Monday, 15 August 2011

Sitting pretty for summer sunshine

Homes & Interiors

Given the recent downpours I am not sure lounging about outside is foremost on people’s minds.  Hopefully there will be the odd hint of sun over the holiday season and, with that in mind, there really is little to compare to the joy of relaxing on a garden swing seat, gently rocking in a light breeze with a canopy shielding you from direct sun.

One of the nicest varieties I experienced was as a child when friends had an enormous old “swinging sofa”.  I was delighted to find this design has been resurrected by a fellow fanatic as “The Idler”, a product faithful to an original 1930s model.  It features comfy pocket sprung cushions created thanks to the specialist advice of a 94 year old upholsterer, George Marchant, who has worked in the London palaces.  At £1,695 this is definitely a luxury purchase, but one which should hopefully create a whole lifetime of experiences ( – 01843 603462).

If you want to indulge in cushiony comfort, without the price tag, you may want to consider the Bodo 3 Seat Swing Hammock.  The seat hangs on cadmium plated chains which adjust the vertical seat height and angle to allow maximum flexibility.  It is available in a variety of colours and finishes (£369.99; – 01738 248019).

For those who prefer a solo space, the Teardrop is an egg-shaped hanging chair.  You can sit comfortably cocooned whilst rocking gently in the Summer Sun.  Failing that is does have a galvanised frame designed to be resistant to cold and wet weather (£349; – 0116 269 5960).

Cushion storage can be a concern and if this is the case there are still plenty of differing options available.

The clean lines of the John Lewis Swing Seat are perfect for those wanting a little padding, without fuss.  It is made from FSC-certified teak, with stainless steel fittings for durability.  If left outside in all weathers the timber will fade to a beautiful silvery colour (£675;

In contrast, the Barmouth Swing Seat from B&Q looks as though it has been plucked straight from an English Country Cottage and would look perfect adorned with climbing roses.  It is available in kit form for £379 or with Assembly for £479 (

My final choice for a minimum maintenance swing would be the Three Seater Hammock (Black) from Littlewoods. The frame is steel and the seats are covered with textoline, a comfortable and hard wearing man-made fabric.  Just give it a quick wipe down now and again (£124; – 0844 822 8000).

Fingers crossed for a drier spell!

Jamie Hempsall, BIID, is an award-winning interior designer.  Visit him at or call 0800 032 1180.

This article was first published in the Yorkshire Post on 10th August 2011

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