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If you’re looking to transform your existing outdoor area into a space that looks and feels fabulous, then we’ve got some tips and tricks that we think you’ll love.
Grab a cup of tea (or a glass of wine!) and sit down with a notebook and let your imagination run wild.
When designing an indulgent outdoor living area for your home, it’s important you are not fixated on what is currently there. Remove everything, but don’t necessarily throw it away.
With a blank canvas, you might discover that simply turning a table 90 degrees or moving it 50cm, could totally change the functionality and feel of the space.
Don’t be a copycat!
If you have just purchased the home or renovated, you don’t need to replicate how the space was dressed for sale or mapped out on the blueprint – this hasn’t been styled for you!
You want to create a zone that reflects your personality, how you want to live, and what works for everyone living there, or visiting, because once you have this space looking amazing, it will be the go-to spot in your home.
Who’s in the house?
You’ll want to share this beautiful haven. Unless you want family and guests all cramped on the oversized double daybed you’ve excitedly ordered for yourself, you need to assess how many people (and pets!) will be using the space and how many guests you think will visit.
Need vs want
Think about how you want to use the space:
- Is it just for you and the family to lounge around in?
- Do you and the family prefer sitting or laying down?
- Are you planning on entertaining in this space and require dining functionality?
- How many people do you want to fit around the table or the lounge area?
Or is it that you need all of the above?! This is the most popular answer when we ask clients this question in our complimentary design consultations.
It’s all possible with a clever mix of multifunctional pieces and customisation where necessary. It’s quality over quantity, so always under furnish rather than over furnish. Invest into quality furniture that you will have for a long time, not quantity that will fill the space – sadly, this will only cheapen your hard work and won’t last.
It’s a balancing act!
Imagine the space on a set of scales. Whatever you put on one side, balance it on the other side. This doesn’t mean you need the same amount of furniture in both zones. If your outdoor space needs an area to be free for movement, consider putting a large plant in the corner, an oversized hanging outdoor lampshade (this can be a great wow factor!) or something on the wall (like a mirror) to help balance without taking up essential floor space.
Map it out
Grab the masking tape or chalk and map out where you would like to place your proposed furniture. Walk around it, pretend you have a tray in your hands (perhaps with glasses of champagne for your guests!) to ensure you have the freedom to move.
If you are considering an outdoor dining setting, draw the setting with the chairs positioned under the table and then another line for when people will be sitting at the table (i.e. with the chairs further out).
Look at the outdoor area from different rooms in your home and visualise where everything is going to go. The space should entice you to come outside.
Make sure doors can open easily and, if you are incorporating outdoor dining furniture, try not to mirror it directly outside where your indoor table and chairs are located. We are not creating a canteen.
You’ll want to look out onto your beautiful lawn, pool or views so positioning of outdoor furniture can be a challenge.
Firstly, choose furniture that is off the ground and looks beautiful from the back. Our Osier Belle signature tie at the back of our pieces was created for this very purpose. As well as securely tying down the cushions, it becomes a piece of art, not just the back of the furniture.
Next, place your setting at a right angle to your home so that you’re not directly facing the view, but remember:
- We tend to sit to an angle
- You’ll turn your head to take in the view
- People want to face each other when entertaining, not feel like they’re at the cinema
- When you lie down, you’ll face the landscape
Move your power points
Often in our Osier Belle consultations, as we discuss potential layouts, we hear “Oh no! We need to keep that area free for the BBQ’’. So, are we designing around the Weber on wheels? A plan that would make for a stunning, enchanting layout is being thrown to the side by a gas point that was put in with no logic in mind.
So move it! It is not a costly modification and will open up your outdoor retreat to so many possibilities.Same applies for power points. These are gold to have outside and if you don’t have one, it’s worth investing in getting one installed.
Remember, you are the one in power, not the BBQ or the outdoor plug socket.
In your element
We are creating a room with the intention of you spending lots of time in it over the years, so the weather is going to be a huge factor.
If exposed, invest in furniture that was truly designed for the outdoors, including the cushions. You don’t want a retreat that lacks luster – and cushions because you have to bring them in.
Consider a parasol (this can be magical with copper light entwined under it) but make sure it is of excellent quality and can tilt to block the unforgiving sun. The sun changes position depending on the season (Sun Surveyor is a great free APP to tell you where the sun is at any time of day). Osier Belle’s unparalleled residential and commercial experience with TUUCI parasols will ensure you make the perfect choice from the extensive versatility and range on offer.
As well as heating, one of the most challenging elements is wind. If your outdoor space is vulnerable to gusty breezes, ensure your chosen pieces are solid (not flat-packed) and sturdy. At Osier Belle, because we make every piece of furniture specifically for you, we have a great solution for this that ensures your furniture is heavy enough to endure these extreme conditions. This does not compromise moving the furniture when needed – and does not compromise the look.
When you walk into your current outdoor living space, acknowledge where you are looking first. Is it the wall straight in front of you or is it the corner off to the left or right? This is where you should put something with height. Whether it is a plant, a tall lantern, an armchair angled towards you, a piece of outdoor artwork, as this welcomes you into the space.If you are challenged with curved walls, look for furniture that can celebrate these areas. Consider the Osier Belle Tresse Rounded Sofa which was designed for these architectural features and can be customized to contour perfectly.
If your outdoor living room is three walls and a view, look for furniture that is curvaceous, with lots of texture and fabric to warm the space and soften the flow.
Bit of wow
Inject some ‘wow’ into your space to make it an enjoyable and pleasing creation.
For larger spaces, there are stunning creations such as bespoke Hanging Lounges or oversized custom made daybeds created to provide that jaw-dropping appeal. If your outdoor living area is a little less extensive, a tree filled with outdoor vintage style festoon lights gives that magical touch. If we are talking about a really small space, an outdoor mirror with a shelf for candles and your Bluetooth speaker will increase the feel of the den and reflect back the entrancing flicker of light. It’s all about creating a mood.