THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Enjoy summer days with on-trend outdoor furniture
COMFORT and colour are two of the key themes driving the latest designs in outdoor furniture.
The classic outdoor dining set will never go out of fashion, according to Bunnings national furniture buyer Ben Shanley, but with people increasingly blending their outdoor living space with their interior, comfortable and stylish pieces are becoming more popular.
Amanda Grant, outdoor furniture sales leader for Ikea, said relaxation was important for outdoor furniture.
“People are looking for options for outdoors beyond the typical sun bed, which is now less popular than armchairs and lounges,” she said.
Other relaxing options include stand-alone hammocks, with Mr Shanley naming Bunnings’ Mimosa curved timber-framed hammock as an example.
Masters Home Improvement outdoor living buyer Clare Knaggs said outdoor furniture trends changed less than those in clothing. But the key colours for each season often changed, with pastels next in line.
“Adding colour through accessories is an easy and costeffective way to instantly update an outdoor space,” Ms Knaggs said, pointing to Masters’ range of Zumo cushions and placemats.
With higher-density living becoming increasingly more common in Australia, compact outdoor furniture is also becoming more popular. “Tall tables and bar stools are spacesmart options for small courtyards and townhouses, and foldable furniture or bistro sets are great for small areas and balconies,” Ms Knaggs said.
While many people just had a clothes airer or three-piece setting on their balcony, Ms Grant said there was so much more that could be done.
She said storage benches with wall panels that also provided privacy from neighbours were one option, while a balcony could enjoy an instant facelift through flooring tiles, such as the Ikea Runnen range.
In the busy modern day, durability and easy maintenance are also important when it comes to outdoor furniture.
Ms Grant said many people liked the look of timber outdoor furniture but not its need for constant maintenance, hence the popularity of faux timber furniture ranges.
She said storage bags could be used to store textiles outside and protect them from the elements.