Summer is just around the corner and we all love warm summer nights spent outdoors. But it can often be difficult to make your outdoor area feel as comfortable as your living room, regardless of whether you have a small balcony or a large backyard. Here are my top ten tips for creating a cosy outdoor area where you’ll want to hang out all summer long (and in the case of Australia, most of the winter too!).
Tip #1 – Think about how you want to use the space
Are you the type of person that likes having friends over for dinner, or do you prefer to use your space to relax, read a book and sip a glass of wine with your partner? The traditional dining table and BBQ might be tempting, but perhaps a lounge setting would be more appropriate? It's totally up to you, but it needs to be thought through before you make any purchases.
Once you have figured out your intended use, plan the layout of the space and decide what furniture you’ll need. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a view, consider this when planning your layout to ensure you get as much enjoyment from it as possible!
Photos: @saltatshoalbay | Homes To Love
Tip #2 - Choose one style and stick to it
You are most likely attracted to many different styles. But if you try to mix them, you risk ending up with an area that lacks cohesion and harmony. This is true for all parts of your home.
Head over to Pinterest and search for images that you like. Mediterranean (particularly Italy, Morocco, Ibiza and Greece), Balinese and Scandinavian styles provide great inspiration for an inviting and relaxing outdoor space.
Once you have chosen your style, stick to it. Whenever you want to buy a new piece of furniture or a cushion, look at it next to your Pinterest board and ask yourself if they go together. This will help you avoid purchasing the wrong item. It’s also important to choose a style that is consistent with the rest of your home to create a seamless indoor/outdoor transition.
Vision board example by AMA Studio Interiors
Tip #3 – Take the indoors outdoors
Outdoor furniture choice is often limited and not very appealing. If your outdoor area is undercover, do not hesitate to use indoor furniture. But make sure you choose pieces that are durable and will withstand UV and humidity. If your area is not undercover, try to find outdoor pieces that look like indoor furniture. Rattan furniture will suit most styles and some are made for outdoor use.
My favourite outdoor furniture suppliers in Australia include Uniqwa Furniture, GlobeWest, Bastille & Sons (I absolutely LOVE the Outdoor Croisette Chair from Honore Deco!), Papaya, Coco Republic, MCM House and Naturally Cane. IKEA, Temple & Webster and Zanui also have a large range of affordable outdoor furniture.
Tip #4 – Use a rug to tie the space together
This is probably my most important tip. Adding a rug will define your space, making it more inviting and cosy. If your space is undercover, you can use almost any rug as long as it’s not too fragile or too thick (thinner rugs will dry quicker if they get a bit wet). If your space is exposed, don’t worry, there are some great outdoor rug options too.
Photos: dropthebrandco.shop | studio-mcgee.com | digsdigs.com
Tip #5 – Don’t neglect your walls
Walls are often forgotten when planning an outdoor space but don’t hesitate to paint them or hang artwork/mirrors. Again, if your space isn't covered, select materials that are durable in the weather.
Tip #6 – Prefer natural materials
Choose natural materials where you can. They bring warmth to a space and are better for the planet. Avoid cheap plastic furniture at all costs.
Photos: @froehlicheszuhause | ECO Boutique Sanara Tulum | Casa Cook El Gouna Hotel
Tip #7 – Good lighting is key
Great lighting is just as important outdoors as it is indoors. String lights, lanterns and candles will make your outdoor area even more inviting. Every interior designer will tell you to stay away from cool white globes in favour of warm white ones.
Photos: annettenordstrom.com | trendyhomedecorations.com | thewonderforest
Tip #8 – Introduce textures
Beautiful cushions and throws will add texture to your outdoor space. While you can find great outdoor cushions, you will most likely have to take the throws in when it rains. Linen drapes or curtains also look gorgeous outdoors and bring voluptuousness and privacy to your outdoor sanctuary.
Photos: Uniqwa Furniture | @bohostyleliving | gartendiy.strickenlernen.club
Tip #9 – Add a linen cloth to your dining table
For a romantic dinner with your better half or a beautiful dinner with your loved ones, put a linen cloth on your outdoor dining table and break out your favourite tableware.
Tip #10 – Last but not least, get some plants
Your outdoor space isn't complete without some greenery. To find the best plants for your area, get some advice from your local store as not all plants will be suitable. The amount of sun and wind your home gets will determine the best plants and some are easier to keep alive than others (I learned this the hard way!).
Once you've found the perfect plants for you and your space, head to your local antique store as they often have amazing plant pots. Lunatiques in Mascot is one of my favourites and a great option for those of you living in Sydney.
You can also add some vegetation with a beautiful bunch of fresh cut or dried flowers.
Photos: freshome.com | planete-deco.fr | @hommeboys
I hope this article will help you create an outdoor space that you love.
Get in touch with us through the AMA Studio Interiors contact page if you need help styling your outdoor space or any other area in your home. We would love to help!