How to throw the best garden party ever

How to throw the best garden party ever

28th June 2016

There’s nothing nicer than having fun in the sun at a brilliant garden party, especially now that we’ve reached the magical midsummer point of the year… so here are some top tips and clever ideas to make your next garden gathering the talk of the town!

Preparation, preparation

There’s no point in inviting everyone to your garden if it’s not up to scratch, so before you send out the invites, there are a few simple housekeeping (surely we mean gardenkeeping?) tasks to check off your list:

  1. Make sure your lawn is in good condition (if not, start adding some lawn feed each time you water it), and pick a dry day just before the party to give it its last haircut. Don’t do it on the day itself or you’ll have lots of cut grass tramped through your home as people come and go.
  2. Clean and spruce up any decking or patio areas – a good pressure washer should remove most of the dirt and moss.
  3. Weed your flowers beds, and if they’re looking a little sparse, get some pretty perennials to fill in the gaps and provide a splash of summer colour.
  4. Do a ‘hazard’ sweep: you might know to avoid the patch of brambles or keep away from the slightly rickety part of the fence, but your friends and neighbours won’t, so either block off these areas or put up some ‘keep away’ signs.

Outdoor-Fairy-Lights

Set the scene

So what’s your theme? Well, it could be anything but we’d suggest keeping it simple and stylish for maximum impact… Here are two of our summer favourites.

Red, white and blue

This colour combo always works well in British gardens, so why not get out the bunting and pop up some patriotic poms poms. Extend this theme to your dining table by copying this great idea we found on asoftplace.net and popping coloured napkins and cutlery in jam jars so your guests can help themselves when it’s time to eat.

Midsummer magic 

To pull off this fairy-glade look, start with lots of pale, floaty fabric to drape around the garden to create magical seating and dining areas, giving the impression of ‘secret’ nooks and ‘hidden’ spots. If your garden doesn’t lend itself to such floatiness, then drape your table in plenty of chiffon-style fabric before setting it for a fairytastic outdoor dining space.

You’ll also need some (and by some we mean lots) of twinkly lights. Hang jars filled with tealights from branches of trees – for a real wow factor, intersperse them with colourful ribbons too, like this amazing display from decozilla.com.

Add wow to your garden with this cute idea from decozilla.com

Bright streamers and twinkle lights = a magical garden

Finishing touches

Now you’ve got the theme and the location nailed, here are some simple ways to add an extra dash of pizzazz to your party…

Play time

Simple garden games such a croquet, skittles or even swingball will get your guests up and mingling… if you really want to get that competitive spirit going, make it a knock-out competition with a prize for the eventual winner.

Wrap up

If your party’s going to continue when the sun goes down (and with that many tealights set out, we really hope it does!), then don’t forget to provide some throws and blankets for your guests to wrap up in if it gets a little chilly. Why not bring a rug outdoors to take a cosey on!

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Serve-yourself bar

OK, so you’re the host but you don’t want to be spending all your time refreshing glasses, so set up a drinks bar where guests can help themselves. Just make sure you have plenty of good-quality plastic glasses for them to drink from, and lots of ice and slices of lemon and lime, and you’re good to go. Or be bang-on-trend and serve ready mixed drinks in oversize Kilner jars, like these ones we found at weddingchicks.com.

Beautiful drinks served beautifully from weddingchicks.com

Help yourself in style with these Kilner jar-style drinks dispensers

The garden gang

DFS has a fabulous selection of outdoor furniture to suit all budgets and spaces… here are some of our current favourites.

Two’s company

Looking for the perfect little bistro table and two comfy outdoor chairs? Well, you’ve found it with the Sarasota

The Roseville set from DFS

Outdoor dining made stylish

The more the merrier

Entertaining the crowds? The Naples seats eight comfortably.

The Naples outdoor dining set from DFS

A little piece of Italy in your garden

Looking for more outdoor inspiration head over to our Pinterest profile for the latest in creating your perfect 'Outdoor Oasis' or your own fun 'perfect picnic party'. 

