From buzzing bumblebees to the blazing blue sky, summer is a real joy to behold. With alfresco dining season on the horizon (if you haven’t already started), now is the perfect time to get your home — and outdoor space — ready for the beautiful, balmy days ahead.
Astronomical summer begins on Tuesday 21st June 2022 and ends on Friday 23rd September, meanwhile metrological summer always begins on 1st June and ends on 31st August. Before you dust off your barbecue, keep reading for the tips and tricks to get your space set for the summer season…
1. Give your home an exterior touch-up
Summer is an ideal season to get exterior paint jobs done, thanks to its reliably dry weather (most of the time). Generally speaking, the best time of year for exterior painting is between the months of April and October, although try to avoid revamping your door or window frames in a heatwave as the paint could end up drying too quickly.
A lick of colour can instantly boost your kerb appeal. Paint jobs to add to your to-do list include repainting your front door, giving your garden fence some love, and touching up tired-looking window frames.
‘Your garden fences and walls could be looking unkempt by the time summer arrives, with cold temperatures and rain taking their toll,’ explains Charles Taylor, director of sustainable decking brand Composite Prime. ‘After clearing the most affected areas with sandpaper or a brush, add a layer of good quality outdoor paint to restore a more uniform colour.’
2. Decorate with summer brights
Want to give your home a seasonal upgrade? Break out into fresh colours — think oranges, zesty yellows and pastel blues — to create an easy-breezy vibe at home. It could be zoning a room using paint, simply layering a few scatter cushions on your sofa in sea-green turquoise, or buying new bedlinen that feels as bright as summer mornings.
‘Summer is an exciting time to play with your home furnishings and it’s the perfect opportunity to add splashes of colour and texture,’ says Sam Hood, co founder and chief creative officer at Amara. ‘Be brave and opt for bold colours, graphic patterns and lots of tactile materials. Adding a statement cushion to a bed or a sofa can change the entire feeling of a room. Choose warmer tones such as sunshine yellows and burnt oranges that reflect the weather outside.’
If there’s one colour that will bring instant joy to your space, it’s yellow. ‘Sunny yellow brings a touch of warmth and optimism, perfect for bringing a sense of positivity into the home. Yellow is also a soothing colour, particularly when mixed with cool, calming tones such as greys and pale, muted blues,’ adds Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown Paints.
3. Deep clean your BBQ
Barbecues should ideally be cleaned after every use, however, it is recommended that they are deep cleaned on occasion as well. With summer approaching, now is the perfect time to slip on your Marigold gloves and remove grease and grime in time for alfresco dining. If left, layers of old, burnt food and excessive oil could be a fire hazard, so it’s important to clean yours regularly.
‘To clean your barbecue, start with the interior. Turn on the grill to its highest temperature setting and close the hood. Wait for 10-15 minutes, open the lid and scrape the grates with a non-bristle metal grill brush. Be careful when cleaning so you don’t burn yourself,’ says Sophie Herrmann, spokesperson at Jeyes Fluid.
‘Move onto the grill’s interior “grillbox”, which can be emptied and washed out with warm soapy water. If a lot of grease and food particles have already hardened up, use an old metal knife or old spatula to scrape the sides of the grill chamber. Then, remove the grime, tough stains and any burnt-on food using a specialist product. If you’re planning to store your barbecue for more than two months, clean it thoroughly before you put it away to keep it in good condition.’
4. Perk up your garden furniture
Dusting off your hanging egg chair from last year? Want to revamp your garden furniture set? Now is an excellent time to take your outdoor tables, chairs and sofas from tired to terrific with a little care. Remove dirt, cobwebs, dead leaves, and other debris from the harsh winter weather (and recent spring storms) by using warm soapy water. It’s an inexpensive way to revive what you already have without buying new.
For wooden furniture sets or wooden benches, use a pressure washer to remove built-up grime. If things still need a little perking up, try transforming furniture with weather-proof paint or a glaze of varnish. You’ll impress guests in no time.
