outdoor floor detailing

From drab to fab: easy budget alfresco makeover DIY

Instagram is full of the latest hacks and DIYs and this easy budget alfresco makeover by Jaimie from @reside_at_seventeen immediately caught our eye. Inspired by a laundry design, Jaimie has come up with this outdoor hack, transforming her tired alfresco into a beautiful outdoor living space using stencils.

Read on as we chat with Jaimie to get all the info on this clever budget alfresco makeover so you can do your own!

Related article: How to paint walls like a professional: House painting tips and tricks
Related article: Top interior designers share their tips on building a Hamptons style home

Items you will need:

outdoor floor detailing

Getting started

“This project doesn’t take too much time, I completed it over three days. There were a lot of gaps between to allow the cement and the paint to dry.

“I recommend selecting colours that represent your goals for the space well and fit with your specific style. I chose the classic white and grey because it ties in nicely with the rest of our house. The alfresco can be seen from all of our living areas which are all predominantly black, white and grey. Don’t overthink it — you can paint over it and start again!”

Step 1

Remove all furniture and clean the cement, leaving to air dry.

“I used a high pressure cleaner to completely clean the cement and left it for the day to dry. You need to make sure your cement is really clean and dry before you start painting over.”

Alfresco cement flooring _ easy budget alfresco makeover

Step 2

Apply your base colour paint and leave to dry.

“I applied two coats of the grey paving paint — one in the morning and the second coat after lunch. I then left it to dry for the rest of the day.” 

Step 3

Using masking tape, mark where you want the stencils to go.

“If I were to do it again, I would mark down exactly where I wanted each stencil line to start on the edge lines of masking tape that I had put down. I didn’t think about doing this until after I finished but it would have made it so much faster.”

Alfresco detailing in progress _ easy budget alfresco makeover

Step 4

Start applying the stencil paint colour in your marked areas.

“Top tip! When you apply the stencil, don’t saturate the roller with paint because it will bleed through under the stencil and leave the transfer clumpy — instead do gentle slow rolls and use a small paint brush to touch up any areas that need it.”

Alfresco floor detailing _ easy budget alfresco makeover

Step 5

Once your painted concrete floor is dry, style your space and enjoy your gorgeous new alfresco area!

Tip: For longest lasting results, you can also apply a sealer over the paint. For example, the Crommelin 4L Natural DiamondCoat Paving And Concrete Sealer from Bunnings will make your painted cement more stain resistant while not changing the appearance.

We’d like to thank Jaimie for taking the time to share her easy budget alfresco makeover with us. Follow her on Instagram for more clever hacks and design inspo. Do you have any questions about this makeover? Have you tried something similar? Do you have a particular stencil design in mind for your alfresco area? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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alfresco cement detailing _ easy budget alfresco makeover
alfresco makeover after
Alfresco flooring detailing _ easy budget alfresco makeover

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Smart Compact Family Living On a Budget, Swedish Country Style!

Smart Compact Family Living On a Budget, Swedish Country Style!

Sometimes the best things come in small packages. And this home is a perfect example of this! Located in Uppsala, Sweden, the 43 square metre (463 square feet) apartment is home to digital creator Emma Boman Högmark, her husband and their three children: ten-year-old twins and a four-year-old. 

"The hallway, living room, bedroom and kitchen are all one room," Emma tells me. "Our bed is behind the curtain, behind the sofa. And the kids' bedroom is in a separate room. The closet has been changed into a bedroom for our youngest daughter - so compact living, yeah!"

Looking at the style, which Emma describes as "country design and second hand - full of harmony, ikea hacks and warm colours", you'd be forgiven for thinking this budget friendly pad is in the countryside - but it's actually in a 90's block, right in the heart of the city! 

Ready to feel inspired? Pull up a chair, and take the tour! 

At mealtimes, the table is pulled out from the window to create seating for the entire family. 

One of the beautiful things about this apartment, is that there is storage almost everywhere (look closely and you'll see open shelves and rows of hooks on almost every wall throughout the flat). And yet it still looks uncluttered, cosy and charming. 

Behind the dining table you can glimpse Emma and her husband's bed by the window. 

Sheer curtains are ideal for flexible small space living. During the day, they can be pulled back to flood the sitting room area with light. By night, the curtains can be drawn across to create privacy while still slipping in soft, filtered light to the other half of the room. 

The corner of the sitting room doubles up as a dressing room. 

Wall-to-wall storage made from a group of Ikea IVAR cabinets painted in an earthy green provide storage for clothes, toys and other items. 

Above it, family photos and a selection of art add a personal touch to the room. 

Despite the small space, the apartment is dotted with  beautiful pieces that create a unique and homely vibe.

