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Article: How Caroline Creates Elegant Outdoor Living Spaces

How Caroline Creates Elegant Outdoor Living Spaces

How Caroline Creates Elegant Outdoor Living Spaces

With blue skies and daylight that lingers long into the night, we’re all spending more time outside. And whether it’s morning coffee with the paper or sundowner cocktails, I’ve pulled out my favorite African-made plush pillows, bedrolls and tufted seat cushions. These portable and versatile outdoor lounging accessories are perfect for adding a cozy, relaxed yet elevated element to your al fresco space – and the mixing and matching options are endless with our assortment of stripes, batiks and solids to celebrate the season in style.

At our farmhouse in Upstate New York we have acres of lush green grass, and when the weather is right, Jeffrey and I enjoy taking dinner outside. So I pull out my favorite Tensira bed rolls and lay them together for a picnic-style supper. Made from 100% cotton, these bedrolls are filled with kapok, a natural fiber that comes from the fruit of the kapok tree, so they're super comfortable to lounge on. I also add a handful of cushions – see similar ones here, here and here, that are hand-dyed and woven using traditional looms. This is proof that eating on the ground doesn't have to be uncomfortable, or lacking in style.

Creating An Outdoor Living Space
Tensira Bedrolls and hand-dyed cushions create an al fresco picnic

Serving food outdoors can be tricky – I try to avoid using paper and plastic, but glass or ceramic can break easily. Luckily, I found the perfect solution with this chic bamboo and sustainable servingware from the Bibol Collection. There are a variety of pieces from trays and cups to bowls and plates available in three versatile colors. My favorites include this serving tray, the flat plates, a variety of bowls (they come in seven different sizes from mini to larger serving bowls) and the cups with cork lids. And the best feature by far is that they're lightweight, unbreakable and dishwasher friendly.

For Jeffrey's birthday one year, I had a special gathering at our farmhouse and bought safari tents to serve as extra accommodations. We've used the tents a few times since to do some glamping in our back garden and the Tensira bedrolls and cushions were perfect for providing comfort and giving the experience a more luxe feel. I layered the twin bedrolls on top of cots and added cushions to rattan chairs. This would be a fun set up for larger gatherings too. 

how to create an outdoor living space

At our home in Santa Barbara, we use our outdoor space almost year round, so the Tensira bedrolls and cushions are essential. We have a variety of seating options that overlook the canyon and mountains – from lounge chairs and benches to couches and dining chairs. I top our lounge chair with a bedroll when I'm looking to get a little sun – it's super soft, 100% cotton and hand-dyed by artisans in Guinea. 

We migrate to the outdoor couches and chairs under our canopy on those scorcher summer days. So I like to add some cozy cushions in soothing tones and prints. My favorites are a mix of this batik-printed cushion and this nautical striped one. 

Santa Barbara Outdoor Living Space
Tensira bedrolls and cushions

By our pool we have a daybed lounge area that's perfect for drying off post swim and keeping cool in the summer months. It was feeling a bit stale, so I layered two striped bedrolls on top and added some cushions, starting with these headboard cushions as a backrest, and then some striped cushions (here and here) and batik cushions (similar here). And after a dip in the pool, I often reach for this striped fringe throw to towel off. It's hand-woven, hand-spun and hand-dyed using 100% cotton.

Tensira bedrolls, cushions and throws

All of the Tensira outdoor accessories are so versatile and can be mixed and matched and used a variety of ways. I move our bedrolls from inside, to the grass area, to our lounge chairs almost weekly this time of year. And I like to swap out different prints and colors too. Below I layered the taupe batik bedroll under the brown stripe bedroll and used a mix of solid, striped and batik-printed cushions in brown and taupe (see herehere, and here).

Curating an outdoor space that's comfortable, yet elegant is a must this time of year. By layering in bedrolls and cushions, it instantly turns a dull environment into an inviting and lively one. These special pieces are made by artisans with quality materials, so you will have them for years to come too. Cheers to enjoying the summer months ahead!


Sending lots of love,


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