Bright & Bold Outdoor Lounge Area in a Garden
Covered Outdoor Lounge Area in a Garden
Outdoor Sofa made from reclaimed pallets
Garden storage areas made from seating
Outdoor lounging areas with curtains | Garden Inspiration

An Outdoor Room

Author: Lauren Coleman

We were over the moon with all the feedback we received on our recent interiors post and are working hard on some upcoming posts that will hopefully give you lots of inspiration. A few of you mentioned that your next project is tackling the outside of your house, so today is the very first of our garden features.

Last Summer I had a very relaxing trip to Croatia with my other half, my sister and her husband. After an exhausting day lazing on the beach we’d head up to a bar to relax on their day beds with a beer or two. One day it was mentioned how great it would be to have a similar set up at home, minus the pole that was also part of the bar decor…
Now there are many times I’ve been on my hols and been tempted to bring back a bit of the local style. In the cold light of day this doesn’t always translate particularly well, (an African inspired downstairs loo in the Midlands?) so I have thought long and hard about whether or not we could replicate an outdoor lounge idea in our own garden.

Our cottage has an ample sized courtyard garden. Some very clever soul landscaped the area before we owned the house and now we have an elevated patio area to make the most of the limited sun. The one thing the courtyard doesn’t have is storage. Not one scrap of it. Spades, compost and dead plants (does anyone else keep hold of theirs imagining that they’ll miraculously revive themselves?) are all on full view.
Given the proportions of the garden I’m thinking a shed would look pretty ridiculous and so we’ve been working on a plan to combine the outdoor seating idea with some much needed storage.

We’re planning on making use of an under-utilised area that we have to the right hand side of our pergola and build some form of snazzy lounge with wooden seating. When all the outdoor cushions etc are removed the wooden base would be hinged to allow access inside to store general garden things.

In the inspiration pictures there are many snaps of beautiful billowing curtains which to be honest are likely to get completely trashed in a Great British Downpour, however I do think I might grab few Ikea panels on my next jaunt to bring out for parties. From a lighting perspective I’m imagining festoon lighting (picked up from Ikea last year) and lanterns dotted amongst the trees.

I’ll leave the structural stuff to my other half and so at the moment I’m researching waterproof cushions and mattresses and hopefully I’ll have something to share with you all soon.

How do you deal with outdoor storage? Do share what you’re getting up to in your own garden and please let me know if you know of anywhere to buy outdoor cushions that don’t cost the earth?!

Image sources: Bright cushions and parasol | Bright cushions and drapes | Covered area with floor cushions | Covered area with leaves | Pallet Day Bed | Lift-up storage | White panelled seating Bed with throw | Lantern and drapes

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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20 thoughts on “An Outdoor Room

  1. I want an outdoor swing chair/hanging seat thing more than anything right now – I saw one in Homesense for £199 which is dirt cheap compared to others I have seen….anyone know where I can get one even cheaper!?

    I clearly have visions of myself all curled up reading a book in the sunshine…um, what would you do with it if it rains?!

    1. You’ll have to get one of those fancy free standing parasols and hope it’s not too heavy a downpour! x

  2. Last Sunday’s gorgeous sunshine had the other half & I go a little crazy……walked into Homebase planning on getting some idea of BBQ prices, came out with a BBQ, patio table, chairs & parasol! Oops!
    All of the pieces are black which means my next job will be to work on bringing some colour to the garden (aside from plants, which I promise we will get onto soon….!!!) – I am thinking cute colourful cushions and some gorgeous outdoor lighting. (Just spotted the perfect ones on Ikea, so thanks for that tip!)

    The one big problem we have with our garden is flies & mozzies! Our garden backs onto a nature reserve so I spent last Sunday evening being eaten alive by the little blighters!
    Does anyone have any tips on the best way to keep them away, or know of any pretty/quirky citronella solutions?!

    Loving all these home posts & looking forward to see how your garden comes along 🙂 x

    1. Skin-so-soft Dry Oil Body Spray is amazing for keeping away little blighters Rebecca.
      I’ve found the oil torches are always handy for keeping away midges too x

  3. This post could have been written for me! We have a small L shaped yard which is really unloved. We started the work yesterday and now have a proper wooden handrail coming down the stairs (we live in an upstairs flat with stairs from the back door down to the yard so the wobbly handrail was really quite dangerous) and will soon have sealed steps and repointed brickwork to boot. We have a shed in one corner – it’s only small but we pack a lot of stuff into it including our Christmas decorations and that’s it right now. Trying to come up with a good solution for the floor – it’s cracked concrete at the minute. We were thinking gravel, then faux grass, and now we’re at a loss. The total area is 30sqm. We can’t be spending much money on it and we need something that will be practical with a toddler.
    I love the white cushion image with the grey throw, I can just imagine having a really satisfying nap there!