Pretty in pink: why we love strawberries and cream

Pretty in pink: why we love strawberries and cream

Pretty in pink: why we love strawberries and cream

15th June 2016

This summer, don’t keep strawberries and cream just for dessert… this quintessentially British combo also works well in your home. We asked stylist Charis White for her top tips on making your home pretty in pink.

Pick your perfect pink palette

This summer’s strawberries and cream dream is no ‘Barbie pink’. It’s an altogether softer hue ranging from subtle dusky pink through pale powder pink to vintage rose, and is über-hot right now, thanks in part to Pantone declaring Rose Quartz one of its colours of 2016.

Start to build your pink room décor scheme by painting one or more of your walls in your preferred pastel shade: we love the Little Greene Paint Company Milk Thistle 187 with its lush lilac tones, Farrow & Ball Nancy’s Blushes 278, which is the perfect match to an otherwise neutral room, and the sophisticated vintage rose shade of Dulux Blush Rambler 5.

dulex pink paint palette

And you don’t even have to paint the whole wall… check out the ‘picture rail’ effect created by the clever use of pink and cream in this beautiful room we found on homes blogsite apartmenttherapy.com.

How to make pink work in your living room, from apartmenttherapy.com

Think pink: clever use of paint creates a faux picture rail effect

And don’t forget to look up! Ceilings have long been the Cinderella of decorating, but no longer. Think about your ceiling in the same way you would a feature wall, or like in real tennis where every area of the court is used (well, it’s Wimbledon soon and we are talking strawberries and cream here!).

Be daring and paper your ceiling with a pretty pink wallpaper such as Timney Fowler Lace 19, with its pastel pink swirls against a cream background, or paint it pink then match it with off-white, panelled Wimbledon changing room-style walls.

Opposites attract

Be prepared to mix it up when it comes to your furniture by combining different eras and styles, such as pairing a contemporary cream sofa with a vintage-style chair upholstered in your favourite pink. Ramp up the action by piling your sofa with cushions in plain pinks, vintage rose and even black for added drama and effect.

We love: the clean, modern lines of the Flint 4-seater sofa in cream contrasted with the luxe period styling of the Bailey velvet armchair in dusky pink.

The Flint sofa and the Bailey armchair from DFS

The Flint sofa and the Bailey armchair from DFS

In the pink: 3 quick wins to super style your home

1. Create your own ‘gallery wall’ like this fab grouping we found by The Design Chaser on bloglovin.com.

From The Design Chaser at bloglovin.com

A gallery wall of photos and art is a real focal point in any room

Just make a grid of four to six large black picture frames on a wall. Fill with double card mounts in pale pink and gold, and use to frame black and white photographs or sketches.

2. Paint a really large square canvas with a very pale grey, then overlay with a pale pink, leaving a 10cm border all the way round for a dramatic piece of homemade artwork.

3. Mirror fashion comes and goes but for summer 2016 the shape to go for is round. Three in a row above a pink upholstered sofa look striking… try this Wilson Set trio from Dwell.

Wilson set mirrors from Dwell

Can't decide which shade of pastel is perfect for you?

Check out our 'ice-cream dream' Pinterest board for the latest in pastel inspiration.

Or if you're looking for more inspiration why not check out our newest Style Sourcebook, online now, full of style advice, latest looks and decorating inspiration, including loads more candy-coloured sofas.

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Get in! The summer of sport has just kicked off

Get in! The summer of sport has just kicked off

14th June 2016

From Euro 2016 in June to the Olympics in August, it’s shaping up to be another fantastic summer of sport… and you’ve got the best seat in the house!

Every once in a while, the sporting gods come together and give us not one, not two, but SIX amazing events in the space of just THREE months, meaning you’re virtually guaranteed to find something brilliant to watch, sports-wise, this summer (unless you’re into competition tiddlywinks, in which case you’ll have to wait till next April for the World Singles Championships, sorry).

On your marks, get set… go!

