Home Front: Great garden furniture and how to make your space flow

Plus, cool bedlinen and the new Danish lifestyle store, Jysk, offering bargain buys

Look of the Danish

Just over a week away, the opening of the first Jsyk stores in Naas Retail Park is likely to cause plenty of traffic. The Danish home retail brand will unveil its Outdoor Living collection for spring /summer 2019 on Tuesday, April 2nd, and the shoppers are likely to find on-trend styles at competitive prices, from patio furniture to colourful parasols, outdoor lighting and decorative planters. For the opening, Jysk is offering garden lounge sets from €100 and up to 75per cent off selected items.

As with Ikea, every single item comes with a Scandinavian-sounding name, like the Segla garden planter (€49.99) which is fashionably poised on legs, and the Bergfink hammock (€24.99) for hanging out on sunny days. There's the sexy-sounding Ubberup series which features string furniture in a range of colours, including lounge chairs (usually €49.99, but on offer during the opening for €35), lounge sofas (€89.99) and stacking chairs (€59.99) for smaller spaces and balconies.

For the balcony in Belize, look there's a bamboo furniture like the Bamle lounge chair (€59.99), the Solopgang ladder (€15.99), and the Egehjort bamboo lantern (€24.99). Mind you, Penneys has a very good bamboo lantern in stock at the moment for €15.

Jysk was founded in Denmark in 1979 and is set to open 15 stores across Ireland over the next two years, with openings scheduled for Drogheda, Co Louth and Navan, Co Meath in June and July, and a fourth store in Portlaoise, Co Laois opening in August. Customers will also be able to shop online at jysk.ie from April 18th.


Learn to go with the flow

Home improvement projects can sometimes be dismissed as mere indulgences of design trends and "colour pop" frippery, but executed properly they can improve wellbeing. This is the view of behavioural neuroscientist, Dr Michael Keane, who says design has a fundamental role to play in the quality of our day-to-day life.

“Our brains are designed to keep us safe. Feeling safe is controlled by the emotional motor system and this part of the brain needs to get a lot of reassurance to feel safe. A threat to this feeling of safety is over stimulation,” says Keane. As a result a disorganised home, poor lighting or areas piled high with clutter can subliminally increase stress without the resident ever being aware of the cause. A better designed home with a natural flow will minimise these stress stimuli.

These and other insights on how to execute a well-designed home improvement project will be shared at an event next week – Optimise Home, How to Kickstart your Home Improvement – hosted by Optimise Design architect and managing director, Denise O’Connor.

She will be joined on the evening by Dr Keane, Mark Smith, building contractor, Michael Walsh, quantity surveyor and Madeleine Lyons, Irish Times Property Editor. The event takes place in the Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street in Dublin 2 on Wednesday, March 27th, from 6pm to 9pm.

Frette at a fresh price

It was September, Palermo was sizzling and the only way to cool down in the city was to duck in and out of large air-conditioned shops. The standout store was that of Italian bedlinen specialists Frette that not only had ceiling-high displays of crisp cottons but also a very good sale.

Since 1860, Frette has been creating luxury linens for the world's finest hotels and homes that can afford it. It's not cheap but its percale cotton is beautifully cool and seems to improve with age. Frette is stocked in Bottom Drawer, Brown Thomas and until the end of April, the Frette Hotel Collection is on sale at a 30 per cent discount.

Photo 2 Frette Hotel Collection. Smooth cool percale cotton, made in Italy. King Duvet cover was €399, now €279 until April 20th.

Nap happy

A short nap could be as good as a tablet for cutting down on blood pressure, according to a recent Greek survey that points, yet again, to the benefits of a Mediterranean lifestyle. But it doesn’t have to be a siesta in the sun. Seasoned nappers know the benefits of a quick zizz on the sofa, just as long as it’s a comfy sofa with room to curl up. L-shaped modular units are ideal, but they take up an awful lot of space.

A deeply upholstered traditional sofa like the Olivia from Neptune is deep enough to drift away on, and it's also a sofa bed so can accommodate guests too. It's pictured here in Hugo Pale Oat and costs €3,430, against fresh Flax Blue walls and scatter cushions in Chloe Denim and Harry Flax Blue, prices from €62. See neptune.com for Irish stockists.

Marvellous magnolias

It's been a month of marvellous magnolias and if you head to Mount Congreve Gardens in Kilmeaden, Co Waterford this weekend you can still enjoy the estate's display. The gardens have a magnolia walk lined with 200 trees that create a magical overhead canopy of giant flowers . The estate has dedicated the walkway to its creator, the late Herman Dool who was the landscape architect responsible for the layout and development of the 70 acre gardens.

Dool worked at Mount Congreve for almost 40 years from the 1960s planting three different areas of magnolias all of them now toweringly mature. A straight walk downhill of approximately 150m with a view to the River Suir and beyond to Co Kilkenny, the magnolia walk is lined on both sides with magnolia soulangeana backed by the taller magnolia campbellii and magnolia sargentiana var robusta. The grass verges are planted with fritillaria meleagris, the snakeshead fritillary, and primula veris, the cowslip. The result is an extraordinary array of colour and scent. Entry to the gardens is €7 for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free. See www.mountcongreve.com

Orna Mulcahy

Orna Mulcahy

Orna Mulcahy, a former Irish Times journalist, was Home & Design, Magazine and property editor, among other roles

Madeleine Lyons

Madeleine Lyons

Madeleine Lyons is Property Editor of The Irish Times