Stylish, comfy and inviting outdoor furniture is a must to help you take full advantage of the warmer weather. Here, four experts tell CY CLAYTON their top tips for choosing alfresco furnishings, and the hot trends to update your outdoor living space this season.
SARAH LAMBKIN Freedom
Ms Lambkin said the trend for outdoor spaces that flow on seamlessly from inside the house was stronger than ever.
“The veranda or patio is becoming an extra room in the house and customers are looking to take the design elements from the indoor dining and living, outdoors, ” she said. “Australians spend so much time outdoors, so this is key space for entertaining and enjoying the seemingly endless summer.”
Ms Lambkin said outdoor sofas were increasingly popular, part of a shift towards more casual alfresco entertaining.
When it came to trends, timber was ever-popular. “Timber furniture is always timeless, so for this season we have combined the beauty of teak with a cast aluminium frame to create the simple but elegant Adelphi dining setting, ” she said.
“The trends are for functional but beautiful pieces that create the perfect background for easy outdoor living.”
KATIE ROWLEY Eco Outdoor
According to Osborne Park alfresco furniture specialists Eco Outdoor, oversized pieces are a key trend, particularly luxurious oversized sofas.
“We’re seeing a shift to large oversized outdoor furniture pieces this summer season, ” Ms Rowley said. “Modular sofas, such as the Ord and Watego are also incredibly popular. Their modular configuration means you can make them as small or large as you like, and you can continue to rearrange them when you’re home, allowing you to freshen up your outdoor space as often as you like.”
Ms Rowley said natural materials were also trending, such as teak and linens — the latter being a perfect fabric for use outdoors as it was extremely hard-wearing. “(Most people) expect a linen to be fragile but in fact it’s really strong and is great for the outdoors, ” she said.
When shopping for outdoor furnishings, Ms Rowley said it was important to look for quality.
“The Australian outdoors is a harsh environment; so when you’re considering how much to spend on an outdoor setting one of the key things to think about is the quality of the componentry — things like good-quality timber such as teak, 304 premium-grade stainless steel and fabrics that have been made specifically with the outdoors in mind, ” she said.
“There are things like quick-dry foam for outdoor cushions which resist mildew and mould, it’s these kinds of componentry areas that really make a difference when you invest in a quality setting.”
ANNA STAFFORD Watergarden Warehouse
Ms Stafford, co-owner of Watergarden Warehouse in Osborne Park, said some of the biggest trends in outdoor living this season included polished concrete-look furniture and planter pots, and illuminated pieces with in-built lighting, such as the Paloma range of light spheres and planters.
Vertical gardens were also still going strong, as was the trend for succulents and cacti. “They’re so easy to grow and have stunning colours and shapes, ” she said.
For a quick way to update your garden, Ms Stafford suggested picking up some festoon or string lights.
“I love the festive look of our Seletti outdoor lights, ” she said. “(They are) a quick and easy way to liven up an outdoor area, big or small.”
Another simple and cost-effective way to restyle your courtyard, patio or balcony, recycled compressed hardwood screens were perfect for screening unsightly areas.
TRIANA ODONE King Furniture
Ms Odone, national sales and merchandising manager for King Furniture, which has a showroom in Nedlands, said that a balance of durability, style and comfort should be the goal when selecting outdoor furniture.
“Advances in outdoor materials and fabrics mean there is no need to sacrifice style and comfort for durability, ” she said.
“A new setting should look good and feel luxurious, transforming outdoor spaces into desirable places to live and lounge.”
First, think about how you will primarily use it — alfresco dining, weekend relaxing, or family and friend get-togethers, for example — and look for products designed for outdoor conditions. “The best outdoor furniture is completely constructed using marine-grade materials, which can withstand temperature fluctuations, salt water, wind and rain and offers superior corrosion resistance, ” Ms Odone said. “Waterproof cushion covers, vents in seating and meshed storage areas also help to release water from rain and poolside splashes to prevent mildew.”
Outdoor fabrics should also be long-lasting and low-maintenance.
“Look for fabrics containing UV stabilisers as they will resist fading from sunlight, ” Ms Odone said.
“This also assists in water repellency, allowing water drops to run off the surface and prevent soaking through fibres; making it quick to dry.
“Materials that are coloured all the way through, rather than coated on the surface, will look new for longer with minimal maintenance.”
TIP: If you’re looking to freshen up your space — outdoor cushions, lanterns and planters are a great way of injecting colour and a fresh new look to your alfresco area. Sarah Lambkin, Freedom.
IMAGE: Eco Outdoor via www.ecooutdoor.com.au
© The West Australian
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