Fling open those doors and let the outside in. Be inspired by these 11 great ways to do it properly
It only takes one week of not-really-trying sunshine for us Brits to start longing
for sleek and streamlined open-plan interiors that blur those
After all, who doesn’t dream of tackling their muesli in a sun-drenched expanse of
kitchen-cum-living-cum-dining area while the fragrance of freshly cut
lawn wafts in over oak decking through drawn-back bi-fold
We’ve got 11 glorious spaces to start planning for now:
1. Convert outdoors
Outbuilding or two to spare? Then you might want to take a leaf out of this homeowner’s book and create a hybrid indoor/outdoor living room. This one even has its own fireplace. Traditional country seating is a nod to the rustic setting, while pretty, modern upholstery keeps the feel contemporary. The ultimate way to enjoy your garden! Rocking chair, Rabbit & Rhubarb. Coffee table, Original House.
2. Blur boundaries with plants
Is it a dining room? Is it a terrace? A creeping vine turns this ordinary outdoor space into a gloriously genteel garden room. Plant up a bed adjacent to your terrace and tie in and train tendrils to climb posts and scramble over canopies and walls. Always keep in check with a regular trim. Choose clematis or jasmine for added scent. Similar chairs, Indian Ocean.
3. Live outdoors
In a south-facing garden or a sunny patio, create a little touch of the Mediterranean with an outdoor living room. This bench seating makes for a sheltered corner with its piped seat cushions and scatter cushions in cheery blush pinks. Bring in a low table for casual dining and sail curtain panels as windbreaks with a sea-swept feel. Who needs a holiday? Fabrics, Elanbach and Designers Guild.
4. Lose a wall
Open up to the garden from floor to ceiling along the back wall of your kitchen. Once these smart doors are open, the boundary between garden and living space disappears completely. Where you lack a lantern roof or skylight keep everything white and wonderful with a smattering of high sheen finishes. Cabinetry, ArtHouse Creative Interiors.
5. Enclose a courtyard
This internal courtyard functions as any other room in this property except for the fact it lacks a roof. Surrounded by glass ‘walls’ on all sides, it is accessed via regular hinged doors. The decking has the feel of exposed floorboards, while a multitude of oversized pot plants suggest a garden room for exotics. Rug, The Rug Company.
6. Frame a view
Timber beams surround the oval doorway of this remarkable dining area and run, like whalebone ribs, along the length of the space. The stunning architecture draws the eye from the cocooned interior out to a point of infinity beyond the property’s boundaries. Despite the grandeur of the scheme, there’s a lot to take away from it: the white and black decorating scheme with accents of red and the carefully placed statement light – all of which never distract from the view beyond. Similar dining table, Rustic Oak. Chairs, Hitch Mylius.
7. Split seating across a boundary
In this modern property, dining and lounging areas are positioned either side of an opened up exterior wall. It’s an arrangement that produces maximum flexibility and sociability, both for family life and entertaining. The dining table occupies a space that, in summer, will have the feel of the outdoors with all the benefits of practicality and shade. Similar bi-fold doors, Kloeber. Rattan chairs, Holloways.
8. Cheat with an outdoors decorating theme
This fabulous bedroom channels woodland without a real tree in sight. There’s something of Where the Wild Things Are in the gorgeous branching metal bed, climbing ivy garlands and myriad foliage-print fabrics. Try it – if you dare. Bed, Anthropologie; Light, Missoni Home at Amara.
9. Up those light levels
Light is the key to bringing an open-air feel to an interior space. Here a fully glazed roof takes the principle and runs with it, creating a country kitchen with all the vibe and character of a supersized conservatory. Being able to view the full expanse of exterior walls from within the space emphasises the outdoor feel. Similar extension, Malbrook; similar kitchen units, TP Country Furniture.
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10. Access all areas
This modern living room is glazed on three walls as well as the ceiling, increasing light levels on a par with those of the garden itself. And it’s not only light that the design pays homage to; once open, imagine the breeze and fragrances that will waft through this simply designed living area. Just lovely. Bi-fold doors, Cedar Bifold Company; sofa, Made.
11. Turn an outdoor space into a room
Garden furniture needn’t look like garden furniture. This beautiful outdoor space has been turned into a dining room. Table and chairs, stone flooring and mood lighting are all readily transferable to an interior decorating scheme. Only perhaps the expansive trellis and fountain suggest otherwise. A wonderful space with all the swankiness of a rather nice hotel. Table, The Heveningham Collection.