‘Cleaning garden furniture is one of those jobs that’s easy to put off but using a pressure washer can easily give furniture a new lease of life and end up saving you money in the long run,’ the team at Kärcher say. ‘Using a pressure washer also saves approximately 80 per cent of water compared to using a traditional scrubbing brush and garden hose, as well as being virtually effortless.’
5. Keep your space light and airy
Our winter coats might be tucked away for another season, but don’t forget to swap thick blankets for light throws, dark bedlinen for summer lights, and thermal curtains for billowy voiles. Other tricks to try include opening windows (don’t forget to give them a clean), using mirrors strategically to reflect light and placing plants on sideboards.
Sanel Konyar and Founder of Interior Kollection, suggests: ‘Refresh your home by swapping darks for bright and light. If your home tends to veer towards more autumnal shades, inject some cheery colour through soft furnishings or jump onto the botanical trend and bring flora and fauna into your home through prints and accessories.’
6. Get your garden ready
Now that all risks of frost have passed, it’s time to get your garden ready for the summer season. First of all, sweep up any dead leaves, mow the lawn, remove weeds, prune bushes and plants, and keep your allotments well-watered (especially if you’re after a bumper crop of produce). If your garden is looking a little bare, consider sowing speedy annuals, such as night-scented stocks, sunflowers, sweet peas and cornflowers.
After this, it’s time to impress your guests with personal touches and create a truly stunning space to relax in. Invest in hanging egg chairs, string outdoor lights along your fence, purchase a sun lounger, place lanterns to create a pathway, prop up a garden sofa for reclining, and finish the look with metal garden furniture. Don’t forget cosy outdoor cushions, too.
The experts at Nöa & Nani explain: ‘An outdoor table is an ideal choice for the patio, it can be used to serve drinks when socialising or to create more of a decorative feature for pots, plants and other garden accessories. Play with layers to create depth and look to use items of different sizes in complementing colours for the perfect, cohesive outdoor scheme.’
7. Look out for mould growth
Mould spores thrive well during summer, due to increased temperatures and humidity. Inspect your home for a build-up of water, not forgetting to leave washing machine doors open after use, ensuring your bathroom is well-ventilated, and checking sinks and tubs for leakages.
Top tip: Place a Peace Lily in different rooms around your home. These clever plants can absorb excess moisture in the room, and prevent mould growth and mildew formation.
8. Fill your home with greenery
‘Incorporating a little greenery indoors is the perfect way to get your home ready for summer,’ says Richard Ferguson, Homebase’s Home & Furniture Buying Manager. ‘A quick and easy way to do this is by collecting and painting a bunch of twigs from the garden. You can then add to this with ribbons, daffodils, and other floral favourites as they come into bloom. You can be really creative with how you choose to display them – think about using glass bottles or a vintage-style metal watering can to add a little bit of character.’
9. Clean your windows
With snow, sleet and rain (hopefully) out of the way, now is the time to clean your windows, eliminate unhealthy mould and restore their shine – both inside and out.
‘Smears on windows can be very frustrating and ruin the appearance of your property but there are plenty of ways to ensure that they disappear,’ advises Adam Pawson, Head of Digital at Safestyle UK.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at the easy ways to clean your windows below:
1. Make sure you’re using a microfibre or paper cloth to remove any dust before you begin. For uPVC window frames, marks and stains should come off with ease. Fill up a bowl with some warm water and washing-up liquid and use a soft white cloth to wipe down. Avoid using a coloured cloth as the dye can stain plastic.
2. Adam suggests: ‘I’d recommend using a spray consisting of one part distilled (white) vinegar to 10 parts warm water which can be applied directly to a cloth before being rubbed evenly against the glass. For a bit of extra sparkle, sprinkle some baking powder onto the cloth before you add the solution and it will aid the cleaning process.’
3. Finally, don’t forget your window frames. ‘It can be easy to ignore our inner window frames but they are easily susceptible to becoming clogged with dirt and debris. To tackle these hard to reach areas, start by opening up the window and take an old toothbrush to loosen any dirt, dust and cobwebs that might be stuck in the frame.’
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