Euro 2016

To help you plan your viewing schedule for this action-packed period, we’ve got a quick rundown of this summer’s sporting super six…

When? 10 June – 10 July 2016

Where? All over France, from Lille in the north to Marseilles in the south

Who’s in it for us? The UK is doing pretty good (well, at the time of writing anyway!) with three of our national football teams – England, Wales and Northern Ireland – having qualified for the tournament

Chances of winning? England have the best chance of our three, coming off the blocks with odds of 9/1 to take the trophy, but if we’ve learned anything from Leicester City’s triumph in the football Premiership, it’s that every underdog has its day… so even though Wales started the tournament at 80/1 and Northern Ireland are only being punted at 300/1, miracles can – and do – happen!

Best place to watch it? Football is a sociable sport so gather your friends and family and kick back on a super-comfy, spacious corner sofa like the Mode in leather…

The Mode corner sofa from DFS

The best seat in the house for football viewing


Wimbeldon 2016

When? 27 June – 10 July 2016

Where? The All England Club, Wimbledon, London

Who’s in it for us? Apart from a certain Mr Andy Murray and his bruv Jamie, keep an eye out for Dan Evans, Aljaz Bedene and Kyle Edmund, while in the women’s tournament, we’re rooting for Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Naomi Broady

Chances of winning? On current form, and with Rafa Nadal having pulled out due to injury, it could be three in a row for Djokovic, but here at DFS towers we’ll be with the crowds on Murray Mount and singing Bonnie Scotland all the way!

Best place to watch it? If Murray does make it to the final, it will be edge-of-the-seat stuff, so we’d say go for something with comfy cushions and a sturdy frame, like the Betty Patch Grand Sofa

The Betty Grand Patch from DFS

Next best thing to Centre Court for Wimbledon fans


Tour de France 2016

When? 2 July – 24 July 2016

Where? France, starting at Mont St Michel and ending in Paris

Who’s in it for us? Team Sky’s Chris Froome will be defending his 2015 win

Chances of winning? He’s the first Brit to win two editions (that’s cycle-speak for tours!), so we’d say pretty good

Best place to watch it? Watching them cycle up all those hills can be exhausting, so a recliner chair could be just the job. How about the Carmello electric recliner chair – so you can unwind at the touch of a button!

The Carmelo Electric Recliner Chair from DFS

The perfect place to tour France!


British Grand Prix 2016

When? 8 – 10 July 2016

Where? Silverstone racing circuit, Northamptonshire

Who’s in it for us? 2015 champion Lewis Hamilton. Jenson Button should also qualify.

Chances of winning? Not Hamilton’s best year, with only one win (in Monaco) to his credit, so fingers crossed for the home-advantage effect

Best place to watch it? A cutting-edge sport like Formula 1 demands a cutting-edge place from which to watch it, so we’d recommend the Sanzio recliner sofa… it’s even got its own go-faster stripes (well, it’s piping really but we got a bit over-excited!)

The Sanzio 3-seater Electric Recliner Sofa from DFS

Recline the seat and pretend you’re in your own F1 car


Golf Open Championship 2016

When? 14 – 17 July 2016

Where? Royal Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Who’s in it for us? Too many to mention from the home nations as a whole, but Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is ranked third in the world at the moment so let’s hear it for the luck of the Irish!

Chances of winning? See above!

Best place to watch it? Let’s keep with the golf theme and go for something that reflects the course at Royal Troon… smooth and green with real presence, like the Presence Cuddler sofa!

The Presence Cuddler Sofa from DFS

A fair way to watch the golf? We think so!


The Olympic Games 2016

When? 5 – 21 August 2016

Where? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Who’s in it for us? Only the whole of Team GB! And as proud partners of Team GB, we’ll be paying special attention to our DFS family athletes, gymnast Max Whitlock, cyclist Laura Trott and swimmer Adam Peaty

Chances of winning? We’ll sweep the board in Rio, of course – it’ll be like London 2012 with bells on!

Best place to watch it? On the Britannia, the Great British sofa, of course! Made for Team GB, it’s our tribute to the athletes who help make Britain great.

The Britannia 4-seater Sofa from DFS

Rule Britannia… the iconic sofa collection inspired by the best of British

 

Happy Father’s Day!

