We all love to sit, play and eat outdoors and why not...we live in a country with great weather most of the year! The most desirable and comfortable new homes embrace ‘patio life’ with a seamless flow inside and out: invisible door tracks, alfresco meal prep and room to lounge on practical outdoor seating. Now is the time to embrace that trend and create an outdoor retreat that invigorates you, your family and friends.
So where to begin? There's so many good budget options around that make decorating inside and out very affordable but don't skimp too much in your alfresco area because exposure to the elements is bound to take it's toll at some stage and you'd rather it be later than sooner.
Firstly, it’s good to really think about how you want to use the available space. A small balcony will have different considerations to a large patio with an outdoor kitchen, right? Define different areas according to how you want the space to be used; rugs under foot where people will be seated, tiles around wet or cooking areas, grass for play or relaxing on the floor. There is merit in decorating consciously to create a space with purpose.
My advice is to select furniture pieces that are neutral in colour and the best quality you can afford. This way you can redecorate seasonally, or as your tastes change, around core pieces that will last a number of years. Colour is best introduced in the accessories like cushions and throws, floor rugs, occasional tables, planters and lanterns.
Colour cues can come from foliage, flowers, pools or other painted surfaces and it can be an idea to echo those established inside your house already to create flow between your indoors and out. A quick visit to Pinterest will throw up loads of great colour combinations that work seamlessly in nature if you’re really stumped. Failing all that, pick colour(s) that enhance the mood you want to inspire in that space. More on that very subject here.
A decorative theme is another good start for colour and décor selection. Hamptons, tropical or eclectic boho, for example, will each have style features that can guide your choices.
Once you settle on a key colour, introduce 2 or 3 more complementary colours to add visual interest and relief from monotony in the space. (Refer to a colour wheel if you need to – colours on opposite sides of the wheel work well together.) These secondary colours can also be reflected within cushion designs, tablewear and pots for example. Don’t be scared to mix patterns in your soft furnishings either. The trick is to find common colours in different patterns in order to tie them together. Use scale too – a larger print design with a smaller one works a treat.
Select accessories and occasional furniture that add to the functionality of the space;
• select outdoor cushions and inserts made of synthetic fibres to resist mildew and moisture
• buy candles with lids to protect them from dust and debris when not in use
• use throw rugs to soften hard edges and to snuggle into when it's a bit chilly
• under table storage is useful for magazines or games
• introduce pots and low maintenance greenery into odd or dark corners
Uplights in garden beds, fairly lights strung over head or candle lit lanterns create magic on balmy evenings and creates ambiance. Moteef's luxe outdoor candles are a wonderful way to introduce candle light while exuding the mood enhancing benefits of a bespoke blend of essential oils; repelling mozzies at the same time!
Lastly, use your outdoor retreat like any other room in the house; maintain it, dust it and protect it from the elements so that its functional all year round. Consider a gas heater or chiminea for cooler months and perhaps cafe blinds for afternoon sun or inclement weather.
The key is to make it a place that appeals to your senses and enhances your mood. It will keep you returning for more!
>> What's in your dream outdoor retreat?