The explosion in outdoor furniture options opens up a whole new way of styling your alfresco spaces, writes Robyn Willis
Top tips for finding your outdoor style
Summer is just around the corner so there’s no time to waste to throw open the back doors, let the sunshine in and get your outdoor furniture sorted.
While many of us grew up with a simple timber outdoor setting, now there are myriad choices available to suit every possible budget — and style. Given our harsh conditions, look for hard-wearing, fade-resistant materials.
These days, most outdoor cushions are made from quick drying foam but ask about UV protected fabrics. If you’re likely to leave cushions out in all weather, go for neutral colours that will still look good as the fabric fades, although if you’re keen on brighter tones, storing them out of the sun and rain when not in use will really extend their life.
The same goes for furniture frames. A wipe down of lightweight metal frames should be sufficient, while furniture made from teak — widely considered the best option for outdoor timber furniture — will benefit from the occasional sanding and oiling.
And while designer European furniture looks incredible, keep in mind that it is often made for northern hemisphere conditions where the outdoor season can last just a matter of weeks.
We’ve put together the best looks of the season to make your outdoor space your favourite room in the house.
This laid-back look is part of the Hutt range from Eco Outdoor. Materials are robust and heard wearing; perfect for lazy days on verandas.
CONTEMPORARY AND CHIC
You may want to do a double take — this is indeed outdoor furniture. Part of the Manutti San range available from Cosh Living (pictured above) it is made from high-quality teak and powder-coated steel. The cushions are filled with quick drying foam and the acrylic fabrics are fade proof.
Perfectly suited to homes with a contemporary edge, there’s a little MidCentury nod here that could lend itself to retro residences from the 1950s and ’60s.
Style is minimalist and sleek with just a hint of colour. While it invites relaxation, this is not the look to team with bean bags and inflatable pool toys.
With its European good looks, cocktails and designer sunglasses might be more on track.
This style from the St Joseph range by Coco Republic is a touch Byron Bay mixed in with a little Amalfi Coast.
But whether you see yourself on the Italian coastline or just far north NSW, this pared back lifestyle is all about quiet luxury.
The palette is neutral and lines are clean but with an emphasis on natural materials like this teak frame with rope weave detail.
While it looks very much at home on a simple timber deck, this style works just as well on European-style balconies with patterned tiled floors. Aperol spritz anyone?
LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED
So much of outdoor living is about entertaining, and the affordable Torquay range from Freedom is the perfect set to get the party going.
Its aluminium frame means it is not only lightweight but hard wearing enough to withstand outdoor use. Team it with colourful outdoor cushions and an outdoor floor rug to draw guests out of the house and keep them there as the sun goes down with strings of party lights.
While it’s an obvious choice for an alfresco area, this style would work just as well under an open pergola or even on a freshly mown lawn where you could add a couple of brightly coloured beach umbrellas for shade.
Just make sure access to drinks is not too far away, either via a drinks bucket or a more sophisticated set-up such as a full barbecue and cafe window to the kitchen.
If it’s on a deck, potted palms and tough succulents make great accessories, although position them carefully to avoid creating circulation problems.
The best thing about a party set-up is its flexibility. This style suits most types of housing from your brand new project home through to older homes in need of freshening up. It’s a playful look so remember to have a little fun with outdoor photo booths, pinatas or oversized inflatables if you have a pool. Try not to think about the clean-up afterwards. More: