Some 13 years ago, VIP and I were buying Turkish cushions in a rug shop in Fethiye, Turkey.
I had envisaged a Turkish seating area in our garden – and whilst in the country, I seized the opportunity to grab the fundamentals I needed.
Sadly, that Turkish seating area didn’t happen straight away; we ended up moving house and, well, life just got in the way I suppose.
It was only when VIP decided to become a teacher and I left my job in London did we start getting our great work/life balance back. And then after being diagnosed with breast cancer and unable to go away on holiday this summer, I suggested VIP built that Turkish seating plan I’d long hankered after.
And he did. And yes, it’s wonderful and everything I wanted – and more. So I thought I’d write up this post to show you just how he did it – for a bargain price!
Here’s what we got – and why it works:
I love upcycling projects (check out the upcycled garden bar that VIP created) – and pallets are such a versatile option when it comes to creating unique projects.
I knew that traditional Turkish seating areas are typically low level and by stacking pallets this would work a treat when recreating the look.
Keep your eyes peeled locally: great places to pick pallets up are garden centres, scout camps, large eateries and builders’ merchants. It’s worth calling them up beforehand to see if they’ve got any – and if so, if they’re free to take or if there’s a small fee.
Some of the pallets we used were sourced for free from our local Toby Carvery and others were found at a nearby pet store who charged us just £3 for each of them.
Pinterest is a great place for getting ideas for pallet seating. I took loads of screenshots on my phone to show VIP the look I was after (a U-shape in the corner of our decking area).
The pallets are one thing, but you’ll also need to think about having a back to the pallets so that you can truly sit back and relax. Again, you could use pallets to create a backrest, but VIP decided that he was going to use studier decking boards.
This was probably our most expensive purchase, but we wanted it to look nice and also be strong enough to lean back on without worrying about breakage. Our neighbour kindly gave us some decking board off cuts, which we used to make one side of the Turkish seating area, but we still had to do the other two sides.
Decking board typically costs around £11 for a 2.4m length if you go to a garden centre, but a cheaper option is to source them from a timber yard where we found the same length wood for less than half the price!
Our area was about 10 metres so to create a backrest all the way round would cost us about £100 (including creating a planter for behind one of the sides to display grasses). As I mentioned, there are cheaper ways of doing this of course – by using pallets for one – but it’s worth thinking about the end quality, given that it’s going to be out in all weather.
Turkish seating area accessories
Sourcing the lighting was really easy – I just went to one of my favourite shops, TK Maxx, and spotted some colourful lanterns. I bought four of them – three for £7.99 and one for £12.99.
On the same visit I decided to check out the rugs and managed to pick up two 6ft X 4ft rugs for £30 each. They had a very ethnic feel to them and would fit into the scheme nicely. When you’re putting together a Turkish seating area, rugs over the seats make the whole scheme much more authentic, as this is what they do in Turkey.
For the actual seat padding you can use foam – but when it rains this will get wet. An alternative would be cot mattresses as they’re waterproof and then you can lay the rugs on top. I bought 4 hospital mattresses from Amazon for £120. The reason I chose hospital mattresses is because they’re waterproof!
The cushions that I picked up in Turkey all those years ago were the size of a single pillow, so I bought two sets of 6 hotel style pillows from Groupon (which came to £25.99 including delivery), but got 12.5% back from Top Cashback bringing the total to £22.74.
The two rugs on the floor were picked up at my favourite French shop – GiFi. Unfortunately, GiFi hasn’t yet made it to the UK and, as far as I know, you can’t order it online to get UK delivery. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it means I get to plan a quick getaway to France for a couple of days every now and then – just to scour the GiFi shelves! Each of the outdoor flog rugs cost 15 euros, but again there are plenty of online options.
The finishing touches
On one of the backs of the Turkish seating area, VIP suggested putting a planter section behind the backrest. I thought it was a great idea and would screen the shed a little.
He opted for a grass called Stipa Tenuissima (Mexican feather grass) and chose it for its interesting texture and the fact that it’s hardy. It also changes colour throughout the year and has a feathery texture to complement the Turkish vibe.
They cost from around £2.99 if you’re growing them from seeds or you can pick up established plants from around £8 upwards. There are other decorative grasses you can use as well, but try to opt for ones that are hardy if you can as they’ll last longer.
About seven years ago I found some wooden crates for sale on eBay and picked 20 of them up for just £15. The only drawback was that we had to travel down to Canterbury to collect them (just under 100 miles away!). It was a good move though as they’ve served us well. And they came in handy again for the Turkish seating area – we screwed them onto the brick wall behind one of the sides and I decorated them with lanterns I picked up in TKMaxx.
Other decorative accessories you can use to complete the Turkish seating area theme include mosaic tealight holders, Mediterranean style bowls and shisha pipes – sourced easily online!
I was given mine as a gift over 20 years ago. It’s lived up in the loft for most of that time, so I’m excited that I now get the opportunity to bring it out and show it off.
I’m super chuffed with my new Turkish seating area – relaxing at the weekend when the sun comes out is my new-found hobby. I might just need to invest in an outdoor heater so I get to enjoy it for longer!
Would you opt for a Turkish seating area in your garden if you could? Otherwise, what themed space would you choose?
You might also like…
A Pin For Your Home Inspiration Board