Enjoy Summer at Home Scandi Style
With travel abroad unlikely for many this summer, make the most of your home and garden, with tips from Contura Scandi lifestyle expert.
With travel abroad off the cards for many of us this summer, our homes and outside space have become even more important. However, after months of remote working, providing support for loved ones sheilding, managing kids at home, and/or home schooling, it’s only natural our homes and gardens may be looking a little neglected and in need of some TLC.
Updating your home needn’t be difficult or expensive. Even the most simple changes can give your space an instant uplift. Our Scandi neighbours have got it sussed when it comes to making the most of quality time at home, tackling simple DIY projects, enjoying lots of outdoor time, and ensuring that the home is always a calm, welcoming and relaxing environment.
Enjoying time at home is about making the most of what you’ve got. Look at your space and get creative: dens and camping in the garden is a wonderful treat for children, a simple garden shed can be easily transformed into an enviable cosy Scandi retreat, and you could even create an outdoor cinema in the garden to enjoy your favourite films.
Here, Catharina Björkman, Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura, has provided her tips on how to make the most of summer at home this year.
Catharina says: “Our homes and gardens have never been as important in terms of providing us with a much-needed sanctuary. As uncertainties around travelling abroad this summer persist, we can look to our very own homes to deliver the rest and relaxation that a holiday would usually provide.
“It’s easy to overlook a tired looking garden or ignore a cluttered living room, but with a little care and attention these spaces can be easily transformed. In Sweden, the home is central to everything: a cosy place to come back to, a place to spend time with loved ones, and a place to make memories.
“Start small and don’t see updating your home or garden as a chore; it’s all about making small changes to make more of what you’ve got. If you have kids, this is a chance to be really creative and fun – especially in the garden. So embrace the challenge and get ready for a fun-filled summer!”
Read on for Catharina’s full tips.
Simple DIY tasks
If you’ve been putting off DIY jobs, now is the time to get handy with a hammer. Simple tasks include hanging up pictures, giving tired-looking rooms a lick of fresh paint, fixing squeaky door hinges, and decluttering each room. New bedding, adding greenery and plants and regrouting bathroom and kitchen tiles are simple ways to give an inexpensive but instant uplift and fresh new look. Give the house a thorough clean too if it’s looking very lived in, and make an effort to keep it tidy and organised. You’ll feel calmer and enjoy the space more as a result.
Dens and camping
Making a den in the garden is every kid’s (and adult’s) dream. Not only will building a den help kids to get creative, it will also encourage them to spend time outdoors in the fresh air. If your den is watertight, you could even brave sleeping outdoors on a warm summer night; children will love the novelty of waking up outside. A den can be built from anything: old garden furniture, crates, or boxes. You could use old sheets, curtains or blankets to create a wigwam shape. Positioning a den by a fence or under a tree provides more shelter too.
Create a Scandi retreat
A garden shed, garage, or summer house can be easily updated to create a Scandi retreat, but this does mean you can’t use them for storage. Firstly, deep clean the space to get rid of any dust and cobwebs and wash the windows, inside and out. Paint the walls bright white, hang bunting and fairy lights and add seating (bean bags or garden chairs), together with cosy throws or cushions – it will become a place you never want to leave.
Scandi style touches
Why not add a little Scandi style to your outdoors? Whether you’re hosting a dinner party with friends or family or simply want to enjoy lazy evenings in the garden, a few simple design touches can make the garden even more spectacular. Try making your own bunting and add solar-powered outdoor lights to the trees. If you have a separate eating area, why not add a raw natural linen tablecloth for a Scandi twist? If you’re entertaining, make your space welcoming with soft ambient light, outdoor candles and blankets in case the weather turns chilly.
Al fresco dining
Get the BBQ out and don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavours. Up your culinary skills from the usual sausages and burgers and try adding herbs – such as rosemary and thyme – directly onto the hot embers of your BBQ. This will add a delicious and subtle flavour. Try making your own marinade – salt, pepper, chilli and lime juice is a punchy, summery combination. If you’re looking to play with new flavours consider grilled watermelon – simply cut into triangles, toss in coriander, fresh lime juice and salt before grilling. It’s sweet, smoky, savoury and delicious.
A favourite passtime for Swedes is foraging and sourcing their own ingredients from nature. Cordials, jams and pickles are easy to make and store well. Blackberries are flourishing at the moment, and are in abudance across the hedgrows of countryside (and often found in cities and towns too). You can pick wild blackberries for free and create your own jam, they also work well in crumbles, pies and puddings.
Pickles, made by preserving vegetables or fruit in vinegar, are easy to make too and are a great addition to sandwiches and picnics. The most popular options are courgettes, onions, red cabbage and beetroot. Get the whole family involved and watch your stock grow.
Outdoor cinema at home
What better way to spend a long, balmy evening than with an open-air movie night? First, choose a dry spot, sheltered from the wind. You will need to invest in a projector – the most basic models can start from as little as £75. They’re also far more compact and quiet these days, so won’t spoil any dramatic movie moments. For use in a garden after dark, it’s worth choosing at least 3,000 lumens (each projector has a lumen measurement) for the best experience.
Connect your video source to the projector through a laptop, DVD player or streaming service. This can be done via the HDMI port. Be conscious of noise levels for neighbours; you could use Bluetooth speakers if it’s late to avoid disturbing anyone. A white sheet pegged to your washing line (you may need to weigh it down at the bottom to avoid the breeze) provides an instant free screen. It’s best to lay a groundsheet first to avoid any damp grass, rocks and uneven ground. Then set out cosy cushions, throws and garden chairs for the ultimate experience. Keep blankets close by should the temperature suddenly drop.
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