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8 Ways to Pep up Your Outdoor Space, Scandi style

Looking at the ten-day forecast here in Malmö, Sweden I can see the mercury slowly starting to rise - woohoo! This spring, shall we say, is extra special - meaning we're willing to don all kinds of clothing if it means seeing friends and family! But there's no reason we can't gather in style and comfort too! Today I'm putting Scandinavian outdoor spaces under the microscope so we can glean some wonderful ideas to ensure we're as comfy as possible and surrounded by beauty! Here are eight ideas to steal: 

1. Light it up: There's not much use in socialising outdoors if we can't see who we're talking to - and outdoor string lighting* gives that lovely warm glow, and a romantic touch to any backyard. And here's the best part: even if we're not outdoors, lighting up the greenery helps the indoors to feel larger; giving the impression that the living space is extended, and draws the inside in! You might need to add a wooden post or metal pole in order to help hang them at the right height. 

2. Go natural: our Scandi friends love to keep things as natural as possible - especially in the garden! Think rattan, wood and bamboo for a warm, relaxed look. In recent years, there's been a huge increase in all-weather bamboo furniture too! 


3. The parasol: Admittedly, in Sweden being blinded by the sun is a bit of a luxury, and a moment we long for year-round! But you can never underestimate the power of the sun - and a parasol, sail or pagoda is essential for blocking out the midday rays. Not only will coverings keep you cool in the heat, but there'll also keep you feeling cosy and dry in the rain - prolonging the hours you get to spend alfresco. Our Nordic friends usually opt for white with wood poles, but these colourful parasols have become really popular lately among the hipsters. I'm suddenly thinking I might need to do a separate parasol post, there are so many fab ones out there - could that be of interest? 

4. The bench: It's all very well creating social areas where everyone can gather, but what happens if you simply want to be alone, gather your thoughts or admire the results from the long hours you spent toiling the soil? It's always a good idea to treat your garden like any indoor living space: organise it so that it caters for different activities / needs! There are so many great garden benches out there - from contemporary (as seen above) to the more traditional. 

5. Divide it up: Go a step further and carve out separate zones using walls, windows, hedges or anything else that helps to create a little privacy for showers, sunbathing areas, quiet reading spots etc. The wall with a window above is perfect for creating an intimate dining area while also offering a view of the garden. PS the dining set reminds me so much of the one my parents had when I was young!


6. Mix it up: don't be afraid to throw different looks together. Rattan, wood, concrete - the more varied, the more relaxed! 

7. Get comfy: one of the biggest mistakes people make with outdoor spaces in my mind is not making them comfortable enough. Since garden furniture needs to withstand the weather, it's often made from rock hard materials. Make sure you invest in cushions for your chairs and outdoor sofa (even if you do need to bring them indoors each evening!) - or why not add a daybed or hammock (this boho hammock* is similar) so you can really chill out and enjoy an afternoon snooze! 

8. Lanterns: What would a Scandinavian living space be without a candle or three? Since one little gust of wind can snuff out the glow in seconds, lanterns are your best friend, and I firmly believe it's a case of the more the merrier. Place them on the table, on the ground (invest in two different sizes so they look good paired up) and hang them from the branches of a tree for a hyggeligt evening alfresco! 

There are so many lovely ideas here! It's got me thinking about prepping my own mini outdoor space for the season.

What type of outdoor space do you have (if any)? I'd love to hear all about it, and so keen to hear any tips and tricks you might have! 

For more outdoor space inspiration check-out: 


Here's to a glass of rosé, alfresco! 

Niki


*This post contains some affiliate links

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7 Winter Warmer Essentials For Outdoor Gatherings

I love to be comfortable and warm, how about you? So, when someone suggests a meet-up in their garden and the temperatures hover around the minus, it doesn't always sound enticing! But such is life right now. And do you know what? The more I meet with Swedish friends alfresco, the more I realise it can be a cosy and warm affair. So, what's the trick? Read on to find out how our Scandi friends are keeping warm outside this winter!

1. Lighting


As with all things Scandi, nothing sets the tone quite like lighting. Forget harsh, bright outdoor lighting - it's all about creating a warm and inviting glow. These outdoor ReUse string lights are handmade in the Pernille Bülow workshop on the Danish island of Bornholm. I'm such a big fan since each mouth-blown bubble is made from waste from the pharmaceutical industry. If you've got a larger space, several chains can be linked together (like in my back garden) - for an enchanting, warm and inviting touch after sunset.

