Creative Ideas For Your Home’s Outdoor Space

Looking to add that extra special something to your alfresco area? Sprucing up your outdoor living space can add to your home and help you to enjoy your home and all it has to offer. Whether you’re looking to create your own Garden of Eden , a minimalistic modern and cool look, or a romantic alfresco dining area, read on for our ideas on how.

Relaxed afternoon tea

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Photo: Pinterest

There’s nothing like an afternoon of relaxation with friends on a shaded, breezy porch with tea and treats. Create a whimsy and elegance with wicker furniture, decorative cushions, patterned china, and bright florals. Choose light and sunny hues for your furniture and décor to channel those summer vibes.

Cosy fireplace retreat

Who says you can’t make use of your home’s outdoor area all year around? With an outdoor fireplace, enjoy the natural beauty and fresh air of the outdoors without the winter chills. Invest in some throws and comfy lounge chairs and get ready to snuggle down.

Relaxed sun deck

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Photo: Better Homes & Gardens

Turn any outdoor deck into the perfect sunning spot with couple of chaises,vibrant cushions, and a trestle table for those glasses of lemonade. Perfect for lazy summer days spent sunbathing and enjoying mellow tunes.

Classy alfresco dining

Enjoy a stylish evening meal with friends or family by dressing up your home’s outdoor area. A glass-topped table, straight back chairs, and candle centrepieces should do the trick. With home-cooked meal, you can create a dining experience to rival that of any fancy restaurant.

Sunny breakfast nook

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Photo: Buff Strickland

Wake yourself up the right way by converting your outdoor space into an alfresco breakfast or brunch patio. Look out for eclectic café tables with matching chairs, checked tablecloths, and miniature pot plants to add life and colour to your morning meal.

Lazy naptime spot

Nothing’s better than curling up with a book with the warm sun falling over you. Whether your bed of choice is a swinging seat, a hammock or a cosy day bed, don’t forget to invest in comfortable and breathable fabrics in soothing hues to send you off into a blissful doze.

Peaceful nature haven

Keep your furnishings simple – think basic wooden furniture and lounge chairs in neutral colours. A selection of pot plants and leafy foliage can create a relaxing retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Decorating your Outdoor Entertainment Area

string_lights_001Glossy magazines and Pinterest can make interior design seem like decorating and furnishing your home is easy, but in reality it can be a tough job. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as throwing an armchair here and some pillows there, then call it a day. It’s important to have a practical design and a proper budget plan that thinks about form, function and quality. This will prevent you from splurging on flashy and fashionable items that may not last the test of time.

When it comes to outdoor furniture, it’s crucial to invest in high quality and well-made items that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Consider the following tips.

Think Ahead

What kind of outdoor area does your home have and what will you be using it for? Is it a patio or a deck? Is it already protected from the elements or is it completely exposed? Will you be using the area mostly in summer or also in winter? What kind of aesthetic are you going for? Having a good idea of the intended purpose and look of your outdoor area will help you when you’re ready to start making purchasing decisions.

Location, location, location

Whether your alfresco area is covered or completely open, it is likely your outdoor furniture will be subject to the weather conditions. Do you live somewhere particularly windy or rainy? If so, you’ll want to invest in pieces that are heavy (so they won’t be easily blown away) and/or waterproof (as certain materials may rust or corrode quickly over time).

Create a Colour Scheme

Whether you want a natural look, or you’re after something modern, bright and bold, your outdoor furniture and decorations should all work together to form a cohesive design.

Think about Quality

Look for outdoor furniture that is sturdy, long-lasting and made from quality materials. You should also always ask the manufacturer or supplier for advice on how to care for and maintain your purchases. After all, furnishing and decorating any area of your home become pricey, so it’s important to always ensure your choices will be worth the expense.

Light it Up

If you’re looking to add a little oomph to your alfresco area, consider mood lighting. It can add a great deal of ambiance on lazy summer evenings and provide a warm and cozy glow on cool winter nights. The great thing about outdoor lighting is that it can be versatile. String lights, for example, are an affordable and attractive option, whilst oil torch lamps can enhance both traditional and modern settings.

Go Green

A little bit of greenery can go a long way. Introduce life and colour into your alfresco area with pot plants, flowers, hanging baskets, container gardens, or any other plant life. Just don’t forget a watering can while you’re at it!

