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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Patios, Pergolas and Verandas – options for outdoor cover

Australian summers are always perfect for outdoor entertaining. So when it comes time to upgrade your outdoor area the first thing you probably think of is installing a patio or another type of covering to keep your BBQ guests cool in the shade. An outdoor covering also gives you the flexibility to use your outdoor space all year round and even during inclement weather.

So what kind of outdoor covering can you use in your backyard or courtyard?

Patios – a covered wooden structure providing good, basic cover.

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Pergolas– like a patio except that it is built with a steel frame providing a longer life.

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Sunroof – these have the option of providing more shade and protecting against the rain. You have the option of having adjustable louvres to suit any situation.

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Verandas– – Traditional verandas (sometimes spelled verandahs) are outdoor extensions to a home. This type of outdoor living and entertaining has become an important part of the Australian way of life especially in summer. Verandas can also be added to an existing house and design as a way opening up the livable space of a home.

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Retractable Awnings– – A cheaper alternative to a sunroof, an awning will allow you to retract it when you are not using it.

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When looking at what kind of outdoor cover you want to build, you have to consider your unique situation. One determining factor will the size of your outdoor space. The larger the backyard the more options you will have. Budget will also be a factor and you’ll also want to go for a quality and trusted brand, such as the Stratco Outback which has become one of the most popular brands in Australia.

Here are some of our thoughts on how to choose the perfect outdoor covering.

Patios and Pergolas

A patio is a great starter option for when you want permanent cover for your outdoor area. You should build with treated wood supports. They can also look a lot better with certain styles of housing. Your patio frame can be ‘stained’ or even painted a colour to match your house.

On the other hand you can invest a little bit more in a pergola that will be stronger and more durable as it is built with steel.

As for the actual cover you can usually choose between stopping all the light for a cooler area or having transparent sheets put in to let a bit of light shine through. A lot of people opt for a mix between these two options so that it does not get too hot in summer but there is enough light getting through in winter.

Verandas

Australians love their verandas and it was a main feature of older homes with some designs having the veranda wrap around the entire house. In addition to being great for entertaining, verandas can help to keep the house cooler in summer by providing more shade around the windows.

A veranda is more of a direct extension of your house, often with multiple doors and entry points leading out to it. Verandas do have the downside in that they don’t let in as much natural lights compared to other options. It is also usually a more permanent fixture, which can have implications for sale and value of your home.

Awnings and Sunroofs

An awning is usually a sealed cloth material that can be permanently fixed or retractable so you can put it up when it’s needed.

Meanwhile, a sunroof for your outdoor area gives you a great customisable option for covering. You can adjust louvers to suit the climate with a simple flick of the remote.

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Turn your Garden into an outdoor Living room with a Pergola

For families who love to spend a lot of time at home, sometimes a little extra room is needed. A cleverly designed pergola can be the answer to space problems. With the right planning and construction, a pergola can provide you with a different kind of living space – an outdoor room.

Out door rooms are pergolas that have been designed to provide an integrated flow between your home and your backyard. An out door room gives you the fresh air of the outdoors without the limitations. You can set up your outdoor furniture and not have to worry about the timber fading in the sun or the fabric padding getting mouldy in the rain. If you have enough protection you can even place a sofa or day bed in your outdoor room or maybe a dining table.

Pergolas come in many shapes and sizes these days. They can be fitted to the side of your home and provide the comfort of another room in your house. An indoor room is ideally located next to a casual living room, kitchen or dining area. It can be constructed of timber, composite or steel and painted or stained to match your home. An indoor room can be roofed in a basic corrugated, plastic covering or installed with heavy duty material and guttering. You can have the roof transparent or opaque or even a mixture of both, proving the right mix of light and shade.

To succeed in making the pergola feel like an outdoor room, it is important to blend certain elements of the pergola to your existing home, to ensure a seamless integration.

Flooring

Flooring is key in this instance. Take note of what flooring the room adjacent to the pergola has. Is it tiled or timber? What is the colour? Obviously it is ideal to be able to match the flooring of the connecting rooms exactly. But in some cases, even a similar match is better than none at all. If you have polished timber floors in your home, then try and pick a timber decking that will match the stain of the interior floorboards. If you have tiles in the interior, adjacent room, try and match those tiles in size and colour. By matching the floor up as closely as possible, you will create the illusion that it is one big, flowing room.

Connecting Doorway

If possible, it is best to cover the entire wall or connecting area with glass doors. Doors that can open up and allow as much light in and provide minimal visual interference. If you can’t make it a whole wall, then try for glass sliding doors. This will help open up the area and really make it feel like an extension of the indoors.

Décor

It is essential to match the décor of the outdoor room created by your outdoor pergola to the decor of your home. Make sure you choose furniture that is similar in design and style. Decorate in shades and colours that complement the existing room.

By following these simple steps you will create a smooth and uninterrupted flow between your interior living space and your out door room, enhancing both your home and your garden.

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