We couldn’t finish a blog all about sports without wishing all the dads out there a very happy Father’s Day for this Sunday, 19 June. It’s your special day, so grab yourself a drink, put your feet up (check out the recommendations above for some great recliner chairs and sofas!), switch on the TV and relax… you deserve it!

polaroid fd

Looking for more inspiration?

Check out our newest Style Sourcebook, online now, full of style advice, latest looks and decorating inspiration.

 

Style Sourcebook

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Spice it up with carnival-inspired brights

Spice it up with carnival-inspired brights

9th June 2016

It’s Olympic year and we’re all feeling a touch of Rio fever here at DFS towers, so we thought we’d kick it up, samba-style, with some tips on how to make the carnival colours that the city is so famous for work in your home.

Ok, so the Olympics don’t kick off until for another two months, but we’re already feeling the ripples of excitement surrounding the world’s biggest sporting event, especially as we’re the proud partners of Team GB!

Think Olympics, think Rio (well, for 2016 anyway; we’ll be Tokyo-bound in 2020)… and think Rio, and you can’t help but think of street carnivals, samba dancers festooned in feathers, and ‘scorchio’ colours bursting out all over the shop. Pair this with the fact that, when it comes to home decorating, exotic Brazilian themes, full of bright, vibrant shades, are bang on trend this year, and it’s a match made in heaven. All you have to do is choose which rainbow shade is right for your home…

Tickled pink

It was fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli (Coco Chanel’s great rival) who introduced us to ‘shocking pink’ back in 1947, and its bold, intense shade still turns heads today. A hot pink statement sofa in an otherwise neutral living space looks stunning… accessorise with boldly patterned cushions in contrasting shades as anything more subtle will get overpowered.

We love

Quartz Chaise Sofa in Pink – a modern classic with deep seats and dark-wood legs.

Quartz Pink Corner Sofa

Perfect with

Cecile Scatter Cushion – with its Impressionist-style landscape design.

Cecile Cushion

Hello yellow

Psychologically speaking, yellow is the happiest colour in the spectrum, bringing to mind sunshine, optimism and creativity, so a yellow sofa could be the ideal way to brighten up both your living room and your mood. Play up the ‘wow’ factor by accessorizing with gold-toned cushions and brass or copper lighting, or really go for broke and stack it with throws and cushions in other neon-brights, such as hot pink or turquoise.

We love

Fling Sofa Bed in Citrus – a comfy 3-seater sofa bed that zing with style.

Tiana Citrus Sofa

Perfect with

Brass and Concrete Table Lamp from Dwell – the industrial look and copper tones will suit any modern space.

brass and concrete table lamp

Tangerine dreams

Orange is the Marmite of the colour wheel – it’s certainly not a ‘take it or leave it’ shade, but if it floats your boat then it can look marvelous in both classic and contemporary rooms. It evokes similar feelings to that of its close cousin red – warmth, energy and passion – and a striking orange sofa makes a perfect focal point. Dress it up with accessories in tonal shades of browns, russets and wood.

We love

Zapp sofa in Orange – elegant simplicity in an eye-catching colour.

orange zapp sofa

Perfect with

Doodle Rug in Orange from Dwell – the perfect retro-inspired rug.

dwell rug

Looking for more inspiration?

Check out our newest Style Sourcebook online now, full of style advice, latest looks and decorating inspiration, including loads more sofas in hot shades, perfect for the Rio Fever look!

Don't forget to follow dfs on our road to Rio 2016 on Twitter, Instagram & YouTube.

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Books for garden loafing

8 books to read before they hit the big screen

3rd June 2016

If like us, you’re fed up of your friends (especially Game of Thrones lovers!) always telling you how much better the book is than the movie or the TV show, then here’s your chance to get one up on them.With summer fast approaching, and sun loungers in gardens everywhere calling out our names, we’ve compiled a list of some great reads for summer 2016 – for adults, teens and kids – to get stuck into now, so by the time the film’s released, you’ve been there, done it and had time to get the T-shirt printed! Enjoy…

