GET COMFY OUTSIDE
James Treble shows us how to create a cosy outdoor living space.
1 SET UP IN THE SHADE
For hot summer days, undercover areas are, of course, important. If you don’t have an existing pergola, large umbrellas can provide valuable shade as well as add summer colour to your space. Another great option is a retractable awning mounted to the fascia of your home. Open it for those summer barbecues, and wind it back in if the weather turns or in winter when you want the sun to shine in though your windows.
To find the right space, consider where the sun moves around your yard during the day. If you have an existing deck or paved area, simply add furniture for an instant outdoor living space. Many furniture designs are so lightweight and easy to move, you can place them under that large shading tree to let you really be outside and away from the house.
2 ADD PERSONALITY WITH CUSHIONS, RUGS & ACCESSORIES Colour and pattern will engage your guests and make you feel bright and happy, to match the great weather. One of the easiest ways to do this is with cushions and throws – they work the same as indoors, but you can be more bold with pattern and colour. Look for punchy floral designs in tropical shades, like pink, yellow and orange, or balance this with calming and cool blues and tealy greens. Stripes add a coastal feel to any space, and a throw not only adds texture, it may also be useful if a cool breeze arrives! Outdoor rugs, made from hard-wearing fabrics and materials, can be left outside, as well as get wet or soaked in sunlight without fading. They work well on a lawn as well as a flat tiled or paved area. Candlesticks or hurricane lamps create a holiday mood while providing practical lighting on summer nights. Large coloured pots for your plants, or smaller ones with succulents for the table, will enhance that indoor/outdoor feel. Coloured glasses, table runners, and serving plates can all add to the scheme.
3 GO SMALL, THINK BIG
Small table settings, designed to fit on small balconies and terraces, enable you to still catch those afternoon rays. The benefits of lightweight fold-up seating is that you can easily store it away on the colder days but remember, if you have to get them in and out every time you need them, you’ll probably find you use them less! You can also go oversized and make the best use of what valuable space you have: one large day bed along the width of a balcony can provide deep seating for three or more
people. Filling the day bed or outdoor sofa with plump cushions adds lots of personality as well as being practical. Small stools or side tables give you somewhere to place your coffee cup or glass of wine. Of course, one of the best ways to relax on a balcony or terrace is with a hammock. They are so easy to roll up and hang to one side or store away in a cupboard, but they are also so comfy and inviting, no matter if it’s for one, two or a gathering. Always check the weight allowance and ensure the hammock is connected to string bolts or posts.
4 USE THE BEST MATERIALS
For me, it’s all about cane and wicker, but be practical, as cane can be damaged if exposed to the elements. Hardwearing, light and easy-to-move aluminium-framed furniture has a modern sleek aesthetic. Classic teak is hardwearing and ages to nice, soft weathered grey. Although usually heavier, teak is also hard wearing and great for family gatherings where it gets a workout. Classic wrought-iron frames are elegant and can raise the entertaining bar. Glass blends in with the leafy surrounds, but it also shows dust so consider if it’s right for you. Ceramic stools add pattern and colour, and double up as extra seating or side tables. Ceramic is hard wearing, easy to clean and practical to leave outside.
Weigh to go Lightweight pieces in wire or wicker can be moved around easily.
Garden style Add cushions and colour in the same way you would inside.
Rug up Add an outdoor rug to zone your “room” and protect your feet from the summer heat.