Alfresco delights: Can't get away? Bring the holiday spirit to your own back yard

Villa table, £229, Villa chair, £119 and Bari glass, £5, Habitat,

Villa table, £229, Villa chair, £119 and Bari glass, £5, Habitat,

Summer may not be quite here yet, but according to designers, it already is. Wherever you look, whether in fashion or interiors, summer collections are making us long for the sun to come out.

In homeware, the emphasis is very much on alfresco dining  -  after all, who doesn't want to sit outside after a hard day at work and enjoy the warm, light evenings?

Habitat has a great collection of tables in hot pink, egg-yolk yellow and more muted natural metals, in an array of sizes. So, no matter how small your outside space might be, you can make the most of it. If a table and chairs won't fit, invest in one of M&S's brilliantly, bright Mardi Gras stripy square beanbags from its Alfresco range.

If you are lucky enough to have a decent amount of outside space, then treat yourself to one of B&Q's hanging egg-shaped, wicker garden chairs  -  perfect for curling up with a book.

Garden Trading and the Burford Garden Company, both in Oxfordshire, have noteworthy items, from an apple green wicker cutlery holder to a red parasol with tassels.

When it comes to accessories, why not hang a string of twinkling fairy lights or pretty bunting from your trees, or scatter lanterns through the flower beds  -  Asda has a set of two lanterns for only £10. Dartington has a lovely series of flower bottles, each named after a flower or plant, that would make an attractive table centrepiece.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's designs for Matalan, which include rich, jewel-like purple outdoor plates with a gold leaf pattern and an ornate ice bucket and cocktail jug, add drama to any dining table.

'Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's outdoor living collection is inspired by glamour,' says Erika Ballantine Adams, senior homeware designer at Matalan.

'Everything from salad bowls to the glitter-inlaid dining range is decadently styled  -  perfect for the sunny days we are anticipating'.

So get your outside space sun ready now, then all you need to do is sit back and catch some rays.


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