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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Entertaining Outside from Winter to Summer

You probably have an outdoor area that you are thinking of upgrading at some point and you are probably thinking of its use in Summer. Have you ever really thought about using your outdoor area or veranda in winter and other seasons? There are some options that won’t cost you a fortune and will make your outdoor area more flexible throughout the year.

When you really look at your outdoor entertaining area you will realise that you may not even use it in the colder months. Ever been to a cafe in winter? Of course you have and you may have even sat outside, so how do they do it? Keeping your outdoor area warm in winter can be easier than you think.

Hot Enough for You?

There are a few simple ways to keep your outdoor area or pergola warm in winter and they are not that expensive:

  • Enclosing your outdoor area will keep it much warmer.
  • Adding heating is easy in the form of a gas warmer.

These two simple techniques can be achieved without having to make your outdoor area the same as the inside of your house. While you can have fancier extensions that have solid walls opting for adaptable outdoor settings makes more sense. If you have a totally enclosed outdoor area then what will you do once it warms up?

Windy Worries

One of the biggest problems people find in using an outdoor area all year round is wind and rain. This is where drop down PVC walls come in handy and are relatively inexpensive. It also keeps your under cover area nice and airy in spring and summer when you want to feel the breeze.

Make sure your outdoor furniture is heavy enough not to blow around.

Use plants, walls and fences as windbreaks for your back yard.

Make sure you have good quality awnings and pergolas installed as a strong wind can easily get under them!

Let the Sun Shine In

Another option for your entertainment area is an opening roof as well as adjustable walls and sides. This means that you can still have a sunny area for entertaining in the warmer months and then a closed in warm and inviting setting in colder months. Not only that, but it means you can be assured your BBQ won’t be ruined by a sudden summer storm either!

Some covering will get hot in certain conditions being made out of metal.

Having any type of covering may also mean being cold in the winter months.

An opening roof system allows you to have the best of both worlds no matter the what the weather is doing.

If you are looking at having plastic sides for your undercover area remember what elements it will be exposed to. Not only will it have to cope with wind and rain but it can also be damaged by the sun and heat. Make sure you have quality materials and construction in all of your outdoor entertaining areas

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The Ultimate Outdoor BBQ Area

While you might have renovated the inside of your home, you may not have improved the exterior. Adding value to your home with verandas can give you a great feature and make it a big selling point if you decide to move. Plus, in summer you have somewhere to entertain and relax with friends and family.

So what exactly makes up a perfect BBQ area in Australia?

  • Open air with a nice breeze running through.
  • Coverage to provide protection from the sun.
  • A beautiful garden or feature plants.
  • And a big BBQ of course!

Making Your Outdoor Area Open

You may want to have the option of having an enclosed outdoor area but when it comes to summer you might regret it. One great option is a convertible outdoor area that you can change according to the weather. Roll or pull down curtains and sides are great additions to new or existing pergolas.

Finding the Right Barbecue

You may be tempted to just get the biggest and best barbie but this can be a mistake. Figure out what kind of space you have to work with first. Once you have measured your outdoor area choose a BBQ that will give you enough space to still entertain but also cook enough food for all your friends.

A BBQ with gas is much easier to get started.

Consider the possible smoke and heat caused by a BBQ. If your BBQ is too big it may be a problem.

You can cook many of your meals outdoors in summer and most new BBQs will allow you to do roasts.

If you don’t always use a BBQ make sure you can wheel it away or have a good cover to keep it from rusting.

Adding Plants to Your Pergola!

While it is tempting to try for a ‘modern’ design for your outdoor area with just pavers and a covering, it is easy to add a bit of greenery too. Adding plants will also help cool down the area and you can choose plants that will highlight your choice of colouring. If you are not a green thumb then simply choose some of the low maintenance plants that look great in designer pots.

Here are a few low maintenance varieties that should suit your BBQ area:

  • Bromeliads – Come in a large variety of colours, shapes and sizes and very hard to kill.
  • Ferns – they require a bit more water but once established will look great.
  • Palms – You can put in some small palms and they are very suitable for pots.

Be Bug Safe

Summer is the time of the fly and mosquito and they can ruin your outdoor BBQ area. Make sure you have some mosquito coils or something similar. You can also help keep mosquito levels down by making sure there is no stagnant water near your home, especially in your BBQ area!

What if it is Cold?

A cold weather BBQ area is very easy to put together and can be done by using your existing outdoor covered area. Check out some outdoor heaters as well as adjustable side walls for your veranda or pergola. This way you can use your outdoor areas in all weather and seasons, not just in summer.

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