Books for kids and teens

Roald Dahl – The BFG

The BFG

The Big Friendly Giant (or BFG to his pals) is one of Dahl’s most-loved children’s books. It’s the story of Sophie who lives in an orphanage run by the nasty Miss Clonkers. Sophie is befriended by the BFG who, unlike other giants, doesn’t eat children (bonus!), and the unlikely pair team up to keep England’s kids safe from all the other giants, with a little help from the Queen! Book suitable for: 7+ as the concept of being eaten could be a little scary for younger kids

Published by: Penguin Books

Film release date: 22 July 2016

 

JK Rowling – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic beasts

Book suitable for: 9+The Muggle guide to all the magical, fabulous and, ok then, fantastic creatures in the schoolbooks studied by Harry Potter and his pals at Hogwarts. A must-read for all HP fans, this is the perfect complement to the existing series of mystical adventures, and the ‘graffiti’ in the book’s margins from Hermione, Ron and Harry ‘The Chosen One’ Potter himself adds an unexpected fun twist.

Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing

Film release date: 18 November 2016

 

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

Monster calls

Award-winning author Patrick Ness is one of the best YA (young adult) authors, and you can see why when you delve into this moving book. Thirteen-year-old Conor has been plagued by the same dream every night since his mum fell ill… but this night, when he wakes from the nightmare, there’s something at his bedroom window, and this monster isn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than the truth.

Book suitable for: 12+

Published by: Walker Books

Film release date: 21 October 2016

 

Ransom Riggs – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss P

Jacob, 16, idolised his grandfather who used to tell him tales of invisible boys, super-strong girls and kids who can make fire in their hands. After his granddad is killed in front of him by, well, something not quite of this world, he goes with his dad to an out-of-the-way island where he discovers the ruins of what was Miss Peregrine’s Home, along with a stash of photos of some very peculiar children indeed. And Jacob starts to think that maybe his granddad was telling the truth all along.

Book suitable for: 14+

Published by: Quirk Books

Film release date: 30 September 2016

 

Books for grown-ups                         

Jojo Moyes – Me Before You

Me before you

If you’re looking for a book that you’ll read in one sitting, that will have you feeling warm and fuzzy one minute and sobbing the next, then the deeply poignant, bittersweet story of the unlikely relationship that develops between Lou Clarke and paralysed Will Traynor after she becomes his carer, hits every nail right on the head.

Published by: Penguin Books

Film release date: 3 June 2016

 

Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train

Girl on train

High-functioning alcoholic Rachel Watson gets the same train to work at the same time every day. To pass the time, she makes up stories about the people around her, and creates her ‘perfect couple’, who she names Jess and Jason. But all isn’t as perfect as it seems – ‘Jess’ or Megan, as she really is, is having an affair, and when she disappears, Rachel decides to help her husband find out what’s going on. But is she prepared for what she uncovers?

Published by: Penguin Books

Film release date: 7 October 2016

 

Dan Brown – Inferno

Inferno

The fourth of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon books (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, The Lost Symbol), opens with our super-sleuth professor waking up in a hospital bed in Florence having lost his memory. When his life is threatened, he and his doctor Sienna set off on a literary-fuelled adventure around the city, following the clues and decoding the mystery with help from Dante’s masterpiece Inferno.

Published by: Transworld Publishers

Film release date: 14 October 2016

 
Ben Fountain – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn

This book is a day in the life of 19-year-old war hero Billy Lynn who is about to return to Iraq. He and the other survivors from his Bravo Squad are on the last day of victory tour designed by the Bush administration to garner public support for the war. During the course of the day, Billy rubs shoulders with the rich and famous, and is lauded by his fellow Americans, but also has to face up to the truth about his life, his family and his honest feelings about his imminent return to the battle zone.

Published by: Canongate Books

Film release date: 11 November 2016

 

Let’s get outside

Looking for something to loaf on while you’re reading one of these brilliant summer books? Never fear, we’re here with a selection of loungers and recliners so comfy you’ll never want the day to end.


Looking for more inspiration?

Check out our newest Style Sourcebook, online now. It’s packed with style advice and ideas on the latest looks for your home, including a piece on How to Take the Inside Out, along with some top tips for evening entertaining in style.

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