Summer is just around the corner and it’s therefore, the perfect time to prepare your outdoor space, so it’s ready for when the warmer weather finally makes up its mind to stay. Over the last couple of years, we have appreciated our outdoor spaces more than ever, as they are an extension of our homes and where our entertaining moves to in the warmer months. However, if you are just not sure where to even start, we thought we would help you with some ideas on how to style an outdoor space to make it feel comfortable, cosy, and inviting for both you and your guests.
During the first lockdown our outdoor spaces became an oasis of calm and somewhere we could retreat to, with many of us having to ‘holiday’ in our gardens due to travel restrictions. As a result, Brits spent more time and money than ever before on revamping our gardens, with garden bars and rattan furniture coming top of the list. Hot tubs sold out and people purchased fire pits, swing chairs and outdoor kitchens whilst adding decking and vegetable patches to their outdoor space. A year after the first lockdown it was reported in a garden census by STIHL that the average spend on our outdoor space over the previous year was £16 billion and this still shows no sign of slowing down. However, it was also reported that despite spending a considerable amount on their gardens, a third of those surveyed were still not happy with how their space looked and is styled.
Whether you have a small patio, a courtyard or a good-sized garden; spending quality time in your outdoor space is great for your well-being and should be a link to your home reflecting your individual style and personality. Everyone has different ways they use their space, but most importantly it needs to work for your particular lifestyle and family set-up. You may want an area to relax and sunbathe, a BBQ area or a big dining area where you can seat all the family when they come round. You also need to consider where the sun and shade are at different times of the day for eating or sunbathing.
A helpful way to begin is by zoning garden areas starting with your seating area. If you are lacking space a combined dining/living area works well with a big L shaped sofa and a table that you can eat at or enjoy drinks. If you need the area to be flexible with sun or shade; a parasol or sail shade works really well or alternatively a pergola, particularly if you have a south facing garden. By adding pretty plants and lighting to it, it can give it a really cosy feel and some people even add floaty material curtains for privacy.
When it comes to furniture; it’s important to consider if you have the room to store any garden furniture or if you would need to cover it up in the winter months. Rattan furniture in a neutral colour like grey is a great investment, is timeless style wise and can be left out all year round. It can be accessorised with cushions and throws to add colour; which can be changed inexpensively as trends come and go over the years. Depending on your budget, try not to compromise on garden furniture or accessories that you would never have inside, as your garden is an overflow of your home and needs to be inviting and relaxing, as with your home.
If you also would like an area to relax and sunbathe in, there are many options available but matching rattan sun loungers or even a daybed are great; as they are not only sturdier but can be used as extra seating when you have lots of guests visiting.
When choosing soft furnishings, it’s important to find fabrics that make you feel good and the right fabrics can add a real luxury feel to the area. You can also mix textures depending on the feel you want to create. Alle Interiors can help you with any bespoke soft furnishings requirements you may have and we also recommend Romo outdoor fabrics who specialise in outdoor fabrics and were the inspiration for the outdoor space project in the featured photo. Maria Flora is an Italian based company who we also recommend who supply beautiful outdoor fabrics.
A popular trend over the last few years has been the outside rug. As with your indoor rugs they are available in a wide range of sizes, styles and colours and can be waterproof, and just instantly add colour and cosiness to a outside seating or dining area.
Lighting is one of the most important areas for your outdoor space to create ambience. Festoon lighting has proved very popular recently, and by choosing warm bulbs over cool bulbs it can make your space feel very cosy. Having lanterns around your seating area on walls or tables also looks very pretty, and if you have any trees or big bushes in your garden; up-lighting them is a great way to add sparkle and looks lovely at any time of the year not just at Christmas. Just be careful not to overdo the lighting otherwise it will spoil the ambience.
When it comes to accessories; something like a statement wall clock or mirror can really make a difference to the feel of an area. Mirrors especially can make the area not only look bigger, but also reflect other areas of the space that you would not be able to normally see from where you are seated. Matching tableware can all add to the look of your space and add a citronella candle or two to add colour and help keep the bugs away.
If you require additional seating to your table and chairs; a swing chair can be great to relax in and is a great place to just sit and read a book. There are many different options available from basic rope and material ones to the very popular and trending egg chairs. Floor cushions are also a great option, especially for when there are children around as they can just sit and relax with their friends.
A final but very important aspect of your outdoor space is to add colour and warmth via plants and trees. Whether these are planted in flowerbeds or in pots; by adding greenery it breaks up the starkness and gives a relaxed feel to the area. Greenery can help define borders and zones and by just adding a new lick of paint to decking and fences it can make all the difference and gives you a blank canvas on which to start building and styling your outdoor space.
If you would like some advice on how to style your outdoor space from furniture to bespoke soft furnishings like cushions and accessories; this is where Alle Interiors can really help you make your outdoor space feel like an extension of your home. Please go to www.alle-interiors.co.uk to check out our products and collections and the services we offer.
Alle Interiors is a small creative team providing a one-stop-shop for all your interior design and soft furnishing requirements with customer service their utmost priority.
Suite VT80, iCentre, Howard Way, Newport Pagnell MK16 9PY
Tel: +44 (0)1908 299 358
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