AJ Odudu: ‘Now I enjoy my garden all year round’

With plenty of room for working, exercise and chilling out, TV presenter AJ Odudu’s versatile garden room means she can spend more time outdoors than ever before

AJ Odudu garden room makeover

With plenty of room for working, exercise and chilling out, TV presenter AJ Odudu’s versatile garden room means she can spend more time outdoors than ever before.

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She caught up with YourHomeStyle to tell us all about her garden room makeover…

My garden room makeover

Lockdown has definitely changed how I see my home. Spending so much time here over the past year, I realised I needed my space to work harder, including my garden.

Doing bits like adding artificial grass and a patio area was great, but I wanted to be able to be outside whatever the weather was like, so giving my summer room a bit of love and attention seemed like a good idea.

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‘The garden room was a blank canvas, so it was great to add my own personality to it. I added curved furniture, lots of colours and texture plus a large rug and lighting for a warm, cosy feel. I think this room shows that high-end style on a budget is 100 per cent possible’

Dividing the room into three separate zones has helped get the most out of the space available. From a morning of Zoom meetings to an afternoon yoga class and after-work drinks, it’s such a versatile space.

Welcome to my home…

A bit about me I’m AJ Odudu, 33, a TV presenter @ajodudu. My home is a three-bed maisonette-style flat in south-east London. 

My problem garden When I first moved here, I added artificial grass and a patio to the outside area. It was a great start, but I wanted a reason to be in my garden all year round, not just for summer, because I really love spending time outdoors. Creating an insulated space that I could use rain or shine seemed like the perfect solution. 

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It’s been a really cost-effective project too, as it’s maximised my outdoor area and created more space without having to fork out for an extension.

‘Fitness is very important to me and I wanted to factor this into the design. It was a must-have for me to have a space where I could unwind and do post-workout stretches. I’m planning to add some more gym equipment to maximise my workout area but I also want to incorporate a little bar area for summer BBQs – it’s all about yin and yang!’
‘Fitness is very important to me and I wanted to factor this into the design. It was a must-have for me to have a space where I could unwind and do post-workout stretches. I’m planning to add some more gym equipment to maximise my workout area but I also want to incorporate a little bar area for summer BBQs – it’s all about yin and yang!’

I’m currently in the process of renovating my flat, so sticking to a budget and thinking outside of the box is a must. Having friends over was at the front of my mind when I was designing this room. Being able to invite them over will be so exciting, even if we have to limit numbers.

A bit more about my home…

How I made it work I’ve added insulation, electricity and wi-fi so I can use the room all year round. I then divided the room into three separate areas: a WFH space with an office chair and desk; a self-care corner where I could relax with a book or stretch out on my yoga mat and a space for outdoor entertaining where I can sit with a friend and chill out over a drink. I’ve added personality with colourful accessories, houseplants and textured furniture pieces. 

My favourite part I love how calming the room is, especially the cosy ‘wellness corner’ where I can relax in my rattan balloon chair. It’s my favourite piece in the room – it’s super comfy but also makes a statement. 

A full-length mirror propped up against
the wall makes the space feel bigger by
reflecting the light streaming through
the floor-to-ceiling windows

With the garden seats and bistro table set, it’s the perfect place for catching up over a few drinks. I also added a potting station, mainly for my dad as he’s a keen gardener and will be able to come round and grow plants and herbs with me.

It’s not just inside the garden room that AJ has transformed. Outside, she’s set up a potting station, where she’s growing herbs, houseplants and flowers
It’s not just inside the garden room that AJ has transformed. Outside, she’s set up a potting station, where she’s growing herbs, houseplants and flowers

It’s one thing creating a space for yourself but when you get to share it with others it’s even better.

AJ’s style advice

Be happy

If you want to include a WFH space, help boost creativity by surrounding yourself with things that make you happy.

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AJ, who describes her style as ‘bright and bold’, has combined uplifting artwork with fun prints and quirky eye-catching accessories, such as the monkey table lamp. For wall art you can update easily, hang up magazine clippings, postcards or prints with masking tape.

Pick hard-working furniture

When you need to make the most of your space, multi-use furniture can work wonders. With built-in shelves, AJ’s work desk has plenty of storage space, helping to keep her garden room clutter-free.

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Other pieces, like a bench that can also be used as a display unit or a coffee table that can be turned into a cocktail cart, will help you make the most out of small space areas.

Shop online

‘I tend to make impulse decisions when I’m in an actual store but shopping online, where you can read reviews and have time to weigh up options, has been a complete game-changer.

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‘Online shopping has helped me create a high-end look while keeping costs down. I invested in furniture that I can take with me when I move and added a luxe look with blankets and cushions, which is a really affordable way to make a piece individual to you.’

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Styling Nadia McCowan Hill. Photos Alexander Edwards for Wayfair. 

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Home Style magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?