Whether it’s a tiny balcony to your one-bed walkup or a whole patio with enough space to have a little flower patch, while we’re stuck indoors, it’s these little pieces of the outdoors that are keeping us going. For some of us, it’s where we go to get a breath of fresh air or enjoy a cup of tea, for (some lucky) others it’s doubling up as an outdoor office or vegetable garden, but whatever the case, it’s a space that definitely needs some comfortable seating (or working!) options.
Retailers have already noticed a spike in sales of outdoor furniture, a testament to the fact that this year, summer is going to be very different from any other summer. Thanks to the pandemic, you’re probably going to have to trade in those exotic travel plans for a staycation, but there’s no reason you can’t make it the best one ever.
Here are some outdoor furniture ideas to get you started, whether it’s a tiny porch or a full-blown patio. A little effort and you’re sure to have a happy space to retreat to whenever you need it.
An outdoor living room, anyone?
If you spent all these months trying to bring the outdoors inside with plants and, admit it – more plants, it’s definitely time to turn the tables. No, we don’t mean taking all those plants outdoors, but simply bringing the essence of soft, comfy seating from your living room to the patio.
There was a time not too long ago when outdoor furniture options were only bare-bones furniture that could withstand the elements. But now, no more carting cushions inside and back outside every time you want to soak up some sun. Thanks to improved materials and finishes, there are fabrics that combine the softness of plush upholstery with the sturdiness of plastic. Choose wisely and you could have a sofa that can rival the one in your living room, out there in the sunshine.
Rattan is going strong
A poolside deck furniture idea that’s been popular since the 1960s, rattan has been synonymous with outdoor furniture and the good news is – it’s still going strong. After all, it’s biodegradable, light-weight and sturdy, so what more do you need from a piece that’s built to survive changing weather conditions? Although rattan is often confused with wicker, rattan actually refers to a natural material that’s used to make furniture, while wicker refers to the weaving technique. So technically, a variety of materials like bamboo, reed, rattan and even plastic fibres can be used to make wicker furniture.
Trends predict it’s the darker rattan pieces that are in vogue now, with shades like dark oak and slate finding prominence in the style pages. So if you have some natural finish rattan lying around, a wash of dark paint is all it’ll take to get it on trend and ready for your patio.
Work, dine and play outdoors
If you’re setting up your outdoor space from scratch, opt to invest in a dining set instead of a sofa – unless you have enough space for both, that is. An outdoor table decor arrangement is great to ensure you can have meals outside, and even have it double-up as a workspace.
Pro tip: the best filter to hide those stress lines and eye bags is natural sunshine – so take your work calls al fresco, and you’ll get some Vitamin D while you’re at it. Choose a sturdy teak table or a metal one for an industrial look and don’t be afraid to mix materials for a stylish finish, think a wooden table top with metal legs and metal chairs with cushions.
So, whatever you envision for your little piece of outdoors this summer, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found that goes beyond the regular garden bench ideas. Of course, whatever you choose, don’t forget to add cushions in a multitude of colours and slather on the sunscreen.
PS: Before you go, here’s a handy list of Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind while caring for your outdoor furniture!