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Merge outdoors and indoors

Want to create a room that blends seamlessly with the garden beyond? Doing so will make your interior space feel bigger, brighter and contemporary - and it will draw attention to your garden beyond, too. Being able to entertain outdoors is something most people take for granted in our warm, sunny climate. Here's how to ...


Open up the view

First off, any French doors or large picture windows that overlook a garden should be kept clear of clutter to show off the space beyond to best effect. Keep curtains and blinds to a minimum too - ideally, chose something that can be pulled right up or right back, such as shutters or roller blinds.

Folding glass or seamless doors that cantilever right back so as to be unobtrusive when open are the key to merging indoors with out. Putting as much glass as possible into the room that leads to the garden inevitably brings the outdoors in.

If you do this, ensure your view is a good one - even if that just means a small, but neat garden. If you don't have a wonderful view or a large garden to make the space beyond your living area attractive to look at, try some dramatic planting, smart garden furniture, lots of greenery and a strong colour scheme.

If you are overlooked, it's likely you'll want some privacy in your living space, so choose your window dressings carefully. Shutters that can be left open so that you can see the garden beyond are one choice; another is to buy semi-transparent roller blinds.

All decked out

Choosing a flooring that can run from the inside of your home right outdoors will also help merge spaces - combine this with doors that open right back and the transition is seamless. As well as choosing flooring that's the same material indoors and out, ensure your garden and living space are at exactly the same level - doing so will be not just more convenient, but will help lead the ye outdoors, making the indoor space feel bigger.

Dressing up outdoors

Choosing garden furniture that would look just as good indoors is a trick that you can use to blur the indoor/outdoor divide. And adding colors from your garden to the inside of your home merges the indoor/outdoor atmosphere. Painting your garden furniture to reflect the colour scheme in the room nearest the garden is a really easy and affordable way to link the two spaces visually. Use planting around the patio to echo the colours indoors, too.

Light up the night

Don't forget that you use the inside of your home all day and all evening, but even if it's too cold to go outdoors, there's no reason (other than energy saving considerations) not to light the garden well, so that you can enjoy it from within. Go for low energy options where possible, and turn the lights off when the garden's no longer in view.

janice anderssen - channel4