At this time of year, with summer and Christmas upon us, we are spending a lot more time outdoors, relaxing and entertaining. With so much time spent in outdoor spaces, and with our beautiful climate, we need to carefully consider the way we style and structure these spaces.
The first thing with any space is to consider what the space is for. I like to treat the outdoor spaces I style just as carefully as I would any indoor space. So I consider first of all, is the space for dining or for lounging?
The way a lot of Australian homes are now designed means that the indoor dining table will often be near bi-fold or sliding doors, leading to the outdoor space, negating the need for an outdoor dining table, or the outdoor dining table might be in a separate space, so you’re able to use the closest outdoor area for a lounge area, which is ideal for entertaining and relaxation. If you can fit a lounge area and an outdoor dining table, all the better. If the area is for dining, consider if you would like to, and/or can fit, built-in barbecue, fridge, etc, therefore creating an entire additional outdoor room.
For either area, consider how many people you would like to and are able to seat. Ideally, aim to seat as many people as you can comfortably thus maximising available space. Therefore finding a lounge configuration that can fit as many people as possible. The current trend is leaning towards natural materials, so try to bring these in wherever possible. Mix contrasting materials such as timber, tiles, concrete and stone for added warmth and interest. You also need to take into account the harsh Australian climate, so look for materials that are natural looking, yet durable.
Also important is to consider the style of your home, and ensure that the style of your outdoor space flows on from that. Are you indoors modern and contemporary? Or are they more of a classic Hampton’s feel? Whichever the look you’ve gone for inside, ensure that flows onto your outdoor spaces. With your outdoor settings, I like to keep fabrics as neutral as possible, therefore blending in with the environment and creating a timeless feel. You can then amp up your colour scheme with your cushions and tableware. Blue are big as always but don’t be afraid to experiments with some tropical greens, bright yellow or some animal prints.
The lines between indoor and outdoor living are becoming more and more blurred, with a lot of outdoor spaces feeling more like an outdoor lounge room. Don’t feel as though you have to go out and buy a 100% matching set. You could have a sofa and a couple of arm chairs that are from different ranges but complicate each other. You could also choose a different coffee table or side table, which may be in contrasting but complimentary materials. For example some timber or teak framed sofas or armchairs with a stunning concrete topped coffee table. There are also some fabulous eco options on the market place with synthetic materials that are extremely durable yet have a very natural look and feel. Woven looks and rattan are still classic options though be careful not to go too matchy matchy!
Greenery is also essential and creates a warm and natural feel for any space. Look at creating different areas of varying sizes of pots of different heights, with various kinds of plants to create interest. Succulents are on trend and can be used in variety of ways in ‘plant styling’ as I like to call it. They are also very hardy and do well in our climate.
This again will create more interest and personality. Whichever way you go, creating a space that you and your friends and family love spending time in is the ultimate goal. Create colour, interest and warmth through the right configuration, materials and greenery. Aim for that inviting outdoor space that feels more like a fabulous indoor space that has the ‘wow’ factor.