A password will be e-mailed to you.

4 ways to turn your home into a sunny sanctuary

Let’s talk about how to make your home into one sunny sanctuary for everyone. Going away on holiday is lovely, but there’s nothing nicer than enjoying sunny days at home (no packing, flight delays, crowds or mozzies to contend with).

So why not turn your home into it’s own super-summer sanctuary destination by creating a desert-inspired setting, perhaps even an outdoor cinema,  beautiful balcony, and children’s play area?

Here’s how to go about it, sunny sanctuary here we come…

1. Hothouse style

Even if the weather’s changeable, you can turn up the heat at home with decor inspired by the dessert and tropical zones.

Cactus cool: (Clockwise from left) Staghorn Plant, £70; Small Yuha Cactus, £85; String of Pearls Succulent, currently reduced to £36 from £45, and Sinai Cactus, currently reduced to £52 from £65, all Abigail Ahern/EDITION at Debenhams (Abigail Ahern/Debenhams/PA)
Cactus cool: (Clockwise from left) Staghorn Plant, £70; Small Yuha Cactus, £85; String of Pearls Succulent, currently reduced to £36 from £45, and Sinai Cactus, currently reduced to £52 from £65, all Abigail Ahern/EDITION at Debenhams (Abigail Ahern/Debenhams/PA)

“I am obsessed with cacti, so I jumped at the chance of creating my own collection,” says designer, Abigail Ahern.

“My new botanicals range at Debenhams is desert-inspired and I’ve been playing with scale, which is one of my trademarks, and the result is these fabulous jumbo-sized  faux cacti. I have them everywhere in my London home, because they really add instant ‘wow’ factor and are a great way to add colour, intrigue and texture to rooms.”

Tip:  An Exotic Leaves Mural, from £26 per square metre, Wallsauce (top picture), could be the perfect sultry backdrop for a room.

Hothouse pics: (Clockwise from left) Small Yuha Cactus, £85, Abigail Ahern/EDITION at Debenhams; Gisela Graham Safari Collection Faux Bamboo Plant, £30.99, The Contemporary Home (available July 28); Large Goldenball Cactus, currently reduced to £78 from £98, Abigail Ahern/EDITION at Debenhams, and Cactus Pillow, £17.50, Cotswold Outdoor (Abigail Ahern/Debehhams/The Contemporary Home/Cotswold Outdoor/PA)
Hothouse pics: (Clockwise from left) Small Yuha Cactus, £85, Abigail Ahern/EDITION at Debenhams; Gisela Graham Safari Collection Faux Bamboo Plant, £30.99, The Contemporary Home (available July 28); Large Goldenball Cactus, currently reduced to £78 from £98, Abigail Ahern/EDITION at Debenhams, and Cactus Pillow, £17.50, Cotswold Outdoor (Abigail Ahern/Debehhams/The Contemporary Home/Cotswold Outdoor/PA)

2. Movie Zone

Bring Hollywood into the back garden with your own outdoor movie theatre…

Move magic: Fence painted with Dusky Gem, and chairs painted with Fresh Rosemary and Lavender from Cuprinol's Garden Shades collection, from £14.98 for 1L (Cuprinol/PA)
Move magic: Fence painted with Dusky Gem, and chairs painted with Fresh Rosemary and Lavender from Cuprinol’s Garden Shades collection, from £14.98 for 1L (Cuprinol/PA)

“The simple pleasures of entertaining family and friends on a summer evening doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive to be truly epic,” says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Cuprinol.

“By day, a fence is just a fence, but by night, with the addition of a plain white sheet, it can transform into a cinema screen. Add a string of lights, a wooden pallet or two, some old cane furniture, throw a few rugs down, and you can view in style.”

Tip: Ramp up the ‘big screen’ effect with an American Originals Popcorn Maker, £19.99, Argos, and pin up a couple of movie posters.