Throw in Shade

There are a range of external factors that can damage your outdoor furniture over time. Even if your home’s outdoor area is partly or completely exposed, it’s a good idea to consider installing a protective structure to ensure that your alfresco area is sheltered from unpredictable weather.

Pergolas, verandas and gables are an appealing and practical way to protect your outdoor furniture and décor from wind, rain, dirt and dust, and sun damage.

Having a furnished and decorated outdoor area is the perfect way to extend and enhance your home, for both entertainment and relaxation purposes.

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How to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

Purchasing furniture for your bedroom, lounge or kitchen is tricky enough, but choosing furniture for your outdoor area is a whole other ball game. When it comes to outdoor furniture, investing in high quality products is more important than ever. These pieces not only endure the same wear and tear as indoor furniture, but are also subject to unpredictable external elements and factors such as wind, rain, dirt and dust.

With this in mind, it’s advisable to take good care of your outdoor furniture pieces to extend their value and maintain their appearance and longevity. Here’s a list of handy tips and suggestions to help you do just that.

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Wicker

Wicker outdoor furniture should be regularly vacuumed with a dust brush attachment to remove general debris. Use a mild soap solution to clean wicker and allow your furniture to dry standing upright. Prevent overexposure to sun and rain, as this tends to discolour and weaken wicker fibres.


Wood

The great thing about wooden outdoor furniture is that it generally requires little maintenance. For deep cleaning, mix together oxygen bleach with water and scrub the furniture with a soft bristle brush. To restore the original colour of the wood and smooth down any harsh ridges, use medium-grit sandpaper. The best way to protect wooden furniture from sunlight, dirt and moisture is by applying a water-repellent sealant, reapplying every 1-3 years.


Metal

Metal outdoor furniture can be cleaned with a mild soap solution. To remove rust stains from metal furniture, use fine sandpaper. Touch up any scratches with paint and be sure to add a protective coating of clear varnish.


Plastic

Plastic outdoor furniture is quick and easy to clean, compared to other types of outdoor furniture. Use a clean cloth and a mild dishwashing detergent to get rid of any mould or stains, and rinse and dry.


Fabric

Fabric outdoor furniture is made of a special material called performance fabric, which is specifically designed to repel stains, moisture and mildew. Despite this initial protection, it’s still important to regularly care for and maintain your fabric furniture. Using a fabric protector spray can enhance performance fabric’s natural water repellence. Pillows or cushions that feature removable furniture covers can easily be washed by hand or washing machine – just be sure to check the care instructions on the label.


Other tips:

  • Store or position your outdoor furniture strategically during the different seasons to ensure optimal protection from the most damaging weather. For example, wicker furniture suffers the most from exposure to intense sunlight, while fabric furniture should be protected from extremely wet weather.
  • Consider having furniture covers made. These handy items are particularly ideal for any outdoor furniture pieces that feature upholstery or fabric elements.
  • Installing a protective structure in your outdoor area, such as a veranda, pergola or sunroof, will not only protect your furniture and décor but also enhance the aesthetic and comfort levels of the space.
    Whether your outdoor furniture is made of wicker, wood, metal, plastic or fabric, these pieces can last for many years to come if you learn to protect them properly. If in doubt, always ask your outdoor furniture supplier or manufacturer for care instructions and advice on what products to use for the best outcome.

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A Guide to Choosing Long Lasting Outdoor Furniture

Lucky enough to have a house with an outdoor entertainment area? Take advantage of the precious extra space by decorating and furnishing your patio or deck for a great space to relax and socialise with friends and family. The best thing about outdoor living is that you can design the space to suit any look or mood, from a cosy and comfortable alfresco haven to a breezy and relaxed summer sunning spot.

When designing your outdoor space, it is important to note the difference between interior and exterior design. Any furniture, decorations or other items positioned on your patio or deck may be exposed to the elements. Purchasing weather-resistant furniture will allow you to effortlessly enjoy your space for longer. To help you, we’ve put together a handy guide of the most popular outdoor furniture types, to help you decide what will and won’t work for your alfresco area.

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Plastic

Plastic outdoor furniture is usually one of the most affordable options. These items are usually lightweight, portable and easy to store when not in use. Plastic furniture also requires little maintenance and is quick and easy to wash and maintain. Available in a wide range of colours and styles, plastic furniture can be used to create a unique and versatile alfresco look to suit your home. The bright hues and streamlined designs of plastic outdoor furniture are particularly ideal for modern and contemporary homes.


