Mad About … Outdoor Living Rooms

There is something almost unbearably romantic about an outdoor living room. Perhaps it is just the promise of a summer so long and hot that you don’t need to worry about the rain ruining the furniture. Perhaps it is simply that in the UK, the summers are neither long enough not dry enough to warrant an extra sitting room.

I recently researched a feature on interior design in Sydney and was told that many Australians are using their reception rooms as extra bedrooms, playrooms or studies and making a proper outdoor living space instead.

Many years ago I lived in West Africa for a year. We stayed in a house with a wrap around verandah that had rugs, sofas, tables and a hammock. I spent several very happy weeks sleeping in the hammock at night and still long to be able to sleep outside – and not under canvas. That is not the same thing at all.

ahilya fort, maheshwar, india from

So, here, in honour of the delightful summer that has finally shown its face – the best for seven years apparently, are some wonderful outdoor living rooms to admire and dream about.

Enjoy them. I’m off to build a giant pergola over my deck over which I will train vines and creepers and then I will hang a hammock and arrange a couple of chairs and a lamp.


This one is perhaps a little too pink for me but I love the idea of creating a built-in cement bench – at least it would withstand the British weather and you could carry a few cushions in and out. I would probably landscape it slightly so that it was a bit curvier to sit on.

This is an enormous space but look at the fabulous stone fireplace at one end. I love that idea of taking the indoors out instead of the other way round.

outdoor kitchen

This image below is in New Zealand but it feels more achievable for our UK climate. I would string a hammock between two of those supports.

mill cottage akaroa newzealand
mill cottage, akaroa, new zealand






Tags : gardenhammockoutdoor living
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. With more and more people wanting to bring the indoors out, what a great representation of how to do this! The first image of that outdoor space is wonderful, and the use of outdoor rugs also goes a long way, I think.
    I have been looking into how to make my own outdoor space unique and more inviting and some of the points here are good inspiration!

    Thanks for another great article!

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