Film finds: (Clockwise from left) Driffield All-weather Rattan Chair, £170, Garden Trading; St Austell Battery Outdoor Lantern, £29.99, Lights4Fun; Smartphone Projector, £15.99, Prezzybox; Jacky Golden Yellow Garden Floor Cushion, £35, Ragged Rose (Garden Trading/Lights4Fun/Prezzybox/Ragged Rose/PA)
Film finds: (Clockwise from left) Driffield All-weather Rattan Chair, £170, Garden Trading; St Austell Battery Outdoor Lantern, £29.99, Lights4Fun; Smartphone Projector, £15.99, Prezzybox; Jacky Golden Yellow Garden Floor Cushion, £35, Ragged Rose (Garden Trading/Lights4Fun/Prezzybox/Ragged Rose/PA)

3. Balcony boost

Just a few stylish additions can transform even a tiny patio or balcony into an outdoor haven…

Balcony Deckchair, £185, and Footstool, £45, Denys & Fielding (Denys & Fielding/PA)
Balcony Deckchair, £185, and Footstool, £45, Denys & Fielding (Denys & Fielding/PA)

“There’s a knack to al fresco living when space is limited and you’re confined to a balcony – all it takes is a little creativity,” says Claudia Roberts, co-owner of new furnishings and fashion brand Pignut.

“Comfort is key. A fleece-back floor blanket will provide extra padding, as will floor cushions  – think ‘hygge’ for the great outdoors.
“Choose box cushions with handles, oil-coated tablecloths, and fake it with fabrics – introduce colour and even wildlife with animal or bird prints, and gaily patterned bunting.”

Tip:  Green up a balcony wall or railings with hanging pots and window boxes. Crocus has a brilliant selection.

Balcony buys: (Clockwise from left) Faux Culpepper Flowering Herb, £16, Neptune; Kingfisher Cushion, £36.95, Pignut; Enamelled Ethnic Lantern, blue, £52, Out There Interiors, and House by John Lewis Salsa Garden Chair in Chilli, £120 for set of two (Neptune/Pignut/Out There Interiors/John Lewis/PA)
Balcony buys: (Clockwise from left) Faux Culpepper Flowering Herb, £16, Neptune; Kingfisher Cushion, £36.95, Pignut; Enamelled Ethnic Lantern, blue, £52, Out There Interiors, and House by John Lewis Salsa Garden Chair in Chilli, £120 for set of two (Neptune/Pignut/Out There Interiors/John Lewis/PA)

4. Play and display

Create a special corner for children to capture and encourage little imaginations…

Fence painted in Misty Lake and clouds in White Daisy; bench in Muted Clay and Dazzling Yellow, all from Cuprinol's Garden Shades Collection, £14.98 for 1L (Cuprinol/PA)
Fence painted in Misty Lake and clouds in White Daisy; bench in Muted Clay and Dazzling Yellow, all from Cuprinol’s Garden Shades Collection, £14.98 for 1L (Cuprinol/PA)

“A family garden should be fun, versatile, and practical and kids love a corner in it that they can make their own,” says Marianne Shillingford.

“This can also be a brilliant way to brighten up a neglected area. Transform a fence into a sunny-skies outlook by using Cuprinol’s Misty Lake and then, when dry, create the clouds. With chalk, draw a cloud outline onto a piece of card then cut out to create a template. Position your template on the fence and draw around it with chalk.  Fill in the cloud shapes with a small paint brush and White Daisy paint. You will need two coats.

“Get a carpenter to fit a bench seat or use an old toy chest or wooden boxes.”

Tip: Fill a couple of small crates with sand and tiny plants, which can be a mini-landscape for model figures or animals.

Child's Play: (Clockwise from left) Indoor/Outdoor Swing with Oak Seat and Grey Ropes, £139, Bobby Rabbit; Flamingo Watering Can, £7.99, Totally Funky; Kikkerland Chalk Pebble, £5 for set of five, Amazon; Wildfire Tepee, £135, The Modern Nursery (Bobby Flamingo/Totally Funky/Amazon/The Modern Nursery/PA)
Child’s Play: (Clockwise from left) Indoor/Outdoor Swing with Oak Seat and Grey Ropes, £139, Bobby Rabbit; Flamingo Watering Can, £7.99, Totally Funky; Kikkerland Chalk Pebble, £5 for set of five, Amazon; Wildfire Tepee, £135, The Modern Nursery (Bobby Flamingo/Totally Funky/Amazon/The Modern Nursery/PA)

What did you think of these home improvements, is this something you would do to your sunny sanctuary? Comment your thoughts below!