Beautiful Outdoor Rooms
With spring on the horizon, it's soon going to be that time of year when the days are long and the weather is warm and we spend a lot of time outdoors in the garden. It's time to look at getting your outdoor space ready for entertaining, or just for summer relaxation.
Relax on the Balcony
It doesn't need to be a large space to set up a romantic terrace or a place to relax during the hot summer to soak up the sun.
When the area is small, it's important to decide how the space will be used; will it be a place to sit and relax, or do you want to set up a small dining area for meals outdoors? Once you know what needs to squeeze onto the balcony, you can maximise the space and buy furniture that fits.
Shop wisely for pieces that are practical for your balcony. Make sure that chairs or tables don't take up too much space - with little left over to move around - and possibly look for furniture that folds up when not in use.
Avoid making the space appear too cluttered by choosing a neutral colour palette, and adding a splash of bold colour here and there with accent pieces, cushions, or a colourful outdoor-suitable rug.
Adding accessories is an affordable and easy way to make an outdoor space feel more personal and an extension of your indoor living area. And don't forget to introduce greenery. Balconies can be quite sterile if they don't overlook gardens - a few potted plants or small containers will make all the difference.
If the balcony receives a lot of sunlight, you will want to factor in a shade umbrella, canopy or blind/screen that allows you to add some shade during the hot, summer months. We know how punishing the summer sun can be.
Dine on the Deck
If you're thinking of adding a deck, try to make it large enough to facilitate as both an extra living and dining area. Making full use of any available space to incorporate a dining and lounge area not only adds value to a home, it also greatly enhances your lifestyle, allowing you to spend more time outdoors in cool breezes when the temperature starts to rise.
Comfort is an important factor when setting up an outdoor space. Furniture should not only look good - it should be comfortable too, especially if you want to make the most of your outdoor living area. Furniture should also be durable and be able to withstand the elements if left outdoors. If you plan of making your own outdoor furniture, undertake regular maintenance to keep it looking good and for it to last a long time - and upholster furniture with outdoor fabrics that won't fade as fast as regular fabrics.
Whatever the size of your deck, it's the finishing touches that make all the difference. Curtains, drapes or a simple window treatment to hang from ceilings create a wonderful atmosphere and an almost seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. Hanging curtains is also an easy way to provide shade for a deck or patio.
For South Africans a patio is an essential part of a home. It's a place where we relax outdoors with family and friends, where we set up the braai, and where we cool down during the hot summer months. Some homeowners are fortunate enough to have generously sized outdoor spaces, and these can present their own special kinds of design challenges - it can be difficult to find furniture that isn't dwarfed by the size of the outdoor area.
If you have an outdoor space that can easily accommodate a living and dining room space with room to spare, and you're unsure of how to properly fill out the space, take your cues from your indoor living area - designing a space that serves as a retreat.