Interiors: Bring the inside out with these outdoor styling tips
PUBLISHED: 09:22 09 May 2015
In a triumph of hope over experience, we plucky Brits persist in defying our unpredictable weather, eating, socialising and relaxing alfresco as soon as there's a glimmer of sunlight.
But while we can’t guarantee good weather, it is at least possible to make a stylish and comfortable setting a dead cert, by lavishing some love on your outdoor space.
As well as the advantage of creating another ‘room’ – always welcome in our space-starved times, investing in a patio could also literally help you ‘grow’ money.
A garden can increase the value of a property by up to 20 per cent, according to research by RatedPeople.com, the UK’s largest online trade recommendation service, which also found that the majority of buyers (66 per cent) say outdoor space would be a key deciding factor when it comes to buying.
“People can always tell the difference between a house and a home, and it works the same way with a garden,” says Rated People ambassador and Location, Location, Location presenter Phil Spencer.
“Don’t be afraid to add personality to your outdoor decor and accessories – this is your space and says as much about you as your interior.
“A simple test can tell you if that space is fit for purpose: plant yourself down on your outdoor furniture and decide whether you’re as comfortable as you would be indoors, and could linger there as long over a meal or drinks. If the answer’s a resounding ‘no’, it’s time for revamp.
Choose from one of this year’s top outdoor trends...
Down to earth
Natural materials – wood and stone – are always a sound choice for a
patio, as they look more beautiful as they weather and their colour tones blend into the surroundings.
“The blurring of the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces means that entertaining is no longer confined to one area of the home, and now commonly involves using kitchen, dining and outdoor spaces to create a flow through the home,” says Nicola Gidlow, buyer for outdoor living at John Lewis.
“Furnish this space as you would an indoor room and, ideally, choose colours and prints that echo your indoor scheme. This will unify all the spaces. If you haven’t got green fingers, a collection of faux trees and plants in pots grouped around the boundary of the patio could delineate the space.”
Phil’s tip: “Consider the amount of time and care you want to give to your garden when you create it,” advises Spencer. “Shrubs and conifers add stature and texture, and can be virtually left to their own devices once you’ve prepared the soil. Similarly, weather-proof furniture, which can be left outside, is ideal if you don’t want to get involved in yearly maintenance and haven’t any winter storage.”
Whatever the weather, your patio will have a tropical twist with furniture in neon hues and playful accessories.
“This season’s tropical trend has found its way into our gardens, with bold and bright accessories leading the way” says Kate Watson, interior designer for furniture specialists, Fishpools.
“Choose two ‘key’ colours – and don’t be afraid to be bold – then complement with small splashes of accent colours to add interest.”
Lighten up and look beyond dark brown and black furniture (so yesterday!), and give a more spacious feel to even the most compact space.
“Neutral shades – white, taupe, varying shades of grey – are a strong trend this year,” says Tina Mahony, director of garden furniture company, Go Modern.
“These are natural partners with sleek, streamlined furniture, which truly turn a patio into an outdoor room. This is a contemporary, chic interpretation and can look spectacular on a light stone floor.”
Phil’s tip: “Keep it light, is the watchword for modern gardens! Nowadays, they can easily be transformed with lighting, which will make a space intriguing with spotlight areas and, crucially, more usable at night,” says Spencer.