In­side Out

Sum­mer is all about blue skies and grey out­door fur­ni­ture this year, writes Colleen Hawkes.

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - At Home -

The in­side goes out­side this sum­mer, as in­te­rior dec­o­rat­ing trends in­flu­ence a new crop of out­door fur­ni­ture. It’s scarcely sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing how much we love our in­door-out­door flow. Af­ter all, we have the per­fect cli­mate for it.

In the past few years, we’ve seen a greater em­pha­sis on the idea of an out­door liv­ing room, com­plete with weather-re­sis­tant so­fas, arm­chairs, cof­fee ta­bles and even rugs. It’s a much more so­phis­ti­cated look than ear­lier decades.

Jules Lloyd-jones of Mitre 10 says out­door spa­ces are no longer just used for din­ing or loung­ing in the sun. “More of­ten, we are see­ing them used for day-to-day liv­ing. With this, comes the greater in­te­gra­tion of plush cush­ions, out­door rugs and throws, all of which help to cre­ate a cosier, more invit­ing space.”

This year, com­fort, longevity and flex­i­bil­ity re­main a fo­cus for out­door fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­ers. How­ever, there’s also a def­i­nite colour trend.

Se­bas­tian Nash of King Liv­ing says we can ex­pect to see a lot more grey this sum­mer. “We al­ways work in with the in­door fur­ni­ture trends to pro­vide that seam­less vis­ual flow,” he says.

“This year we are see­ing a lot of warm neu­trals, from off whites, tau­pes and light greys right through to dark greys and gun­metal shades.”

For colour ac­cents, in­clud­ing cush­ions, Nash says blue re­mains a hot favourite. “Blue is still in­cred­i­bly strong and will be for a num­ber of years – these ma­jor colour cy­cles usu­ally con­tinue for 10 years. Navy is an ab­so­lute clas­sic, but we are see­ing all shades of blue, from duck-egg blue through to aqua.”

Other on-trend colours in­clude green, which Nash de­scribes as “the neu­tral of the gar­den”.

Jayne Cross-hunter of Mcken­zie Willis says char­coal teamed with crisp, white pow­der-coated alu­minium is es­pe­cially favoured at present.

And Lloyd-jones also no­tices a con­tin­u­ing de­mand for greys, creams and whites, but the store is see­ing a greater use of more vi­brant colours as well as pat­terns. “This may be through ac­ces­sories, such as bright plants and pots, place­mats or run­ners on ta­bles, a painted fea­ture space, or with state­ment fur­ni­ture pieces, such as a bright Cape Cod chair.

“In terms of tex­tiles, we’re see­ing more nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and rus­tic tex­tures, such as woven rope, bam­boo and wicker. A pop­u­lar trend is to mix these age-old ma­te­ri­als with mod­ern ma­te­ri­als and de­sign.”

In keep­ing with this trend, King Liv­ing has in­tro­duced a new rope-like fab­ric called King Cord. “Some weaves can look a lit­tle bit plas­tic,” says Nash. “But this one im­parts a very nat­u­ral look that’s un­der­stated and so­phis­ti­cated.”

Cross-hunter says cop­per and teak are also ap­pear­ing in new out­door fur­ni­ture lines. And ce­ramic tops for din­ing ta­bles are meet­ing the de­mand for a con­crete look, with­out the as­so­ci­ated bulk and weight. “This is now the top-sell­ing ta­ble sur­face in Europe,” she says.

Al­though many peo­ple like a co-or­di­nated look, there is a move to­ward mix­ing and match­ing din­ing fur­ni­ture. “Tra­di­tional ‘rules’ that re­quired ta­bles and chairs to match per­fectly are re­lax­ing as we see new ma­te­ri­als in­tro­duced and mixed in with old, cre­at­ing a plethora of op­tions for cus­tomers,” says Lloyd-jones.

Com­fort is para­mount. Nash says King Liv­ing is now in­cor­po­rat­ing pocket springs within lay­ers of foam in its out­door so­fas, not just in the in­door ver­sions.

“To pro­tect the springs, the fab­ric is not just wa­ter re­sis­tant, it’s ac­tu­ally wa­ter­proofed,” he says. “The wa­ter sim­ply runs off, which also means there’s no need to wait for fur­ni­ture to dry af­ter a quick sum­mer storm.”

Mitre 10 has also upped the com­fort lev­els in its out­door fur­ni­ture, fol­low­ing a de­mand for deep seats and plush cush­ion­ing.

Mod­u­lar fur­ni­ture is an­other trend that mim­ics what’s hap­pen­ing in­doors. So­fas and chaises can be moved and repo­si­tioned as re­quired.

To com­plete the set­ting, don’t for­get the light­ing. So­lar lights have the ad­van­tage of not need­ing ca­bles, and, fin­gers crossed, we will get plenty of sunny days to keep them charged.

A brightly painted Adiron­dack or Cape Cod chair is right on trend this year. There’s a strong Mid-cen­tury in­flu­ence in the Nou­veau Nero lounge out­door seat­ing from Mitre 10. Blue re­mains a favourite ac­cent colour this sum­mer.

Out­door fur­ni­ture mim­ics the in­doors – this out­door room fea­tures woven grey lounge seat­ing, which com­ple­ments the at­trac­tive gar­den set­ting.

Tex­tu­ral grey out­door fur­ni­ture teamed with blue ac­ces­sories is an­other hot trend for sum­mer. So too are mod­u­lar pieces, such as the Delta by King Liv­ing.

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