Bringing the outside in

So this is it – summer has arrived! How does your garden look and does it complement your home. Do the tones in your sitting room curtains or blinds pull the flowers and foliage in your borders into the room? Do they work together to create a seamless transition from the outdoors in?

One of the things I love about design is being able to open up a space by using a variation of colour. If you can get your interior to reflect what is happening in your garden, or vice versa then the two can work really well together and a room can look much bigger. This is often achieved by changing a window treatment. In the winter a heavy interlined curtain is a lovely luxury but for the summer it’s nice to have lighter curtains or roman blinds so that the window is framed but light can flood in.

If you have a garden room which is really only utilised in summer then make sure that the garden it looks out on is beautiful at this time of year. If you can combine planting to reflect colours within the room then your eye will be drawn out of the room and into the garden, emphasising the ‘garden room’ feel. But, if your garden room is really too hot in summer, as it faces due south and you don’t have exterior blinds to deflect the heat, then you might want the garden to work for you in autumn, winter and early spring. At this time of year you can make the most of the room before it gets too hot. If this is the case, think about planting close to the room so you always have something to look out onto even in the depths of winter. It’s amazing how the first bulbs can lift your spirits.  If you want the room and garden to work at both times of the year then succession planting is essential. Look at the space available and under plant so that the same space is used two or three times with bulbs being succeeded by spring herbaceous plants that die back to make way for summer herbaceous. In this way you use the same piece of ground three times and inject life into the garden for a much longer period.

If you can change your window drapes in summer then opt for a lighter fabric. You can often get away with much less fabric in your actual curtain in summer as they are simply defining the window. A simple roman blind, or even a lambrequin used to frame the window but not cover it, will add a focal point but not create a really heavy effect. Then turn your attention to dressing the room with lighter fabrics, linen and lace and brighten the lighting with glass lamp bases and linen shades in delicate colours. It will bring a bright airy feel to the room and help bring some light into your home – that’s if the sun stays out for long enough this summer.