Tips for the Perfect Outdoor Room

Even though we are heading into winter here, I still enjoy having my morning coffee and or breakfast out the back in the sunshine, it’s a lovely way to start the day, though often difficult to make myself head back inside and get started on work… This morning while I enjoyed my coffee I started daydreaming about what I could do with the space if I had unlimited funds, and so my mind began to wander… To be honest, I know a lot of friends would say ‘you don’t need to do anything with your backyard Rochelle, it looks fine!’ but I am a designer, so hey, of course I like to dream… Perhaps they would agree that the outdoor setting is starting to look a little aged?

For those of you heading into the warmer months, perhaps you have been looking at your outdoor entertaining area and been wondering what you could do to freshen it up, and just because we’re in the southern hemisphere doesn’t mean we can’t be thinking about outdoor entertaining! Might just need a cozy fire and some woolen blankets to rug up in on those chilly winter evenings. There are a few key things you need to consider when planning your outdoor space, and as with any space it all comes down to personal taste and how you want to use the space. So I’ve put together a few simple guidelines, tips and ideas with plenty of inspiring photos to help get you started on your own perfect Outdoor Room.


1. Choose Your Style

Before you get too excited and start selecting your outdoor pieces, it is important to have a clear vision in mind of what you are wanting to achieve. This is always the first step of any project inside or out, as it will be the key to the project and as long as you continue to refer back to it, it will help ensure you achieve what you are aiming to at the end. Do you want the space to have a modern, french, english cottage, Balinese, mexican or industrial feel, just name a few… Are you drawn to straight lines or curves, simple or busy, structured or flowing spaces?

via – Home Klondike

via – Habitat Design

via – La Dolce Vita


 2. What are your needs and wants?

 This is where you need to be realistic about what you are wanting to achieve… You might really want an outdoor setting to sit 12, but the reality may be that you only have a small courtyard to work with, or you may dream of a complete outdoor setting designed by say Patricia Urquiola, when unfortunately you may only be able to afford one of her chairs… Consider how you use the space, and how many people you usually entertain in the space, do you want a dining table to sit at or would you prefer a comfortable outdoor sofa to relax on, or if you are lucky maybe you have room for both! Also don’t forget to consider what time of day you will be using the space the most, and consider where the sun is at different times of day and also what sort of lighting you may need at night.

via – Coco+ Kelly

via – Mala Fashion


 via – HGTV


3. How much Colour?

When deciding on colours that will work in your outdoor space, make sure you refer back to the style you decided on at the beginning, as this will help steer you in the right direction. You may want lots of colour or you may want very little, one thing to consider are the plants in your garden. If you have a lot of colourful flowers in your garden you may want to keep the furniture items neutral and stick to timbers, black or white, or then again you may want to highlight these existing colours by adding colourful scatter cushions or chairs. Generally sticking to 2-4 colours is a good rule of thumb and will help avoid getting too mismatched and busy.

via – House and Garden

via – Tumblr

via – the Design Files


With these 3 key points decided, it’s time to start shopping, or restoring your existing outdoor furniture! The last couple of things to consider while you are out looking for furniture is whether the furniture is going to be under cover, slightly protected or fully exposed to the elements. Be sure to ask the sales staff if the furniture you are looking at is suitable for the location you are planning, you don’t want to be disappointed in 12 months time when it’s already showing wear and tear if it wasn’t designed to be fully exposed to the elements. Also check if the cushions are designed to be left outside, or if they are meant to be bought in when it rains, and then consider where are you going to store them when not in use? And finally, when it comes to timber, take note that timber changes colour as it ages… You can choose to let it fade to a silvery grey (like the timber decking in the last picture) or you will need to regularly maintain it with oil to keep the natural colour.


If you are not able to purchase a brand new setting, there are still many ways you can freshen up your existing settings without needing to spend a lot. A little bit of TLC to existing furniture works a treat, whether it be stripping back and re-oiling a timber setting, a fresh coat of paint in a bold new colour, or simply adding the smaller finishing touches such as cushions, colourful pots or some lighting – be it fairy lights or mason jars with tea lights. Maybe spend your money on a new drinks tray and an outdoor dinner set ready for when guests come over, with coordinating plates cups and napkins, I’m always amazed at what a difference a well-coordinated table setting can make to a dinner party. Check out the local op shops and vintage stores for some unique finds, or even ask around friends and family if they have any old outdoor furniture items they no longer want that just need a little attention.  If you’ve got a handy man around the house or feeling pretty clever yourself, you could even have a go at making your very own custom bench seat, cushions and all?


So what would you change in your backyard if you had unlimited funds? I know exactly what I would do with ours… I am in love with all the built-in bench seats and colourful scatter cushions, so would have to have one of them wrapping around in front of the hedge, with a striped seat cushion and lots of clashing patterns. A new timber and steel style dining table with bright pressed metal chairs would be perfect! Our garden is mainly greenery, so some timber and colour would go nicely, oooh and I would love a Patricia Urquiola hanging chair in the corner on the grass… A girl can dream, right?

 via – Apartment Therapy


Rochelle xx

3 thoughts on “Tips for the Perfect Outdoor Room

  1. These are all great tips Rochelle! I always love dining alfresco and the perfect setting is all about making it a comfortable space for you and your friends to relax in. I owe you an email too, I’m just so far behind in my inbox! xx

    1. Thanks Rachel, if only I could put my advice to good use… But I’m happy to keep dreaming for now!
      Glad you dropped by, I completely understand trying to play catch-up, no hurry with the email
      R xx

  2. This images are SO inspiring! How fab would it be to lounge around in one of these spaces???? Too bad my weather is either too hot or too cold to dine alfresco, we only have a handful of patio worthy days, but we savor them 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s