Browsing Ikea garden furniture is just one of the terrible things about working at Realhomes.com. Who are we kidding? We love it. This year, the offering is as great as ever... but, better than that, the sets they've created for their summer furniture photo shoots are perfect for inspiring our own outdoor living or dining room scenarios at home.
These are our favourites – there are more to come over the following weeks. And while Ikea is rumoured to be opening in the next week or two, we'd still stay home, stay safe, stay out of gigantic queues and order online. Or, of course, you can order from other retailers listed below to recreate the exact look you want.
1. Create an outdoor living room with low seating around a coffee table
Need inspiration for a bold and stylish garden space? Well look no further than this IKEA Bondholmen set up. Here's how: decorate and arrange much of your outdoor space – or at least your patio or deck area – like your indoors space by choosing an on-trend paint colour for the walls. Using a dark colour – such as black or dark grey – is perfect for emphasising your plants and displays of greenery.
Another pointer is to choose garden storage that looks like it could belong indoors – beautiful and bright designs for store gardening equipment or even garden tableware for a barbecue are so much more inviting than classic garden storage. The green cabinets in this garden make for a great place to display small potted plants or other pretty accessories, such as candle holders – these little details tie the indoor/outdoor schemes together more strongly.
2. Zone your outdoor living and dining spaces as you would indoors
We need to make the most of our gardens in lockdown and even if yours is small, your garden can be more versatile than you think – and you can make it feel purposeful by splitting different zones up with furniture, just as you would indoors. Done well, you can create an outdoor dining room, lounge and kitchen, all on your patio. Ikea's ÄPPLARÖ garden furniture has been used here to create a flexible space that looks well coordinated.
Of course, you don't have to buy matching furniture, as the odd garden chair painted with the right coat of exterior wood paint will also create a stylish space. It is possible to go bold yet not overpower your whole garden by coordinating a chair colour with a plant pot – or just go for a clean look by using white cushions and dark wood.
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3. Buy an outdoor sofa to create a living room appeal
In this Ikea outdoor lounge area, one piece of furniture transforms the space: by introducing an outdoor sofa, then an outdoor coffee table, gathered snugly on an outdoor rug, you can create a lounge area like this in your garden, too.
For the rug, choose a vibrant pattern to introduce a pop of colour or a stripy pattern for a coastal feel.
4. Make a balcony feel like a Greek holiday villa
If you are on a budget or are trying to accommodate for a smaller, narrower space, don't worry, we have a few pointers. Painting doors and shutters is an easy and cheap way to brighten and add a modern twist to an outdoor space. Choose a bold colour you love that will draw the eye upwards, making the space feel longer. Using vertical shelves and shelving units in order to create loads of space to put plants and outdoorsy accessories without taking up much floor room is a great idea, too. And we LOVE the curtain, strung up to create privacy, shade and an extra splash of colour. See more of this IKEA set up on their website.
5. Small patio? No problem – it can feel like The Hamptons fast
Want a restrained, classy look that could be coastal or country? Panelling walls is one way to go, as is picking muted, fuss-free furniture. For an enclosed area – or one you plan to use at night, you can never fail to brighten and make a space more romantic with these outdoors lights from IKEA. Why not copy these ideas? Whether you fancy decorating a wall with chain lights – which are great for a conservatory as well as gardens – or a few hanging pendant lamps over sofa areas, or even a LED lamp (this one would look great both indoors and outdoors), you can't go wrong.
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