Okapi Home - room layout

25 May

Let some light into your life

We regularly invite design and interiors experts to write for our blog. Read the latest guest blog here, on bringing the outside in, from Jamie Hempsall Interiors

Garden Rooms can be a cost effective extension in which to enjoy the pleasures of your garden. Richard Bond of interior design consultancy Jamie Hempsall Ltd looks at creating the perfect environment.

The British home-owner is passionate about many aspects of their dwellings, but we do have a particular penchant for Garden Rooms. No doubt partly because our changeable climate means they are one of the only we can actually experience our gardens throughout the year – albeit from the comfort of an armchair.

They can be a relatively cost effective way to extend a home and one that, if carefully planned, is likely to create a return on investment. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS) they can add between four and five per cent to the value of your home. This is obviously dependent upon choosing a design that is sympathetic to the age and style of your home and in keeping with the environment in which it is located.

There is an incredible benefit of living in natural light (even the meagre version that we sometimes get in the UK) that is shown to help lift spirit throughout the year. This makes a conservatory ideal for use as an everyday living space, rather than an occasional use room – so consider their construction and external aesthetic design carefully.

Garden Rooms are a gateway between the inside and outside, so your interior scheme needs to not to the garden, but at the same time transition from the decor in the rest of your home.

Flooring immediately sets the tone and perceived temperature of your conservatory. Hard surfaces, rather than the likes of carpet, are best as they cope well with the strains of temperature change and sunlight. Marble or stone provide a superb upscale finish, but you can also achieve an impactful look with quality vinyl floorings. Specialist vinyl-floor fitters can create sophisticated designs to suit modern or heritage designs, but ensure that your fitter is using an adhesive that is suitable for high heat environments.

04. Jamie Hempsall Interiors - Vincent Sheppard Lily Chair & Lille Table

Any window dressings should be kept extremely simple to allow the maximum view. Sailcloth is a sympathetic buy hydrocodone watson finish for ceiling blinds, while wooden venetian blinds across side windows and doors can provide extra privacy without hiding the view.

When choosing a colour for window treatments either continue the idea of a garden portal by matching them to a shade that is visible externally throughout the year or blend into the background by toning to the colour chosen for your wall or floor finish.

One of the nicest products for furnishing a conservatory in use as a day room is traditional Lloyd Loom, manufactured from woven twisted paper and wire. It is extremely durable as evidenced by the on-going market in vintage pieces. This manufacturing method is still employed by Vincent Sheppard and Lloyd Loom Manufacturing, who both offer ranges of traditional and contemporary designs that cope well with any potential changes in temperature and humidity.

Jamie Hempsall Interiors - Osborne & Little Sea Breeze Collection

In some garden rooms, you may want to avoid dark colours in your upholstery, particularly red, as these can fade quickly in direct sunlight. Westbury offers high technology glass which will reduce fading, or soft furnishings and certain fade proof fabrics can be a good solution if you love darker colours. Printed fabrics also tend to fade less than woven ones. You may also want to consider using some of the fabric ranges designed specifically for outdoor use as these are more fade resistant. The new Sea Breeze collection from Osborne & Little and Designer Guild’s Tiana range show that the ‘outdoor’ does not need to signify bland or uninteresting.

Ensure that you include plenty of electrical points for flexible lighting from table lamps to maximise use throughout the year and add wall lights on dimmers to provide controllable ambience. A central ceiling hook that can carry considerable weight, with electrical provision, will allow you to include a feature chandelier (important if using your conservatory as a dining room) or a powerful fan.

After all that, you can settle back in a comfy chair and admire the view – whatever the weather!

Jamie Hempsall Ltd is a multi-award winning interior design consultancy. You can see more of their work at www.jamiehempsall.com or follow them on twitter at @JamieHempsall.