone and decking-effect porcelain paving tiles, which are durable, frost-proof, stain and fade resistant with no maintenance required.
Meanwhile, another alternative to traditional wood decking, is Trex’s low maintenance, composite decking (www.trex.com/uk). Made from recycled materials, including recycled plastic and wood scraps, Trex composite decking provides the look and feel of real wood, but without the environmental impact or upkeep needed with traditional decking. Its latest launch is contour decking, which has been designed as an alternative to traditional patios, and for outdoor-in conservatory spaces.
Flooring can also be a highlight within your indoor space. Use traditional Victorian-style tiles, such as those available from Original Style (www.originalstyle.com) or – if budget allows – create the wow-factor with glimmering, floral mosaics by Italian brand Bisazza:
“Peachtree is one of the new floral motif patterns in Bisazza’s 2015 Collection,” reveals Rosella Bisazza. “A shining example of our hand-made craftsmanship, the décor represents the joyful spirit of spring, its delicate pink flowers are set on a background of 24ct white gold that lends a three-dimensional quality and brings the outdoors in all year round.’
With many companies realizing that we use our outdoor space much like our homes, there’s now a wide range of weather-proof furniture, lighting and accessories available. From Flos’ contemporary outdoor lighting – think oversized floor-lamps and glowing flower lights (www.flos.com) – to brightly-hued outdoor cushions by Dash and Albert Europe (www.dashandalberteurope.com) – our gardens can be furnished much like our living rooms.
Nicola Gidlow, buyer for Outdoor Living at John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com), gives her insight:
“In recent years people have begun to use their garden as an extension of their living area rather than a separate space. This blurring of the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces means that entertaining is no longer confined to one area of the home and now commonly involves using kitchen, dining and outdoor spaces to create a flow though the home. Investing in weatherproof furniture, for your conservatory, allows for key pieces to be transferred outside when entertaining in the warmer months. Furnishing rooms, that back on to your garden, with accessories and cushions in bright bold colours and prints will help warm up the inside of your home bring a touch of the outside indoors. To link the spaces choose similar patterns and hues for your outdoor accessories, this will help add a sense of unity to your entertaining space.” Images below from John Lewis.
Dressing your home with colours and prints that reflect the natural world is another way of creating a ‘thoroughfare’ to the outside.
Jenny Hurran, owner of online home boutique Out There Interiors (www.outhereinteriors.com) reveals how to achieve the look:
“If living plants are too high maintenance for you, you can still embrace the botanical theme through floral and avian designs on wallpaper, fabrics and furniture. Stay fresh with fern motifs against light green and off-white French or Scandinavian furniture, or team intricate botanical patterns with dark walls and antique gold for an enchanting, fairy tale look.”
Accessories such as the gorgeous budgie cushions by homewares boutique Luku Home (020 8943 3683; www.lukuhome.com) and butterfly wall art and sunflower mirrors by Adventino (0845 120 3224; www.adventino.co.uk) are perfect ways of giving a nod to the theme.
Luku Home’s founder, Nicky Parkin, reveals her style tips: “By using natural materials, animal prints and bright botanical colours you can bring the outside into your interior. We are seeing fabulously bold and vibrant tropical prints on fabrics and artwork, which can act as a great statement piece to any room and really liven up the home. With spring just around the corner we are starting to think about new beginnings, warmer days and a fresh start – a perfect time to embrace this style.”
Decorate walls using a complimentary colour palette of greens, blues and browns contrasted against natural flooring, such as that supplied by Kersaint Cobb, as a backdrop for the look (www.kersaintcobb.co.uk). Make a focal point with a statement Wendy Morrison rug (www.wendymorrisondesign.com) designed with motifs from nature.
Sarah Cole, marketing director, at Farrow and Ball (01223 367771; www.farrow-ball.com), gives her expert advice, on how to achieve a pared-back colour scheme:
“Farrow & Ball’s key colours for this season include our Lush Breakfast Room Green. Slightly botanical, it is taken straight from nature and will make us feel safe and calm in our living environments. Rich Tanner’s Brown is perfect for spaces lacking in natural light. Highly dramatic when used on all four walls this earth brown feels totally timeless and has an artisan feel to it.”
Bold floral or palm tree wallpapers, such as those available from Graham and Brown (0800 328 8452; www.grahambrown.com) and Urbane Living (020 7138 3838; www.urbaneliving.co.uk) are dramatic ways to introduce nature.
While Fired Earth’s (01223 300 941; www.firedearth.com) new Secret Garden wallpaper is an elegant approach to florals:
Rob Whitaker, Fired Earth’s creative director, explains: “Botanical designs have a fresh, timeless appeal that explains their enduring popularity. They’re ideal for adding a decorative touch and a splash of colour to any interior – contemporary or traditional – and there’s something inherently calming about their natural simplicity. Botanical patterns are very versatile too, and whether you decide to opt for a delicate, sprig-like motif for a splash back, or a striking floral wallpaper, they’re a wonderful way of bringing the outdoors in.”
Finally, if an all-over design feels too much, choose one signature piece of furniture, such as the vivid, palm-print Metro chair from Delcor (0191 237 1303; www.delcor.co.uk). Having the last word is Rick Petini, Delcor’s managing director:
“Earthy colours and tones, such as rich greens or dark browns, will always bring a sense of the outdoors into the home. Patterns can provide an interesting dimension to any décor and if you mix a beautiful botanical or floral print with natural colours then you’re sure to create a charming outdoorsy feel.’