This summer’s must-haves for creating inviting outdoor retreats
This summer, designers aren’t just catering to our love of dining and lounging outdoors, they’re helping us in our quest to bring all the comforts and style of indoors outside with furniture, soft furnishing and fittings that combine the latest looks and weather-resistant materials.
Furnishing an area of your lawn, patio, balcony or verandah in a similar style to your interior creates a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors and increases your home’s liveable footprint, which means more space to relax, dine, entertain family and friends, and enjoy future staycations.
Let’s go retro!
Many of this season’s outdoor lounges, armchairs, dining suites, sun lounges, day beds and retro hanging egg chairs combine the best of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, featuring clean, curved and straight lines, low-set, generous frames, and tropical, abstract and geometric prints. Modern materials include weather-resistant synthetic timber, rattan, wicker, rope and cord, treated timbers that retain natural hues and grain, toughened glass, rust-resistant aluminium, and durable UV and mould-resistant fabrics.
Natural or synthetic rattan and wicker furniture?
Rattan and wicker furniture look similar but have their differences. Traditionally, rattan furniture is made from the woven fibres of climbing palms while wicker furniture is fashioned from the inner core of the rattan fibre as well as willow branches, reeds and bamboo.
Today’s synthetic rattan and wicker furniture has the look, strength and flexibility of natural fibre designs but as they are made from polyethylene (PE) or paper-wrapped wire, as in Lloyd Loom designs, they are UV, mildew and moisture resistant and low maintenance (so low, in fact, that all is required is wiping down with a damp cloth and mild soapy water; blasting furniture with hose water may loosen fibres and embed grit). Most rattan and wicker furniture is made using lightweight, strong and rust-proof aluminium frames and Australian online retailer Outdoor Living Direct recommends to buy pieces made from narrow, round weave polypropylene rather than flat weave polyethylene, as they are sturdier and longer lasting.
2018’s trends and must-have looks for stylish outdoor dining and lounging
- Combinations of natural or synthetic timber, rattan, wicker and matte-finish metals
- Low-set, i.e. low to the ground, lounges, armchairs and coffee tables with curved or straight sleek lines and no detailing
- Generous-sized upholstered lounges and armchairs that are sturdy but lightweight
- Natural or synthetic rattan and wicker furniture with metal or timber frames (Freedom Furniture calls it polywicker!)
- Open-weave woven seating made from natural and synthetic weather-proof cord and rope
- Contrasting light and dark; for example, chairs with dark grey metal frames and white or light-coloured seating, or dark-coloured furniture with light-coloured pavers, tiles and exterior walls
- Stone and concrete-look furniture made from durable, weather-resistant composites materials such as Fiberstone, a blend of glass, polyester resins and aggregate materials, or the heavier, extra-tough Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) manufactured from cement, glass fibres and resins
- Bar-style dining stools and narrow tables
- Luxe look marble or faux marble topped coffee tables and outdoor kitchen benchtops
- Outdoor rugs to define an outdoor area, introduce colour and pattern, protect the floors, and create a soft feel underfoot in durable, weather-resistant and easy-to-clean flat weave and low pile natural fibres or heat-set polypropylene (often made from recycled plastics)
- Outdoor scatter cushions in UV, moisture and mould-resistant fabrics
- Retro, Hamptons and nautical-style outdoor lights with soft-light globes including wall-hugging bunkers, luxe-look glass encased wall sconces, and rattan glass and antique metal pendants from Beacon Lighting
- Finishing décor pieces in retro designs or natural hues and materials including bowls, candles, trays, pots and planter boxes, and PE rattan magazine racks
- Outdoor fans in stylish designs such as Beacon Lighting’s Rattan ceiling fan by HPM
- Cantilevered or retro-style upright outdoor umbrellas in weather-resistant fabric for providing much-needed shade