The Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea is a true summer paradise. It’s a place where wild flowers sway in the wind, and the pin sharp light catches the rocks on the rugged coastline and glistens on the blue of the Baltic Sea.
Swedes flock there in July and August to relax and catch up with family and old friends while soaking up the long hours of daylight.
Why? Firstly, it had me dreaming of wiling a way a summer here with family and friends. Secondly, more importantly, because although we might not all have the space / budget for everything this wonderful house to offer – there are lots of ideas to steal – both big and small to channel that wonderful Swedish summer house vibe!
Ready to take a look?
1. A covered outdoor dining and barbecue area: Summer is all about spending as much time outside as possible and making the most of the abundance of daylight hours. An outdoor dining / BBQ area is essential. The trouble is, the Swedish weather gods aren’t always on our side so a pergola, with fabric to draw across on rainy days is ideal!
3. Outdoor kitchen: If you can’t take the heat, create an outdoor kitchen (if you only have a small outdoor space or balcony, mini versions are possible with some creativity!). A perfect way to prolong your time outdoors and save from shuttling everything to and fro on trays!
4. The double sun lounger: there’s something luxurious about a double lounger, don’t you think? Pick one that can lay flat or prop up so you can enjoy a book or a siesta at whim!
Note, bamboo is not very weather resistance so best kept under a covered terrace.
5. Permanent Cover: let’s just say the weather in Northern Europe doesn’t always do what we want it to do. A covered terrace is ideal for ensuring you can still enjoy the great outdoors on rainy days – and it’s perfect for shade on warmer days.
6. A sauna: On chillier summer days, a sauna is a perfect way to relax and feel some much needed warmth. But on winter days it’ really comes into its own. And the health benefits are numerous!
7. An outdoor shower: why wash off in a steamy bathroom, when you can lather under an open sky?
8. A swing: There’s no better way to bring out the child in you like a swing. In my mind I’m already sitting on it overlooking the pool with a drink in hand, how about you?
9. A comfy outdoor social area: a perfect spot for relaxing with friends and enjoying a fika (the swedish ritual of enjoying a coffee and cake) – or better still, a pre-dinner aperitif!
11. Sports: table tennis, badminton, darts, Kubb (a classic Swedish garden game), croquet… it doesn’t really matter which you decide on, it’s just fun to have some social activities to enjoy in the sunshine!
12. A relaxed indoor kitchen: At the Swedish summer house it’s all about keeping life as simple as possible and the indoor kitchen should reflect this. Simple open shelves allow for a relaxed, ‘grab and go’ feel and natural materials like wood and stone help to bring the outdoors in.
13. Let there be light! The Scandinavian winters are dark, so when the light returns it’s important to embrace it. Glass doors help light to flow through to rooms further away from the window. A simple curtain can be pulled across for privacy.
14. Hooks and more hooks: there’s no simpler way to store your summer clothes than a rail of hooks. Besides, all you’ll be needing (with any luck) is a robe, bikini, kimono and sunhat! Oh, alright then, maybe a cardi / jumper for the evenings. And a raincoat…. but let’s not get bogged down in the details!
15. A simple dressing room area: a mirror, hooks and chest-of-drawers = a basic walk-in-wardrobe, Swedish style!
16. A space to work: A quiet place by the window will help you to feel connected with the great outdoors and keep that holiday feel alive while you work!
18. Bring your own bedding: In Sweden, it’s customary for guests to bring their own sheets, duvet covers, and pillowcases and you provide the bed, pillow and duvet. Which means less work for everyone, and more time catching up!
So many ideas – I for one would love a table tennis to have outside at our little cabin this summer – so fun! I might just have my eye on a double sun lounger too.
Is there anything that stood out to you?
For more ideas on how to spice up your outdoor space, Scandi style, see: