Transform your outside space into a social media hotspot
- Credit: PA
It’s time to prep the patio, deck or garden for al fresco living. Gabrielle Fagan reveals how to ‘wow’ in the great outdoors.
Hang your decor head in shame if you think a patio is just a space to chill and entertain - it’s way, way more.
Creating a divine deck, top terrace, or punchy patio is vital in today’s style stakes, as this is the backdrop for all those summer Insta-shots. (Cute kids, chic friends and adorable pets are optional extras!)
“The summer garden’s a homage to expressing personal style and there’s a move away from ‘matchy-matchy sets”’ says Vicky Angell, outdoor living buyer for John Lewis.
“With celebrity and ‘influencer’ homes and gardens becoming increasingly accessible through social media, people definitely want a space which impresses. It means the outdoors is becoming more of an investment space and bold statement pieces are on the rise, so it’s ready for those ‘Instagrammable’ moments.”
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Check out these top trends and buys, to transform your outdoor space into a social media ‘hot spot’ for posting and boasting...
Tell a colour story
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Make it slimline - bistro tables and chairs are on-trend and have a great minimalist feel, which is perfect for compact spaces. “Colour’s key for summer, and we’ve redesigned our Salsa collection in bold, clashing ombre patterns to make a real style statement in a space,” says Angell. “Adding cushions, lanterns and even a patterned pouffe brings a bohemian feel and will help personalise a garden.
“Perfect for small spaces, or creating ‘zones’ within a larger garden, sales of bistro sets were up 32% last year, with bright colour metal sets proving popular.”
PATIO TIP: Create a greater sense of space in a compact area with furniture made of light, hand-woven materials or wire, which have an ‘airy’ appearance. Paint a wall white and add an outdoor mirror to reflect the light.
Pimp the patio
Just a few new touches may be all it takes to give that space a lift. If there’s no room for tubs or shrubs, an artificial plant wall could be just the ticket for adding a splash of green. Import some sunshine colours with a brightly coloured chair and cushion.
Conjure a chill-out zone
Squashy sofas that wouldn’t be out of place indoors, and garden lighting to ensure the space comes alive at night, are two key features this season.
“While many people aspire to create a tranquil setting to relax and unwind, others want the perfect entertaining space, with a mix of formal dining and laid-back lounging for catching up over drinks,” says Angell.
“Outdoor cooking continues to increase, as people prefer to cook on the patio while chatting to guests. Pizza ovens are a great talking point and there’s increasing investing in outdoor cooking solutions, with those priced around £1,500 seeing a 20% increase this year.”
PATIO TIP: The trend for accessorising shows no sign of slowing down - outdoor rugs, cushions, lighting and lanterns are now ranked as essentials to luxe up a space.
Dine out style
Sticking to a colour theme works indoors and out, and grey and white’s an on-trend choice that won’t go out of fashion either. Natural materials, such as wood, will sit in harmony with the great outdoors.
Set up a space just for you
“Creating a special corner in a garden or patio area, where you can chill and relax, is key,” says Angell. “Huge on social media, shapely, inviting chairs and swings are expected to be popular this summer, with cocoon-shaped designs that work as well indoors as out.
“Hanging chairs are a great choice as additional seating for an outside space. They add a fun twist to a garden, can be enjoyed by the whole family and are really versatile.”
PATIO TIP: Vary sizes and heights of pots, to introduce interest to an area. Style a sofa with accent chairs (or a modular unit) around a central coffee table, just as you would inside.
Super smart solo seats
Spoil yourself with a special seat, where you can enjoy a break on summer days. Accessorise it with a fur throw for cooler evenings, to maximise your time in the garden.
Smarten up the space
Don’t despair if a full-on revamp is beyond the budget. A dash of flair and a coat of paint could be all that’s needed to breathe new life into a dull space, and transform it into one which is summer-smart and ready for chic entertaining.
Upcyling will gain extra eco brownie points. Unify a collection of mismatched chairs by painting them all in one shade, or use two, such as blue and white, that complement each other.
Turn an old table into a star piece by stencilling a table-top, or tile it. Create a plaster-effect wall: Annie Sloan has a brilliant Scadinavian Pink Chalk Paint which will do the job. Finally, hang plants from ceiling hooks to ‘zone’ the space - then just settle back and wait for the compliments.
PATIO TIP: Mixing indoor and outdoor natural materials will blur the boundary between indoors and outdoors. Combine rattan, wood, metal, ceramics and glass for a natural, collected feel.
Talk to the table
Just like furniture, table settings shouldn’t be too matchy-matchy either. Shake up a display by using a couple of sets together - maybe one in neon shades and another in a pattern.
A tropical leaf design, such as John Lewis’ Eddingtons Tropical Leaf range, will conjure a sultry setting no matter what the weather, and you could ramp up the lush effect by putting a large leaf or miniature cactus beside each place setting.
Melamine tableware’s so attractive these days, you’ll want to use it all year round. Choose brightly coloured ranges with exotic patterns for instant impact - and enjoy the bonus that this durable tableware is pretty well child-proof!