Q: How Should I Decorate My Outdoor Spaces?
It's a distinct home design trend today to set up "outdoor rooms." This podcast episode explores the huge movement to bring the indoors outside and to colonize lawns, gardens, and yards with additional living and entertaining space. Nicola and Irwin, our Design2Share Q&A co-hosts, offer their usual nuggets of wisdom and opinionated barbs as they tackle how to determine the function of different outdoor spaces, how to define outdoor rooms with a variety of landscaping and hardscaping materials, what furniture and features define today's outdoor spaces, how to accessorize the great outdoors, tips on when and where to shop for good outdoor buys, and the importance of outdoor lighting and other details. And there's even a tip on decorating with mosquito netting!
Calling All Garden Buffs & Yard Jockeys!
We're biased, but we highly recommend the new Design2Share book by Anthony Chiffolo, My Garden Photos, on great garden photography tips. You work hard to get your garden, yard, pool, patio, and outdoor rooms looking beautiful throughout the warm weather months; now you need to learn how to photograph your hard work to maximum advantage.
Here are some beautiful photos from Anthony's garden which he would like to share with the D2S community:
Why do people select outdoor furniture in complete sets that all match? We don't do that with our interior rooms - otherwise we'd look like something out of the styled rooms of a furniture catalog. It's unthinkable to choose your sofa, club chairs, dining chairs, and tables all in the same material or style.
When choosing outdoor furnishings, try the eclectic approach. Try a teak table with metal chairs (like the amazing Forest Chairs, aluminum stacking chairs from the Cafe Janus Collection at Janus et Cie, in photo above), then work in woven faux wicker club chairs from Restoration Hardware or Frontgate and some great traditional style wicker furniture (we love the traditional wicker Belvoir Collection from Lloyd Loom of Spalding; see below).
Dedon has whimsical Slim Line DDC Collection lounge chairs from designer Jean-Marie Massaud, with imaginative faux woven wicker patterns (pictured in Marseille and Edinburgh, respectively, in the photos below). If you use outdoor fabrics, invest in furniture covers to protect even weatherproof furniture from rain. You'll also need to cover your furniture if you don't have indoor storage space and your home is in a four-season area.
Don't try to recreate your interior furnishings scheme outdoors by adding outdoor floor lamps and area rugs. This isn't necessary at all. We prefer seeing natural materials like stone and decking underfoot in our outdoor rooms, but by all means use outdoor rugs to cover flooring that is badly cracked or stained.
When you're looking at colors, don't automatically default to beige or sand for your color scheme! Choose a striped umbrella (see the Janus et Cie umbrellas, at right) and use the stripes to coordinate the rest of your furnishings. All schemes should be carried out to your outdoor furniture, dinnerware and serving pieces, and even the flowers in nearby planters.
With outdoor lighting, go with down lights or lighting with shades. Bare bulbs attract insects and the glare is harsh on the eyes. Candlelight is optimum, and if you can use citronella candles, they'll provide a beautiful light and naturally keep insects at bay. We love the Lotus Hurricane Lanterns and Lotus Hurricane Lantern Minis from Design House Stockholm. Hang them from pergolas and tree branches and place them on outdoor tables and walls - and on steps and along walkways as luminaries. Stunning. (See photos below for styles in grey, white, and black; the full-size lanterns hold regular tapers and the minis are made for tea lights and votives).