Last days of summer

PA Photo/Handout
PA Photo/Handout

Dream escapes might last one or two weeks of the year - if you’re lucky - but creating a sun-kissed theme at home means you can ‘live with’ that holiday glow for longer.

Accessorising with natural materials and neutral shades, against a soft palette of blonde, beige and honey tones, will conjure a laid-back look that’s subtle and fresh.

Anything reminiscent of a seaside retreat - think driftwood and shells - worn timber and stone with a luxe, or battered, leather sofa or neutral chair, will add a sense of depth and a relaxed vibe, while anything faux sun-faded will look right at home.

“Our quirky driftwood accents are perfect for creating a laid-back, beach-side feel, and for bringing the warmth and texture of nature into your home,” says Nathalie Davis, director at Cuckooland. “ Neutral colours will accentuate light, encouraging that dreamy, sun-kissed look, whilst being much more subtle and adaptable than a full-on nautical theme.”

Indeed, the joy of a hint of colour and barely-there prints is that you can make a statement without being overpowering. Rooms can evolve gradually, and hanging holiday items, such as a straw sun hat or fedora, over a wooden dresser, will hint at island life. Similarly, a wooden beaded necklace, spilling out of a ceramic bowl on a coffee table, can add a certain nonchalance to the atmosphere.

“Incorporating timber, like reclaimed teak, will bring warmth and depth,” says Emily Proctor, a buyer at Raft. “ Unlike plantation timbers that can look flat and plasticky, reclaimed teak has grown slowly over many years and retains the markings and knots inherent to naturally growing timber. Mixed with other natural materials, like linen, cotton and wool, it will create an organic look, rich in texture.”

Small, simple changes can make a huge difference. House of Fraser have introduced a new lifestyle brand, Gray & Willow, which champions ‘traditional making methods and natural materials, with a simple, understated aesthetic at the heart of the creative process’.

Key pieces, such as cream knitted cushions, basket knit throws and their Pebble dinnerware range, are good entry level items for introducing texture. And if you love the results, aspirational pieces, like the distressed brown leather sofa and dining table, will soon have rooms ready for casual entertaining.

This is where the fun begins, and you can start piling on the muslin and layering washed cotton yarns.

Decos, curiosities and trinkets will instantly bring a room to life. Look to the coast for inspiration to style a side table or mantelpiece, with seashell frames, mirrors and arts and crafts. Objet d’art and holiday souvenirs evoke memories and add interest and individual style - especially if you group them with contemporary pieces.

Marks & Spencer have a new collection of white sculptural vases - a single stem, perhaps a sunflower, or reeds of grass can look fetching - and placing them with natural items, such as pebbles or shells, makes a pleasing summery statement.

For a more eclectic look, burnished copper accents, such as tarnished metals that might have been washed up on the shore, will look great nestled among decorative candlesticks and a cluster of tea-lights to add a warm glow. Scented candles, with uplifting notes of exotic coconut, vanilla and almond, or a room diffuser with the aromas of a sandy beach or windswept, salty shoreline, will add another dimension too.