Life might be getting back to some semblance of normality (I mean, going to the cinema and having a glass of wine inside seems SUCH a treat, right!) but there are some lessons we learnt from almost a year in lockdown that we want to keep hold of. And one of these is spending more time outdoors. All that fresh air does wonders for our sleeping patterns and complexion, right!
So, when we came across some musings from Michelle Ogundehin called Outward Bound, we were excited. She said: The Scandinavians have taught us a lot about how to live happy and be cosy at home. We duly imbibed hygge and got down with Lagom. We bought sheepskins, marvelled at Danish design classics and binged on chilly crime dramas.
We might have thought our Nordic neighbours could only teach us clever ways to live well in the winter, but come the summer, the lessons continue. There’s even a lovely new Scandi word to adopt: friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv), meaning open-air living.
In 2020 we learned to maximise every scrap of outdoor space. We understood the benefits of being outside as much as possible and started to think of any balcony, roof top or garden as an extension of our home. Of course, this is enhanced immeasurably if you’re overlooking a fjord or a forest! Yet even without a jigsaw-worthy view, we made the most of what we had, from prettifying porches with welcoming tubs of flowers to upgrading our windowsill planting.
However, really living the friluftsliv way is also about a mindset shift. It’s a default to heading outdoors at the end of the day, rather than slumping on the sofa. It’s normalising the flinging open of windows, rather than sealing yourself in. It’s working out what can be grilled on a BBQ, as an alternative to slinging ready meals in a microwave. This is even before we get into the supremely restorative exercise, for mind as well as body, that is the act of simply engaging with nature.
Essentially, though, in my opinion, the fast track to UK outdoor success is to treat whatever space you have exactly as if it were indoors. Key considerations being as follows: the establishment of a focal point, the introduction of colour, and employing enough texture.
Today almost nothing is out of bounds due to the sheer wealth of outdoor furniture, finishes and accessories available. Even whole kitchens. So, paint your fence pink if that’s what takes your fancy, throw down an outdoor rug, buy seating that you’d use inside (important if storage is an issue), don’t forget lighting and be sure to upgrade to all-weather fabrics (i.e. sun and mildew proof). After all, to fully embrace the great in/ outdoors is to completely dissolve the barrier between inside and out, and to believe that you will be better for it.
Michelle’s Fresh Ideas:
• Keep air moving indoors. It’s oxygenating and virus-busting, and will make you feel more alert and sprightly
• If your view is less than lovely, windowsill planters create a green buffer. Any sunny spot is good for herbs
• Before summer starts, treat wooden furniture to a liberal oiling, and keep all metallic parts protected with rust-busting paint
• Don’t forget a sun umbrella that properly blocks harmful rays. Invaluable if you have small children
Futon Company says: Regular blog readers will know that here at Futon Company we’re big fans of all things Scandi. From Scandi design and materials to embracing their approach to life, we’ve written many blogs on Hygge and Lagom, so we love Michelle’s feature on making the most of the great outdoors.
As experts in small space living, we’re conscious that not everybody has a garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace this way of living. Whether your outside space is the local park, a Juliet balcony, a small deck or a lawned garden, fresh air is fresh air. All you need to get you in the mood is some portable kit that aids your relaxation time, working outdoors or eating alfresco. And breathe….