As you know, I’m all about ‘the cosy’. And this doesn’t just apply to the inside of my home – I like my outdoor spaces to be cosy and comfortable too. Initially this was the only option I had (for those of you who don’t know, we have two outdoor spaces – a front garden, and a teeny-tiny courtyard ‘garden’ at the back. It was the back (start small!) that I turned my attentions to first, and because the space was so tiny, ‘cosy’ was the only way to go! Then when it came to overhauling the front garden I had quite a bit more space to play with (I mean, it’s no football pitch out there, but compared to the back it may as well be!!), but I still wanted the space to have a cosy feel, where people (that’ll be us!) feel comfortable and relaxed. Now I’m not saying you have to rush out and buy a giant three piece suite for you garden/outdoor space, but I do love the idea of less ‘garden-y’ feeling furniture in your garden. And there are definitely plenty of great options out there. I am (unsurprisingly) a big fan of rattan furniture for the outdoors (and I love it even more when it’s been left out for a while, so it looks more battered and love-worn…), and splurged on a gorgeous rattan recliner (from La Redoute, but it’s sadly since sold out – this one is obviously not rattan, but I love it – super-chic, and does a similar job, plus you could easily pimp it up – keep reading…) for our front just after lockdown was announced. It immediately become the best seat in ‘the house’! It’s the perfect reading spot. We also have this dining set, which is really fab – I love it. The chairs are super-comfortable (and I love that there’s a bench as well as the two chairs for variety, which we sometimes move away from the table, depending on how many of us are in the garden, and what we’re doing…).
Now for me, the key to making your outside space as comfortable as possible is adding lots of lovely soft ‘layers’ to your seating. Personally I love using quilts, eiderdowns, bedspreads (perfect for benches), cushions (of varying sizes) and sheepskins (ours are all from good old Ikea – I love that they go in the washing machine). I have always loved these Indian block prints (even lovelier when they’re old and faded…), mixed with stripes and/or florals. Obviously you don’t want to use your favourites from inside, but most of my quilts and cushion covers are washable, so I just chuck them in the wash from time to time. Also, don’t be put off by the cushions that might come with the furniture you’re thinking of buying/have chosen/bought. Or at least, don’t let it/them put you off buying a piece of garden furniture you otherwise love. Just chuck something else over it, or think about re-covering seat cushions (large square pillowcases are great for turning into cushion covers). This can normally be done pretty inexpensively.
There does seem to be a lot of gorgeous outdoor benches, sofas and comfortable chairs around at the moment, so I’ve done a little round-up of my favourites. And don’t be afraid to mix and match your outdoor furniture – odd chairs look great together around a table, as do benches mixed with chairs in the same area. And of course, there’s nothing to stop you buying a ‘set’ and splitting it up and using it to mix in with other pieces, or in different areas. This is what will help to give your outside space more of a homely ‘indoor/outdoor’ feel, and character and charm. And of course, car boots sales (one day!), junk shops (one day!) and markets (one day!!!) are all great places to look for (not so new) new additions to mix in.
And the dream? One of these ODD Old Rocker luxury garden swing seats. I mean. One day (ideally when I have a slightly bigger garden).
pps: LOVE the idea of an alfresco day bed, piled with gorgeous cushions.
pps: how pretty is this?
Photo credit: ODD Cabbaages & Roses