Oh, sweet summer! Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the Sun on an outdoor sofa or hammock? I bet you agree. But you have to realise two things. First, the weather in Britain is broken. Two, most urban gardens are minuscule.
No need to panic though. Just because your outside space is tiny doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Have you had enough of “bistro” dining sets and tatty beach chairs? I got the solution for you.
Inspired by the finest mid-century modern architecture of Palms Springs. This mood board focuses on outdoor furniture for small spaces. And it’s 100% British weatherproof, too.
The space: small wet gardens
Most of us who live in urban areas are lucky to have a patch of land to call a garden. I blame the Victorians and their narrow terraced houses! Speculative developers built them for the working classes throughout the 19th Century. Their aim was to divide each plot of land into as many houses as possible.
And they succeeded. This resulted in the typical narrow garden you know. Some are square and compact. Others are longer and awkward. Most are exposed to all your neighbours. Yes, you can put a two-metre fence up, but Mrs Evans can still see you from her window.
STYLE TIP: Decorate your garden the same way you would do any other room. Plan the layout around your needs, source suitable furniture and finish it off with accessories.
Let’s not forget weather is an issue here — permanently. Cardiff is, year after year, awarded the honour to be the UK’s rainiest city. And the UK is pretty wet in the summer already. Weatherproof furniture is a must. So it can be left outside all year round without being damaged. If it’s easy to store, even better.
The inspiration: Southern California vibes
Palm Springs is a famous desert resort city in California. Located in the trendy Coachella Valley, not far from where the festival takes place. Despite its modest population — the size of Canterbury — it became a hub for design. Some of the greatest examples of American mid-century modern architecture are here.
Ah, those typical ranch houses, motels and palm tree-filled streets. Most of the original buildings and features have survived the ever-changing trends. The whole place is like a time capsule of 20th-century goodness. Life in Palm Springs is good (at least on the outside).
American mid-century modern is relaxed and informal. Influenced by Brazilian and Scandinavian designers of the time. The organic nature and openness of the style are also brought to the outdoor spaces. Let’s have a look and discover how you can bring the essence of Palm Springs to your garden.
The mood board: Palm Springs-inspired outdoor furniture for small spaces
The ultimate look would be a round Saarinen dining table, Bertoia chairs and a mid-century Sun shade. But we’re talking about £5,500 worth of outdoor furniture… exposed to the British summer. No, thanks.
I’ve selected the following stylish pieces for you. Including classic designs and contemporary touches. And if a seagull poops on them, you won’t be crying your eyes out.
1. Vegetal chairs (Vitra)
Designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Inspired by the organic shapes of trees and plants. Good to know that you can stack up to three. Available in various colours, but “cactus” wins for me.
2. Terrazzo round table (HAY)
Made with a terrazzo base and galvanised powder-coated steel body. This solid table will be the epicentre of outdoor entertaining. A compact and durable piece, with a curious contrast of materials.
3. Recycled cotton rug (Rug Solid)
According to the manufacturer, it’s “made from remnants from the fashion industry. You may even be able to spot tiny details from famous fashion brands if you are lucky.” Anyway, it’s washable!
4. Hardoy Butterfly chair (The Conran Shop)
The splurge piece of the lot. The iconic Argentinian BKF chair. Designed by Jorge Ferrari, Antonio Bonet and Juan Kurchan in the 1930s. The stainless steel frame and acrylic seat cover are waterproof.
5. Indra side table (MADE)
A little side table with massive personality. The geometric tiled top adds a contemporary twist with white marble and concrete. And it’s easy to maintain! Just wipe down and go.
6. Unic blanket 1 (Canett)
You will need a warm cosy blanket when the Sun goes down. And if it’s this one from Danish brand Canett even better! It comes in a soft cream colour and it’s made of 100% wool.
7. Linear cushion (Nomess Copenhagen)
This green cushion is made of cotton and polyester. But it has an elegant and delicate feel to it. A refreshing contrast against the metal and plastic furniture. The funny thing is polyester is a plastic.
8. Onega planters (Wayfair)
Add a splash of greenery with a collection of planters in different sizes. The Onega range is made of fibreglass, and that makes the pots frost-proof. The smooth semi-gloss finish is easy to clean too.
9. Fallen fruits fire pit (Wayfair)
And when the blanket is not enough, you can burn a few logs in this fire pit. It’s on the small side (59 cm diameter) and the classic bowl shape was a popular mid-century choice. Made of heavy cast iron.
What do you think?
Are you going for any specific style in your garden? Do you have a favourite piece of outdoor furniture for small spaces? Let me know in the comments below!
Looking to buy mid-century modern furniture online? Download my PDF shopping guide now ➜