2. Firepit 

Our ancestors have been gathering around a hearth to stay warm, cook and socialise since time began. It's in our genes. And I'm sure you'll agree, nothing beats the hyggeligt feeling of dancing flames, and the warm glow of a camp ire. Fortunately, times have moved on since Boy Scouts and Brownies (I never did manage to light that fire from two sticks, did you?) and there's a huge selection of fire pits available for every size garden! The 'fire basket' in my dear friend Ullis' garden is from Swedish brand Röshult

3. Lanterns



Light up every corner of your garden with pretty lanterns. I love the warm glow from the candles, and they emit a little heat too.  

4. Sheepskin

During my first winter in Sweden many moons ago, I was mesmerised by the sheepskin - it was everywhere, draped over the back of chairs and even used to lined children's pushchairs and prams. The reason? Wool is amazing - it's non-allergic, dirt repellent and an incredible insulator - helping to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. A perfect addition to the winter garden! 

5. Cushions

Roll out the cushions for extra comfy seating - they'll help to keep you warm and cosy too! I particularly love linen since it's a natural, breathable fabric. 

6. Blankets

Another cosy essential: the blanket! I find wool or fleece the best alternatives. Invest in a batch or ask everyone to bring their own - and wrap up warm! 

7. Hot water bottle

For me, this is the real clincher that will make a big difference to your enjoyment of the night: the trusty hot water bottle! Fill it with warm water, tuck it under your coat and you'll be as toasty as can be. Mine (seen here) was a present from my mother over 25 years ago and still going strong. I also love this full size knit one** and these best-selling funky lambs wool ones** (all from small businesses!). 

Thank you for a toasty evening in your little back garden Ullis! I'll be back with my blanket and hot water bottle before you know it!

Find out more about Danish ReUse string lighting from Pernille Bülow here (delivery and shipping info here). 

And feel free to add your own tips on keeping warm outside this winter in the comment section below, I'd love to hear them! 

Here's to winter evenings alfresco!

Niki

*This post is a paid partnership with Pernille Bülow. All words and images are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too! Thank you for supporting the small Nordic businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.

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Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Cosy Haven This Autumn / Winter



Baby, it's cold outside. At least in Sweden! Usually, this would be a cue to move indoors, but there's nothing normal about 2020, right? This autumn it's all about catching up with close friends and family al fresco. Which means it's time to up the backyard / balcony ante! The good news is, the Scandinavians have been pros at this for years. Visit a café or restaurant in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and you'll find every chair in the outdoor area has been prepped with a fleece blanket. And they don't stop there. Sheepskins, outdoors rugs, string lights, lanterns, candles and fire pits are all pre-requisites to a cosy evening al fresco - no matter the weather! I started to up my backyard game a few weeks back, but I've realised there's a whole lot more I can do. Are you also looking to turn your outdoor space into a cosy haven? Here's a little inspiration to get you started.


Early Autumn nights call for candles, lanterns, a beautiful set of string lights and maybe even the warmth of an open flame. All this, not only to illuminate your outdoor space but also to create a relaxing ambience and the kind of comfort we crave right now! 

















Lastly, round up some extra chunky blankets and put them within easy reach for you and your guests to grab. You can never have too many! 


Just add woolly jumpers, a hat and a steaming mug of glögg and you're all good to go! 

What are your plans for staying connected this Autumn (or Spring if you're in the southern hemisphere)? 

I'm thinking lots of Zoom calls, but we also might just fire up the barbecue this weekend for halloween!

Niki

Thank you so much to Ana Degenaar for helping to collateral the lovely pictures for this blog post! 

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16 Inspiring Outdoor Terraces for Every Size, Style and Budget

Outdoor spaces are fascinating - there are just so many alternatives and done right, they can become a wonderful extension of your living space. Whether you're influenced by the 'English garden' (my Mother's London borders are packed with blooms and you can't see the patio for pots!), the 'Scandinavian outdoor space' (more often than not: an understated, practical and comfortable affair) or the walled Mediterranean courtyard, where balmy evenings are enjoyed alfresco with a chilled glass of rosé - I hope you'll find inspiration in my round-up of 16 outdoor spaces for every size, style, budget and climate!

1. The romantic urban oasis (above)
I had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Henriette in Paris for the launch of the French version of my Lagom book and it was even more magical in real life! Do as this wonderful boutique hotel and make a feature of a back wall using climbers, a mirror and twinkling fairy lights. Add vintage outdoor furniture for a romantic oasis right there in the city!

