The Outdoor House - Simple Ways to Add Summer Colour

Summer’s not looking too bad so far this year. We have been lucky enough to enjoy the benefits of some of the kind of warm and sunny days that we should experience during the summer months.

But for the days when the sun doesn’t want to come out to play and everywhere once again looks a little dull and lack lustre, here are some simple ways to add colour to your outdoor space to give it a cheery and welcoming feel when the sun has gone in or down. After all, the general idea is to have fun in the sun, but on warm summer evenings the fun doesn’t have to stop once the sun has gone down!

Simple ways to add summer colour to your garden or home

Creating and dressing an outdoor space need not take hours or be prohibitively expensive. You can transform colourless areas instantly with ideas as simple as this one. Coloured tealight lanterns suspended along a length of washing line or twine. The twine is looped twice round the lantern handles to keep them in place and evenly spaced.

Summer Colours

These type of lanterns are available at most high street homewares stores and DIY and garden centres for between £2 - £4 each and the great thing about them is, that they add a wonderful, instant, splash of colour during the day (so they’re great for all those flower baron areas), but also provide beautiful feature lighting for the evening which is weatherproof. So even if it is raining you can light the tealights, then sit inside and watch them flicker whilst listening to the sound of gentle summer rain by an open window or door – only in Britain eh?!

Ambient lighting makes a dramatic difference anywhere, but particularly outdoors. It can add romance, charm, character and warmth to even the scruffiest of backyards or patios.

There is something inviting and magical about an evening under the stars, (particularly if you throw good friends, good wine and a barbeque into the equation!). Candlelight is undoubtedly the ideal mood creator and into the bargain, needs no expensive installation of electric cables or power supply other than a good match or taper; and is far less disappointing than a lot of solar powered products which seem to work only intermittently! So tough luck if you’re having a party after a relatively dull day!

Summer Colours

These glass bottles are wonderfully reflective with their colourful glow, but are obviously purpose made with removable bottoms for access to the tealight holders.

Summer Colours

Back to basics would work just as well here though and be equally as effective, so what about the good old fashioned jam jar?

These coloured glass ones are charming, but if you can’t get hold of them start collecting your empty clear ones and invest in a few glass paints and some medium to heavy gauge wire, to create your own unique and colourful summer designs.

Painting small or shallow terracotta pots with coloured masonry paint is effective too.

Summer Colours

Our inclement weather conditions make planning any outdoor activities or social events a bit of a gamble. Seizing the moment for an impromptu gathering is more often the order of the day, so it pays to be prepared for such occasions.

Keeping a folding table and a stash of folding chairs, bright, plump, oversized cushions and some throws or a large rug dedicated for use outdoors, means that should the opportunity arise, you can drag them out and quickly create an impromptu (even Moroccan stylie) lounging and dining area capable of accommodating all your summer guests in comfort.

Summer Colours

Giving pieces of tired old wrought iron or metal furniture a new lease of life with a zesty coat of paint, such as this lovely chartreuse green with a touch of mulberry pink, is not only an effective way of adding a much needed splash of colour to a dull corner of you garden or patio; but is the ideal kind of furniture for folding and storing away. Delightful and inexpensive to produce, particularly if you can get friends or relatives to give you the old pieces they were thinking of throwing out!

Summer Colours

This peaceful retreat is created amidst a fragrant herb garden, but apart from the few heady blooms thoughtfully placed in jars and an old tea caddy, the entire colour scheme of this cheerful corner is created entirely with accessories and the bright pops of colour on the furniture. Home-made cakes, scones and fruit make for a typically English setting. This is a great approach for those who are not gifted with green fingers or afforded the time to be so. I particularly love the open lace-leaf effect of the umbrella canopy and the wonderfully textured shadows it casts against the otherwise bland fence panel.

Summer Colours

Similarly this essentially white outdoor setting comes to life with colourful accessories. Fuchsia crockery and tumblers are brimming with flowers and fruit and I love the mismatched juxtaposition of the natural wood table with its slate top and the wire and plastic chairs.

Proof that everything doesn’t have to be brand new and co-ordinated to make an effective garden setting, you just need a little imagination and a splash of colour!

Summer Colours

If you don’t know where to start with your colours, then carnival colours are always good for a summer scheme. The bright fiery oranges, reds and yellows mixed with vibrant greens and turquoises, are the colours we associate with carnivals as they represent the essence of the summer heat and the colours of the ocean.

Dress a table for a carnival style banquet with spotty or stripy napkins and cheerful cutlery; bright floral or gingham table runners made from summery printed fabrics and add other spots of colour with brightly coloured votifs and tealight holders.

Summer Colours

If you’re a crafter or know someone who is, then bright summer bunting is another easy way of adding that summer fete or carnival feel to your garden and is easily created from small quantities of bright cotton prints and fabric off-cuts.

For a relaxed setting, hang the bunting above your outdoor table with coordinating coloured glasses and bottles; or suspend it from a pergola or beneath the sun parasol.

Summer Colours

If you are a bit green fingered but don’t have much of a garden to express yourself in, or if you just want to pretty up a bland and weathered fence, these hanging ‘bags’ are a great space saving but colour infusing opportunity.

They’re such a simple idea and easy to look after, but really effective and can be hung almost anywhere?

Summer Colours

And this idea I absolutely love! Not only for the practical and aesthetic values, but for the witty and comical element too!

This positively laughs in the face of rain, as it implies that these wellington boots won’t be needed for their proper use throughout the summer months and demonstrates a positive and hopeful approach to summer.

It has personality too, as it nods at family values and the character of the people living here.

Summer Colours

If you’re already fortunate enough to have contemporary outdoor furniture then maybe a fresh, bold twist is what’s needed to adding colour to your outdoor living space?

Block colour in the garden can be hugely effective as well as expansive (that’s expansive not expensive by the way!).

This vibrant turquoise feature wall is eye catching and creates a colour scheme for the rest of the setting.

Many of us are reluctant to be this bold and daring with colour inside our homes never mind outside, but don’t underestimate how much a splash of vibrant colour can energise your outdoor living space.

Summer Colours

And if that idea appeals to you, then here’s one that takes it a step further.

I love the personality and character reflected in what is essentially this garden ‘graffiti.’

The only living colour here is the green foliage, but I would find this corner an energising and uplifting space to sit or entertain in.

This is a truly creative and personal approach with a vibrant burst of colours. This could be a great family project for every one of all ages to get involved in. It would personalise your home in a unique way, reflect all your personalities and be a talking point for years to come!


Main image 1 & 5: Juicy Bits
Main image 2: Diamonds and Daggers
Main image 3: Jamie Hempsall
Main image 4: House to Home
Main image 6: House to Home
Main image 7: House to Home
Main image 8: House to Home
Main image 9: House to Home
Main image 10 & 11: Southern Life Beautiful
Main image 12: House to Home
Main image 13: House to Home
Terrys Fabrics
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