Wood

Wood furniture is usually popular option for outdoor areas, and for good reason. Sturdy, comfortable and timeless, wood furniture can be used to enhance the natural beauty of your home or to create a rustic look. Common long lasting wood furniture types include teak, redwood, cypress, cedar and pine. Keep in mind that these pieces should still be regularly treated to preserve their colour, protect them against the elements and increase their longevity.


Wicker

Wicker furniture can be natural or synthetic, made from cane, rattan, bamboo, or other natural grass materials. Lightweight but durable, wicker furniture is versatile and easy to match with other decorations or furnishings, such as pillows or throws. Wicker furniture looks great in summer and winter and can enhance your outdoor entertainment area all year round – just be sure to choose weather resistant wicker furniture! It is also advisable to ask the manufacturer or supplier on how to take care of your wicker furniture pieces over time – you may find you need to regularly waterproof them.


Metal

The two most popular types of metal outdoor furniture are wrought iron and aluminium. Each come with their own set of advantages and disadvantage, so be sure to carefully consider form and function.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron furniture is a classic choice that often evokes a formal and elegant feel. This type of furniture is usually heavy, ideal for windy locations. However, it is temperature sensitive and will retain both heat and coldness, which can make it uncomfortable for lounging. You can add a splash of colour and keep things cosy by decorating these furniture pieces with pillows. Wrought iron furniture also requires careful maintenance to prevent rust and corrosion.

Aluminium

Aluminium furniture is a great option if you’re after a modern, streamlined design for your outdoor space. These furniture pieces are corrosion resistant and won’t fade or rust, unlike other metals, especially if they’re also protected with a weatherproof finish. Aluminium furniture is also light and portable, low maintenance, and easy to clean with soap and water. However, quality aluminium outdoor furniture sets can be expensive, which may not be ideal for those who are on a budget.


Outdoor furniture is a long term investment, so it’s advisable to make careful decisions when purchasing such items. The weather will inevitably take its toll on your outdoor area, but with regular care and upkeep, you can maintain the appearance and increase the life of your furniture.

Don’t forget that having a semi or fully covered alfresco space will also help to protect your furniture! Consider investing in a stylish veranda, pergola or sunroof. Not only will these structures provide shelter from inclement weather, but they’ll also enhance the look and functionality of your home’s exterior.

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Caring For Wicker Furniture

Wicker furniture provides a luxurious, well made and comfortable addition to any veranda. It provides a bridge between the outside and the inside, combining the best aspects of indoor furniture with the more rustic demands of the outdoors.

But even while wicker furniture is quite rugged and well made, it still needs to be looked after if it is to last a long time. This is especially true since it spends so much time sitting outdoors; even if the weather is dry it can create problems for wicker furniture.

When it comes to caring for your wicker chairs and tables, you should find out first of all exactly what material they are made of. Wicker is merely the style in which a particular material has been used, which in this case is woven; the most commonly used types in this case are bamboo and willow.

Assuming you have bought the right piece of furniture to use outside (some wicker furniture is only meant to be used indoors, so be careful when you are buying it in order to ensure you get something robust enough to last outdoors) the first step is to make sure you clean it regularly. If you don’t then it is not likely to last as long since it will be less able to withstand the weather. Make sure you get into good cleaning habits as soon as you get your furniture, to stand a better chance of sticking with it.

Dust is a big factor for outdoor furniture, and the natural design of wicker means that there are plenty of places for dust to blow into and become lodged. The best method of getting it out is to use a feather duster or static duster to be rid of it.

Once you have done that a quick wipe with a damp cloth (not soaking wet) should do the trick. The problem with having wicker furniture sitting in the sun is that all the moisture content of the wicker will gradually be lost and the furniture will become compromised as a result. Wicker should never be completely dry. Regularly wiping it over like this helps to combat this natural loss of moisture to the sun.

Some types of wicker may need oiling with linseed oil or something similar to help protect it against moisture and replace some of the natural oils that are lost. But there is only a certain amount you can do to clean and protect your furniture from the elements.

Each year there comes a time when the weather changes for the worse, and then you are better off storing your wicker furniture for the winter if at all possible. If you don’t have the room then get some large tarpaulins to cover it with and make sure they are anchored down.

However good your wicker furniture is in quality, dusting and oiling it will only help to protect it against some things. Sometimes a change of location is your best bet until the weather gets better again.

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