  4. Oooh, I want a lovely day bed, although have a feeling the little monkeys may love it more than me and this would become an extra play area for them! We are currently planning a garden refurb and are waiting to get a new patio area sorted near a nice sunny wall (struggling to actually find anyone to do it at the moment!) then planning new garden furnitue, shed etc etc. Oh and of course have to get the girls a new playhouse although getting carried away and planning a double storey number and already choosing fabric for curtains and colours for the walls. Oops! Depending on how crafty you want to be you could make cushions yourself using outdoor fabric. Dunelm have a good selection or equally they always have good outdoor cushions for a good price. Charlotte, guessing you don’t have much time for DIY at the moment but I have seen some fab swings made out of old palettes. Simply join two together at right angles and then use really thick rope to attach and pile with cushions. I make it sound easy, having never tried it myself! Noticed one of the sofas in this post looks like it is made from old palettes so worth a go! x

  5. Oh Charlotte. The playhouse sounds amazing!
    Great idea on the cushion front. I will have a look at Dunelm’s selection x

  6. We installed a pretty big deck flanked by some rendering in our back garden last year and it’s completely transformed the house, it really is like gaining another room. Even when it’s cold the kids can still play out without getting super muddy and last summer it was a godsend, we practically lived out there (in fact, before we picked garden furniture my husband would often drag the sofa from the lounge out through the patio doors!)

    Some great pieces I picked up were a large outdoor rug (almost weather proof) and some white rattan effect chairs both from ikea and both of which create a cosy nook along with the eponymous DIY pallet coffee table! When it’s high summer I bring out a side table, some throws and bright cushions and plank myself down with a kopparberg 🙂

    If you’re thinking of doing this kind of project I’d say go for it, we might have limited summers here but when we do there is nothing like spending time in an English country garden!

    1. Vicky I really want some decking. We’ve spent quite a lot on the house recently but are planning on moving within the next two years so don’t really want to spend too much more as we won’t get the value back I don’t think. Would you mind advising how much it cost/how big the space is?

      As we have such an old property we are lucky that the garden is relatively generous so we could fit it in……and then I could have the swing chair that I’ve always wanted!!!

      1. I’m rubbish with sizes but basically it wraps around our extension in a u shape and broken down is about 3m x 4m, 2x 3m and the back about 6m x 2m I think?! It cost about £1500 for the wood including the frame hardwood plus labour was £800 ish. It took a week or so to build and fit so not too bad!

        We’re in a similar situation, we knew we wouldn’t be staying here much longer so didn’t want to spend a fortune but in my opinion I think although you don’t necessarily gain value with this you are more likely to achieve your asking price with interesting features, particularly in the garden. Also, if you put your house up in spring you can dress it really nicely and sell the ‘lifestyle’, our double kitchen doors open up to the deck with a flush finish and so when it’s nice and all open it looks really inviting!

        We’re just getting ours ready to sell at the moment, just waiting for the garden to bloom before we get the estate agents in!

        If you want any deck pics I can send them to you 🙂

        1. Thanks so much Vicky! and I know what you mean about selling a “lifestyle” we’ve heard quite a lot about these “open houses” recently, seems to be the way to sell a house literally in a day.

          Would LOVE some pics x

  7. Love the home posts, definitely my favourite!
    We spent a significant proportion of our wedding present money on an outdoor sofa and coffee table. Not as crazy as it seems since we live in the Middle East and usually get about 8-9 months outside during the year (summer months are spent firmly inside with A/C on high!) It has been an amazing purchase, we spend so much time out on it, outdoor living rooms are definitely the way to go. We also bought a cheap rug from Ikea to finish the look and while I do love it as it makes it feel more ‘living roomy’ it has got filthy very quickly from all the sand so I’m not sure how long we’ll keep it.
    We’ve dotted a lot of cheap Ikea candle lanterns around to give the garden a nice light effect. When we finish the garden I plan to add some fairy lights around the trunks of the trees, I love them and think they look super pretty in the dark. We use citronella torches to keep flies and mozzies away but apparently Lavendar and Basil plants also help.

    1. Krysia, this sounds incredible! Worried that with our climate I wouldn’t get quite as much use 😉
      What kind of rug did you go for?

      1. It’s just a hardwearing flat rug from Ikea (Egeby), nothing fancy. It does make a real difference though and sections that area off from the rest of the garden.

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