Bringing The Indoors Out / by Tash South

Here in England, we don’t often have the long, hot summers for the full alfresco lifestyle I used to enjoy when I lived in Cape Town, but it’s not all bad – at least we do get the occasional, glorious sunny spell, when we get to spend time, and entertain outside.

I love the idea of bringing some interior comforts outdoors to create a comfortable outdoor living space. Start with a garden sofa, some cushions and an indoor/outdoor rug, and you won’t need much more before sinking in for long lazy weekend days in the garden with family or friends.

The outdoor living room at South Place Studio

As more and more of us are renovating our homes and adding modern extensions with large-scale glazing opening onto our gardens, it makes sense to make full use of the outside space we have by creating an extra room, connecting the inside and out, and by making it a beautiful view to look at from the inside.

If you have large glazing opening onto your garden, choose similar materials and furniture for indoors and out for a cohesive feel.

Our outdoor living room looks onto the back of the house. I often sit there and reflect on the challenging house-building process!

Here, at South Place Studio, our London garden is definitely on the small side, and it’s still maturing after the recent finish of the house build, but I’ve planned it carefully to make the most of the space, as well as using low maintenance materials wherever possible, which I think is key for such a small space.

I’ve chosen a clean-lined modular outdoor sofa in grey.

The modular L-shaped garden sofa I’ve chosen is light-weight and separates into four smaller pieces, giving me the option to easily move it around to different locations and form different layouts for various occasions.
The natural-coloured indoor/outdoor rug definitely makes the space – it zones the outdoor living area well, and is pleasingly textured underfoot, adding a bit of luxury to this outdoor living space.

We’ve spent so much time here during this summer, even hosting around 35 people for our daughter’s first birthday party. Just by adding a few pieces to your garden, you can turn an unused corner into the most welcoming section of you garden. I’ve put together some quick tips below to create your own outdoor living room.

The garden decorated and ready for our daughter’s first birthday party.


Tips For Creating An Outdoor Living Room:

Outdoor Furniture

Start with a comfy place to stretch out and take it all in – if you have bi-folds or large glazing, my top tip is to take inspiration from the furniture you have inside and choose a similar style for the outside. Our home is modern, so I’ve chosen a sofa with clean lines and cushions in a plain, white fabric, because all the flowering plants I’ve planted in the garden have only white flowers.
And of course a coffee or side table is an absolute must for those obligatory summer drinks!

I particularly chose an L-shaped sofa for maximum comfort and slouching opportunity!

Choose an indoor/outdoor rug to zone the area

I’ve selected a natural toned, textured rug that  and is the perfect size for outdoors, but in bad weather when I’m not using it here I have it indoors, either in the living room or spare bedroom, so it’s also great for adapting the looks of other rooms when I feel like a bit of a change. For pleasing scale: make sure your rug is at least the same width as your garden sofa.

The Salvadore rug has great natural colour and texture, and the subtle black border gives it a modern touch and compliments the dark decking beautifully.


Besides the plants and trees already growing in your garden, place some extra plants in pots and planters to your outdoor room for a more intimate feel, or perhaps some taller plants to screen for privacy if your garden is overlooked.

I’ve planted blue/green toned plants in the built up plant beds, but I also have the tall black planters that I move around for different looks.


If you don’t have integrated garden lighting, there are so many battery, solar or plug-in options available that will be able to illuminate your outdoor space so that you can enjoy it way after the sun goes down

As a finishing touch, especially for a party, I love adding small vases of flowers and herbs from the garden.

Finishing Touches

Cushions, blankets and throws all add to the cosiness of bringing the indoors out, especially when the temperature drops in the evenings. I’ve chosen greens for the cushions, and along with the natural tones of the rug, the colours reflect those already found in the garden. I love adding a small vase of flowers and/or herbs from the garden, especially if I’m having guests over.



The indoor/outdoor Salvadore rug was a gift from Carpetright.
The paints on the fence and garden walls were gifted as part of a previous collaboration with Crown/Sadolin paints.
The champagne saucer was gifted as part of a previous collaboration with LSA International.

Photography credits:
Image 3: Michelle Beatty for MAB Architects
All others: Tash South