I don’t know how this has happened, but apparently it’s the middle of July. The older I get, the faster the years go – I’m sure of it.
A lot of people ask me if it’s possible to experience hygge in the summer. The answer is YES! It may seem counter-intuitive, trying to get cosy in swelteringly humid heat, but we can think about it differently. Ditch all the cushions and blankets and hot chocolates (well, not ditch – just put them to one side for now) and let’s think about ways we can make our homes feel fresher, brighter and ready for summer entertaining. And with the school summer holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect time to start adding some hygge touches to our homes.
Flowers and foliage
I’m a massive, massive fan of fresh flowers, and I pretty much always have a fresh bouquet on the go. My flowers of choice come from Bloom & Wild (get £10 off your first bouquet with my referral code), which slip through the letterbox for easy delivery even when you’re out all day. But if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the answer may lie in your own back garden. Even if you don’t fancy raiding your flowerbeds, now might be a good time to make use of all the offcuts from your pruning. Little branches from trees can look really striking in a vase on their own, or wildflowers can be bunched together as pretty posies. Or if you’re hosting, why not make use of the daisies popping up all over your lawn with some daisy chain garlands? These can be wrapped around vases, used as napkin rings or strung over mirrors for a little pop of summery prettiness. Or if flowers aren’t your thing, how about an arrangement of herb pots? Parsley, basil and mint are perfect for peppy summer cooking, and if you have any leftover mint, freeze it into ice cubes to drop into drinks – mine’s a Pimm’s…
Make the most of your unique features
I have this real thing for exposed beams in homes (probably from watching too much Escape to the Country as a teenager – I know, cool or what), and I think they can be really useful for decorating too. If you’re not lucky enough to have your own, Tradoak does an amazing range of reclaimed oak beams recycled from old houses and barns, giving you a really authentic look and feel even in a newer property. I would want to wrap some fairy lights around these, or to suspend a few hanging terrariums from the ceiling – a few little succulents planted in some compost and gravel and you’re good to go. As always, Pinterest is our friend here – I’m thinking something like this…
If you have nice wide windowsills, why not give a bit of love to them with some plant troughs or a little zen garden? Original wooden floors can be spruced up with some light, bright rugs in a thin pile to stay comfortable even in the heat. I’ve also always wanted bay windows, as they’re the perfect canvas for long, ethereal curtains in the summer to flutter lazily in the warm breeze. I’m inspired by this gorgeous scene in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (skip to 1.15 if it doesn’t automatically play from there)…
Nautical but nice
I’m from beautiful Brighton, so I will always have an affinity with anything nautical. I love looking at the fishing boats on the seafront, and I used to drive my mum crazy as a child by always leaving the beach with another shell collection (and the summer I brought home several fish I found washed up on the shore unbeknownst to her… she wasn’t thrilled, weirdly). For a little touch of the seaside, why not collect all your shells and pebbles into a glass bowl in the bathroom? Or you could gather them into an eye-catching arrangement in the garden – ideal if you have a pond or water feature.
From time to time, I’ll find a nice big piece of driftwood washed up on the beach. If you’re handier than I am, you might be able to treat the wood (maybe a nice beachy whitewash) and use it as a little display tray or serving platter. You could use it for little trinkets – maybe jewellery, or at the end of the bath to store all your products.
Give the garden some love
In winter, we understandably neglect our gardens a bit. Who wants to be on their knees weeding in the pelting rain? So summer is the time to get everything in order ready for the first BBQ of the year – and even better, gardening is good for both our mental and physical health, so it’s the perfect reason to get out in the sunshine! Seeing as hygge is all about cosiness, it can help to think of the garden as another room. The lighting can completely transform a garden, especially after dark, so think about solar lights and outdoor lanterns – these can be placed down paths for a magical journey through the garden, or clustered in the areas in which you’ll be entertaining to maintain an inviting cosy glow after the sun has set. A firepit or a bonfire are also great for throwing off heat and light, and they’re perfect for toasting marshmallows if you’re not going camping this summer.
Or, if you’re in a flat, how about getting a windowbox? Granted, there’s probably not enough space in one to entertain, but it’s a way to claim your little patch of outside space with flowers, herbs and maybe even fruit if you’re feeling ambitious! I’ve always had the most success with strawberries and tomatoes in pots, though bizarrely I have a pumpkin in a pot on the go at the moment which is going wild, so it’s definitely worth experimenting. I always dry out my cherry stones and plant them at the end of summer just in case… maybe one day I’ll be writing this blog from a cherry orchard, who knows!
It can be really hard to get to sleep when it’s hot and muggy, so your bedroom might need a little TLC. ‘Cosy’ is probably the last thing you want to be in this weather, so let’s think ‘comfortable’ instead. It gets light much earlier, so invest in some blackout blinds so you don’t keep waking up at sunrise, and make sure you have suitable bedding. Out with the heavy duvets and in with lightweight layers. I personally can’t sleep without SOMETHING covering me, even in the sweltering heat, so sheets and lightweight blankets are our friends here. I also keep this little water spritzer next to my bed so I can cool down in the middle of the night (and it’s only 50ml so great for taking on holiday).
I always have my windows thrown wide open, but for nights where the air is completely still and stifling I also have a fan going. Granted, these aren’t the prettiest things to keep in a bedroom, but there comes a point where practicality must prevail, and style goes out of the window in favour of not melting.
What do you do to get your home ready for summer? Do you have any home projects to tackle this summer?