Be guided by your interiors in choosing outdoor furniture
The placement of your interiors is the first thing to look at before choosing outdoor furnishings. If your internal dining area opens directly onto the patio, it makes no sense to double up on dining tables. Instead, choose a pair of lovely lounges, so guests can dine inside with doors wide open to the evening breeze, then make a smooth postprandial transition outside to enjoy an after dinner drink in the lounge zone.
Look also to the style of the interiors, choosing outdoor furniture that reflect your style to give the whole space a good sense of flow. As a bonus, this also makes it easier to style up the space with accessories from inside. Bring out throws, your favourite cushions, even side tables – anything that can be easily lifted outside to make the space more cosy, then packed away afterwards.
What do you need from your furniture?
This refers to how you want your outdoor furniture to work with your interiors (as discussed above), but also how much flexibility you need. You might want a table in the centre of the courtyard that can be easily moved aside when the kids want to play; or a lounge setting that can be moved from a shady corner to a sunnier spot in winter. The more flexibility you need, the more you might want to look at lightweight pieces and lean away from built-in furnishings.
How much space do you have to play with?
The proportions of the space are a major factor to consider before going shopping. If the space is large, it can probably handle a traditional, rustic teak setting, if that’s what you have your eye on. But smaller gardens are better suited to lightweight furniture in on-trend powder-coated aluminium and woven materials – not only is this physically lighter and easier to move around as needed, it’s also visually less obtrusive. It’s an effective designer’s trick to use furniture you can see through (like an open weave or a sofa raised on legs) to make a space feel larger. Also make sure you have enough room around your furniture to easily push out dining chairs and move through the area easily.
Take inspiration from the garden
Look at the style and colour palette of the landscaping and use this to help you choose the appropriate furnishings – whether the garden is formal or soft with loosely defined boundaries, in a gentle palette of muted hues or something starker and more sharply contemporary. The good news is that the available selection of outdoor furniture in Australia has increased dramatically, making it far easier to find the perfect complement for your particular space.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match
Rather than outfitting your backyard in furniture from just one brand or just one range, we’re now encouraging clients to pick complementary pieces from different ranges to give their outdoors an eclectic, personality-packed feel. It’s an opportunity to play with different colours, styles and materials, picking pieces that work well together to create a space that feels less like a furniture showroom and more like a home. Make sure you take time in the store to sit in the lounges and chairs so you are assured they are comfortable.