2. The urban side alley
Make the most of narrow spaces with slim borders a simple table and string lights!

3. The built in bench
When space is of a premium opt for a built-in bench that lines the wall or fence (it can also be used for storage!). Wisteria, seen in the far right corner, is a great plant for vertical greenery, and it's hardy too. We all know the real hero of this space though: the fireplace! How very hygge!  You can see the complete tour of this little garden here






4. The wood burning stove
An old wood burner has been given a whole new lease of life in this lovely Swedish backyard. Loving the bamboo furniture too.


5. The big illusion!
Mirrors can make a small outdoor space feel way bigger. I particularly love old repurposed varieties. This one is available at Aldgate Homes.


6. The window to the world
In an urban environment it can be tricky to carve out a private space. In this pretty Parisian courtyard which once featured on the front of Marie Claire Maison, glass windows ensure a light and airy feel while wisteria and potted Japanese Maples screen the patio from view. That bar table is great too, don't you think?






7. The natural canopy! 
This easy-to-care for space is a natural extension of the house. Vines have been trained along a trellis for natural coverage. Painting outdoor walls is also a great option if you like a little colour!







8. The all-weather 'garden'
This stunning space in Holland gives the illusion that you're outside while actually being housed in a greenhouse! Check out the tiles!


9. The boho-romantic patio!
Can you also feel the warmth and gentle breeze oozing from this sun-dappled terrace? Rattan furniture and bright coloured cushions add to the vibrant and relaxed feel. Word of warning - if you live in cooler climes, make sure you opt for rattan furniture designed to withstand all weathers.


10. The comfy diner! 
It's not always possible to squeeze in a dining area and comfy L-shaped sofa - so why not combine the two. This sofa has been made from concrete and then lined with pretty cushions. I also like that this Moroccan-inspired outdoor patio belonging to actress Shay Mitchell, has been made up of mix and match furniture and lots of vertical greenery for a wonderful, relaxed vibe! See the full tour over on My Domaine.






11. The treat your feet!
In the summer it's not unusual to wonder outside bare foot - so why not treat them to something soft? Rugs are a perfect way to make an outdoor space feel cosy. If you live in a rainy place (story of my life!) select rugs specifically designed for outdoor areas. 



12. Warm Minimalist
Who said minimalist spaces need feel cold? This beautiful, covered dining area has been created using palm woven chairs and a simple wooden table for lovely, long lunches alfresco. The towels on the wall give the impression that there might just be a pool lurking around the corner... nice! 

13. The Balcony jungle
Bring 'forest bathing' to your balcony with a load of beautiful plants (look closely and you'll see they are all low maintenance perennials - hurrah!). I also love how they've painted the wall dark grey to make the space feel more intimate. A set of string lights add a magical touch after sunset. 

14 . The DIY roof terrace
Unless it's your sole outdoor space, let's face it, roof terraces are often neglected! But there's a simple way to transform them into a comfortable oasis on a budget. This wonderful corner sofa has been cobbled together using a series of shipping palettes. Just add cushions and a pretty climber and you'll have a little oasis in no time. 

15. The hammock
Hands up who else would happily swap places with the person in this picture? We might not be lucky enough to have a pool like this (isn't it lovely?!) but there's usually a place for a hammock (I like this one*) - even on a balcony. Just add a great book! 



16. The pool garden
This would never fly in our garden in Sweden - but a girl can dream, right?! Plus, there might be some of you out there with a space and climate begging for a pool like this. If so, can I come over?! Oh, and it's made from a shipping container - can you believe that?!

Roll on summer and long lunches alfresco! 

For more outdoor inspiration today, take a peek at:

My small backyard gets a cosy make-over
7 boho ideas for outdoor spaces (big and small)
A charming Swedish garden
Alfresco showers!

I'd love to hear more about your ultimate backyard -  and what you loved most from these pictures. Weigh in below if you have the time!

Niki

Photo credits in order of appearance: 1. Herve Goluza / 2. Nanette Wong / 3 & 4. De Zanderik / 5 & 6 Peter Carlsson / 7. Aldgate Home / 8. Marie Claire Maison / 9. Unknown - can you help?! 10. Yvonne Kusters Interior / 11. Gypsy Purple / Katherine Ireland / 12. Shay Mitchell / My Domaine / 13. Unknown - please help me to match this picture with the owner! / 14. Tine K Home / 15. Unknown - can you help pair this picture with its owner? 16 Unknown - great if you can help! / 17. Haciendas Tentadoras - photo by Nils Preston Schlesbusch / 18. Tanqua pools (I am not sure if this is the original credit, if not, please give me a shout below!) 

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