Wednesday , 17 April 2024
Home Business Save money with products that are useful for the home and garden indoors and out
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Save money with products that are useful for the home and garden indoors and out

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Traditionally, Britons have bought dedicated garden kit but with household finances under pressure and a growing desire to shop more sustainably, retailers have turned to selling “indoor-outdoor” furnishings and gadgets. “We’re seeing customers buying products that have a dual use and look just as good inside the home as they do out,” says the John Lewis head of home accessories, Camilla Rowe.

Another factor fuelling the appeal of these products is the weather. “With the unpredictability of the British weather, it’s no surprise that many customers are looking for stylish outdoor furniture and accessories which work inside the home as well as out,” says the Habitat senior designer Dave Hutcheson, who said people sought lightweight and compact pieces that can be easily and quickly moved between spaces.

Andy Baxter, the managing director of the furniture retailer Maze Living, says the “combination of wanting to buy better and less frequently, and a lack of storage space” is fuelling demand for hybrid products, with hi-tech water-resistant fabrics making it easier for people to “blend worlds”. He adds: “Increasingly, consumers do not have garages or large storage spaces in which to put their outdoor furniture in the colder months.”

As a result of this, “natural tones are growing in popularity due to their flexibility in terms of suiting multiple indoor and outdoor colour schemes”, says Baxter, adding that the retailer had launched an oatmeal-coloured range of sofas and dining sets to meet this demand. “Corner sofas and casual dining sets are very popular. We also offer adjustable tables that can be changed from dining to coffee table setups, increasing their utility indoors and outdoors.”

If you need extra seating, Habitat’s Erin cane chair or Ross rattan-effect chair offer practical solutions that would look equally stylish on a patio or in the lounge. Hanging chairs such as the brand’s rattan-effect egg chair are also versatile. In a similar vein, the DIY marketplace ManoMano has a boho hanging hammock (£50) that can be unhooked and moved outdoors. John Lewis said sales of pouffes, such as the faux jute chevron footstool (£150), had tripled in recent weeks, while demand for cushions, such as its fan leaf design (£12), which has a water-repellent finish, is also up 40%.

Outdoor rugs have also become fashionable as people seek to create true “outdoor rooms”. Typically made from woven polyester fibres to make them durable to the elements, hardwearing floor coverings that can be used anywhere are now found across the high street. John Lewis says sales of these kinds of rugs are up 40%, with its colour block stripe version (which starts at £200 and is made out of plastic bottles) proving popular. Cheaper versions can be found at Habitat, Dunelm and Ikea.

For the true bon vivant, no room is complete without a bar come cocktail hour. John Lewis’s Flogan bar cart (£299) is stylish but also weather-resistant – thanks to a powder-coated steel frame – and can easily be wheeled outdoors for sundowners.

Nothing gets the party started better than good music. Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen but if you want quality sound (as opposed to volume), there is a new breed of portable speakers so good you will want to use them indoors as well as out.

The £399 Sonos Move is the original and arguably best. It is a quality wifi hi-fi speaker capable of filling rooms and outdoor spaces, and has a handle in the back and a battery in the base. It is fairly big and heavy but moving it into the garden will be no problem. The £159 Roam is the company’s smaller, cheaper and more portable follow-up, while Bose’s £380 Portable Smart Speaker is the Move’s biggest nearest rival.

You can easily spend thousands of pounds on outdoor lights, portable or otherwise, but few of them are smart and the kinds of things you may want inside the house, too. The £140 Philips Hue Go portable table lamp is a good example of a smart light that works well indoors but, thanks to its battery pack, can just be picked up and taken alfresco.

You can change the colour and brightness, and sync it to Spotify for some music-linked lighting effects and other party features.

If you are looking for something simpler, good rechargeable camping lanterns start at about £30, and fancier rechargeable lights to match your decor are available in various designs, such as the Tala Muse, which costs £275.

Outdoor TV viewing doesn’t have to be limited to beer gardens. Tablets of all shapes and sizes make for good impromptu outdoor viewing devices, although most struggle in direct sunlight, so shady areas are recommended. If you want something bigger, portable projectors may be the way to go at night if you have a white wall to use as a screen. Good models start at about the £400 mark, with name brands such as Samsung costing £499 (£658 with a battery). Most will manage a three-hour movie between charges. Water-resistant TVs that can be hung on the wall all year round are the pièce de résistance but start at about £2,000, with big and bright models easily reaching £5,000 or more.

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