Hello and welcome to my show notes for the latest episode of the Great Indoors podcast, as always you can listen to it in full here, and don’t forget about our ever-resourceful and inspiring Facebook group. I can’t quite believe we’re almost at the end of series 11 already with over 1.5 million downloads to date – time flies when you’re having fun! Firstly though a huge thank you to our colour loving sponsor Harlequin for supporting the series.
On with the show… today we talk about outdoor furniture and how to bring a sense of the indoors outside and we also explain the new trend I’m seeing all over instgram for elaborate ‘tablescaping.’
I think we can all agree that over the last year we have come to appreciate and enjoy our outdoor spaces more than ever before. In terms of interiors we have heard about bringing the outside in, but what about the other way round? So essentially it’s about creating another room outside – perhaps a comfortable living room. As Kate points out it’s time to move away from rickety old deckchairs or sunloungers that somehow manage to fold you in two- it’s all about comfort and the best starting point is an outdoor sofa.
On a recent visit to a garden centre, I couldn’t believe the sea of generic grey woven wicker furniture – where’s the colour?! One way to add a pop of colour to the garden is with outdoor fabrics and trims which you can buy by the metre. If you want to follow trends, then there are plenty of faux woven rattan and bamboo furniture around which is basically woven/twisted plastic and the good thing is they come in different colours – hooray, I am saved!!
One of my favourite garden furniture brands is Fermob as their pieces are available in 24 colours – all of which are mainly metal. Also, check out Jennifer Newman for colourful powder-coated steel furniture – these are budget options but they will stand the test of time.
If you fancy a vintage option then try, Merchant & Found. Paul Middlemiss of the emporium rescues tons of chairs from cafes around Europe and then brings them back to recondition them, how fab is that! Remember you can go for things that echo your own sense of style and you don’t have to choose the generic grey ‘garden centre’ look. Just because there is no ceiling or walls, you can still create a stylish space.
According to stat queen Kate, there have been considerable rises in garden-related searches – for instance, outdoor rugs up by 400% following the Meghan and Harry interview with Opera, outdoor cinemas have grown in popularity, searches were also up by 400%. Made.com did a survey and discovered that searches for garden bars were up by 122%, a spin-off from the outdoor kitchen, of which, searches are up by 60%.
Fingers crossed we will be starting our extension plans in the autumn and an outdoor kitchen is on our wish list. Our garden designer Sarah Mitchenall says to keep everything as close to the house as possible as you won’t want to be traipsing to the end of the garden and back several times!
I was keen to cover this topic as we look forward to once again being able to entertain and why not mark the occasion by dressing our tables to the max. It’s all getting a bit competitive over on Insta, with napkins, place settings, beautiful handwritten menus and flower displays, all with maximalist vibes.
Kate spoke to Sophie Richardson at Cheffins auction house who told her that the value for patterned dinner services from brands like Spode, Davenport, Wedgwood, etc have gone through the roof. So it does suggest that formal dining is returning, I remember my Mum in the 80s dinner party era with canapes and the various plates, bowls, spoons etc for every course!
Along comes Jamie Oliver and the trend for large white dinner plates and wooden serving boards and a more casual supper vibe took over and has dominated the last twenty years. However the trend pendulum swings once again and I’m seeing patterned tablecloths, perfectly tied napkins, flowers and a maximalist opulence overload.
You may not want to shop at auction so try Etsy for vintage china and search for #spode and #antiquechina on Instagram
Another place for inspo is @fionaleahydesign who is the go-to person for designer parties and again lots of colour and attention to detail. Layering of plates, pattern on pattern, twinkling glassware, napkins and pretty flower arrangements are all order of the day.
I’m definitely going to raid my mum’s china cabinet this summer. Even though she’s downsized to her two bedroom annex she couldn’t part with her much loved dinner service. My tip is to buy vintage where you can but blend it with new pieces. I think the tablecloth is everything. Have a look online for fabric by the meter or even a bolt of dressmaking fabric and make sure you have a long run of it so it drapes beautifully. The palin white table cloth just won’t cut it!
Names to look out for according to Cheffins:
Look out for Spode, its growing popularity
Masons Imari, another popular one that has lots of deep blues, oranges and pinks with intricate designs.
They also suggested the Willow Pattern is still very affordable and if you keep an eye out you can still find big boxes of it.
Remember – you may want these gorgeous Victorian dinner services but they certainly won’t be going in the dishwasher!
A huge thanks to Harlequin for supporting the series, our wonderful producer Kate Taylor of Feast Collective and of course our lovely listeners.
Image at top by Designers Guild.