The twins sleep in an Ikea MYDAL bunkbed which Emma stained brown for an aged look: "I mixed a whole load of wood stains - using everything I had at home, some of which were different colours!"
On the opposite side of the room, more slim ikea ivar cabinets are used for storage, while a wardrobe at the end of the bed provides hanging space and a vintage suitcase* offers a home for smaller items.  

While the youngest family member sleeps in a converted closet. This is how it looked before the make-over: 

To make it more 'liveable' Emma removed the door and painted the interior in cosy two-toned walls and added small details such as a mini shelf, hooks, and a canopy. 

Compact family living at its finest! 

And also, a perfect example of how you don't need to go contemporary just because you live in a modern apartment in the centre of town! 

Truly inspiring, don't you think? 

See more snapshots of Emma's home and follow her latest ikea hacks and other wonderful home DIY projects at @emmahogmark
Intrigued to take a look at some other small spaces today? Head on over to this archive - it's FILLED with amazing Scandi style compact living ideas. 

Har det så fint! 


*signifies an affiliated link 

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10 Small Pools For Every Budget and Outdoor Space

10 Small Pools For Every Budget and Outdoor Space

I thought I'd kick off my first outdoor post of the year with a splash. 

Not many know this, but I have a close affinitive to swimming pools. My older daughter Liv is a swimmer - and let's just say we spend a lot of time poolside (are there any other swimming parents out there? If so, you'll know exactly what I mean!). Even so, I still dream of sitting by a pool with a cocktail and page-turner all summer long. 

And lately, I've noticed a surge in popularity in small pools here in Sweden. Generally, anything around 3 square metres (10 square feet) or less is considered a small pool and depth-wise, you're looking at 90 cm (3 feet) for a plunge pool and 120 cm - 150 cm (4 -5 feet) for a lap pool. The beauty of this smaller size is that there's a pool out there for almost every budget and outdoor space. 

Ready to feel inspired? Let's dive in.....

Round pools

1. I love this plunge pool built into the deck of Bruer Cabin designed by Lundberg Design. Behind it is a slightly larger, 425 cm /14 feet deep pool made from a repurposed livestock water tank. A perfect sustainable watering hole in which to cool off in the Sonoma sunshine. 
For a really budget friendly option, use an old bath - like the one at this Danish summer house

2. This repurposed concrete water tank pool accessed via a bridge was installed in the garden of Mount Ninderry in Queensland, Australia - a sustainable and budget friendly home project by Sparks Architects. Such a clever idea! 
3. Designer Raili Clasen of Raili Ca Design added this raised year-round round to the garden of her 1950s cottage to create a calming oasis in which to relax with her husband and their pooch. I'm a huge fan of these wooden tubs - which can also come with a wood burning stove for heat (I've been looking into this for our little cabin).  

Square/ rectangle pools

4.There's something wonderfully fuss-free about this square plunge pool - dip in, cool off, return to whatever you were doing! Or pour yourself a drink and hang out for a while. 

5. This sunken in pool at artist retreat La Maison Marrakech offers a lush place to keep cool and relax on a warm day. 

6. Simple steps lead down to this minimalist plunge pool. I love the shower area which has been built-in to the wall too. 

7. Sometimes the best things come in small packages - and I can totally imagine coming home after a long day and enjoying a soak surrounded by vertical greenery in this lush townhouse garden. 

The thin pool

8. OK, maybe this one isn't really a 'small pool' but I thought I'd include it since it maximises the use of outdoor space by following the contours of the house. Just in case you need to 'test it out' for yourself, this incredible Eco Bush Retreat is available to rent via Airbnb. Just saying! 

9. Just wide enough for a breaststroke glide (although you might struggle with butterfly), this lush, long pool idea is perfect for narrow spaces. Plus, the raised succulent bed adds shade. 

10. No garden? No problem!  This rooftop ledge in France has been transformed into a small pool overlooking the rooftops. 

What do you think, could you imagine installing a small pool at home? Or perhaps you have first-hand experience of owning a pool - if so, please do share your thoughts below! 

Looking for more outdoor space inspiration today? Check out: 

I have to admit, we woke up to snow here in Malmö this morning - so summer is feeling very far away.  It doesn't stop me dreaming though!

Har det så fint! 


*If you're thinking of installing a pool, please visit Pool Safely (from the Consumer Product Safety Commission) for important information on pool safety. 

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fall decor

Budget Friendly Fall Decor | lark & linen

fall decor budgetI’m of the firm belief that our homes are meant to be loved at every turn, and that goes tenfold when it comes to decorating seasonally. When I had more time on my hands, I would go all out. But these days I find that just making a few small, yet intentional, updates can make a big impact. Switching out candles, layering blankets, and adding just a few festive touches are easy to do, and they don’t have to break the bank while they’re at it. Following are a few things I have my eye on that’ll make your home feel cozy and festive, without denting your wallet. 

fall decor


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