So far this year, the arrival of summer has been…well, a bit of a damp squib – almost literally. Weeks of sunshine were swiftly followed by wind and rain, and that seems set to continue, with sunny spells and a heatwave predicted to briefly intersperse what’s looking to become a very typically wet, British summer. But just because the weather looks set to be a bit of a washout, it doesn’t mean that your summer fun and relaxation has to be a washout, too!
For those of you with a garden needing a bit of TLC, a grotty garage space, or an out-of-date, unloved conservatory, there are plenty of DIY projects you can take on to provide yourself with the perfect space for some summer relaxation – regardless of the weather. All it takes is a little bit of vision, some grit and determination, and hard work.
This type of project works no matter what space you’re hoping to transform, but the essence of such a project lies in the room’s proximity to an open, natural space (preferably your garden, no matter how big or small it may be). The key to success here, as tends to be the case with most things, is making a note of your ideas and thoroughly planning the whole thing out. Are you looking to create a space that’s just for you to chill out in, or are you hoping to utilise it for both personal use and social occasions? These questions will dictate the different elements you choose to incorporate, as well as decide how you go about the planning process – the one theme that should run throughout this renovation of this space is a vibe that’s conducive to peace and relaxation.
But how can you achieve this?
A core aspect of the relaxation process is creating a calm atmosphere. If your home has animals and/or children running around, this can be difficult to achieve, which is why it’s crucial to design a space that’s strictly adults-only and which is cut off from the chaos of the rest of the house. Of course, what we each perceive as calming is subjective to our tastes and life experiences but, in general, it’s fair to say that rooms that aren’t full of busy patterns and bright, in-your-face colours are more likely to induce a calming feeling.
Another thing to consider in such a space is the inclusion – or lack of – electrical items such as televisions. Whilst they might be comforting entertainment that many use to relax, the visual stimulation that is simultaneously often mindless stimulation can cause you to zone out when what you may actually need is to centre yourself – not another form of distraction. Also, if you’re to include the area in social situations, such as BBQs or garden parties, for example, the last thing you want is an attention-grabbing object that dulls the senses and limits interaction.
Water features (and this can include fish tanks) are one way to promote calm, whilst also functioning as an eye-catching form of decoration – water is well-regarded for its calming effects. Gently tinkling windchimes could also be a fantastic way of finding inner peace and calm, particularly if you decide to use the space for mindfulness practice such as meditation. Artwork that focuses on peaceful seaside vistas or woodland images can also inspire peace and calm.
Let the Light in
Natural light and soft lighting features are another way of encouraging relaxation, as natural light can promote the body’s production of serotonin and lift your mood, even on some of your dreariest down days.
If you have a conservatory, the likelihood is that the room already possesses large, open windows that allow the light to stream in; if however, you’re converting something such as a garage space, it might be worth considering replacing two-to-three solid walls with floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors, to encourage as much natural light as possible.
If you feel uncomfortable about the possibility of neighbours being able to look in at you throughout the day, or the sun shines in a particular spot that can be more than a little uncomfortable at certain points throughout the day, investing in sheer roller blinds to cover these windows is the perfect solution. They’ll prevent anyone from being able to nosey into your space and goings-on, whilst still allowing light to filter into the room. Make My Blinds create custom blinds according to your design needs and preferences, considering your space and how they can enhance it whilst providing excellent service, so if you’re looking for sheer roller blinds in your summer DIY project, this blog post will provide lots of information!
Welcome Nature Indoors
Over the past few years – particularly during the pandemic – there has been a huge rise in the number of people investing in house plants to dot about their home, matching them with stone-coloured paints, natural materials such as wood and steel, and investing in irrigation systems or humidifiers to create the perfect atmosphere for such plants. It has been argued that their inclusion can be more than a little beneficial to your mental health, offering purpose and small pockets of joy in what has been a difficult year for us all.
Large, leafy green plants in abundance help to add colour to a room that might otherwise be fairly bland, but also provide different textures and shapes that complement the different aspects already in the room. They also allow you to find creative ways of displaying them, allowing you to engage your more artistic side.
When coupled with a room that sits on the edge of nature – i.e., your garden – plants can also help build the illusion of your room being outdoors and at one with nature, whilst being separate from the changeable elements we’re so accustomed to in the UK, and this in itself can help to feel more relaxed whilst building a beautiful space.
Comfy and Cosy
Textures are an important aspect of design that are often overlooked. Soft, silky, fluffy, and velvety textures can help to calm the mind and the soul, inspiring a sense of comfort, which is why it’s important to closely consider the textures you welcome into such a space. Bouncy carpets and rugs, coupled with plush sofas and squishy cushions you can melt into all inspire such feelings and are, as a result, a great choice for a summer relaxation room.
The key to making this room both a space to retreat to, and also to encourage socialising, is to make access fairly simple to achieve. If the space you’re renovating is an existing conservatory, ensure there’s a door between the room and the rest of the house, and build in French doors (or similar) that can be thrown open to reveal the garden and link the room with the outdoor space around it. If you’re converting an old shed or garage, again, lockable doors that are formed predominantly of glass will allow you to remain free of home distractions when you want some peace and quiet, yet can be opened when you want to welcome the outdoors in!
This is perhaps one of the most important elements of all. Whilst shades of white are the go-to for such spaces, as they open it up and invite light in, they are by no means the only colour scheme to include. You can look into soft, summery colour schemes – reminiscent of Moroccan or Mediterranean colour schemes – featuring turquoises, pale salmon pinks, apricots, and pale, buttery yellows, as they will not only be calming (particularly when reflected more in elements such as mosaics, wall patterns, and soft furnishings as opposed to walls) but will also inspire holiday vibes – even on those much-maligned rainy days!
Holidays may be pretty much out of the question for the foreseeable future for many, but there are still ways you can renovate your home to create that all-important space for relaxation and personal time, whilst allowing for the perfect space for socialising!