Design Ideas for Stylish and Functional Outdoor Spaces

  • Creating outdoor spaces that expand your home's functional and living areas, while also improving the aesthetic appeal of your lawn, landscaped garden, pool area or backyard is now becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. It not only increases your living space and enhances your enjoyment of outdoor relaxation and social activities, it also creates a good impression with visiting friends and guests. However, not all people find it easy to select the right outdoor garden furniture or position them accordingly to make the best of challenging spaces. If you don't know where to start or how to go about decorating your outdoor areas, here are some design tips and ideas that might come in handy.

    1. Match the material of your furniture pieces with the theme you are going for.
    Outdoor furniture comes in a variety of materials, from wood, willow, bamboo, rattan and other natural plant materials, to metals such as wrought iron and aluminum, to synthetic ones such as resin and PVC or other plastics. In choosing the material of your furniture pieces, it's helpful to keep in mind the kind of look or mood you want your outdoor spaces to carry. If you want a traditional, homey, or rustic look, wood such as teak cut into chunky furniture pieces can complete your garden landscapes. For a breezy, tropical feel, wicker rattan furniture would be your best bets. If you prefer a classic, vintage-looking or French-inspired style, go for intricately designed wrought iron pieces such as small painted metal chairs with charming curves. If your home's architecture and interiors are more streamlined and contemporary in design, opt for aluminum or high-grade plastic pieces in modern styles to complement your home's overall look.

    2. Have a focal point.
    In interior design, a focal point is needed to serve as the anchor for many of the furniture pieces inside a certain room. In designing outdoor spaces, it's a good idea to have a focal point as well, to foster a sense of wholeness and organization among your outdoor furniture pieces. A focal point may be something already existing and stationary in your outdoor area, such as a tree, a backyard pool, a warm fire pit, or a fountain established as part of a landscaping design. Other instances, a focal point may be a piece of furniture itself, such as an attractive sofa, a circular daybed, or an interestingly designed coffee table. If you want to be more unique and inspire a feeling of playfulness, set up a swing as the focal point of your garden. A freestanding swing made of wood or copper positioned in a central spot is a delightful way to create focus in your outdoor spaces.

    3. Add cushions, pillows or shawls to your outdoor chairs and lounges.
    Furniture accessories in the form of cushions, pillows and shawls are a great way to add color to your outdoor lounging areas, especially when you want to coordinate your outdoor color scheme with that of your interiors. Throw on a couple of shawls in rich colors and interesting patterns over a rattan chair or hammock to create a modish look. Also, using cushions and accent pillows over cane seats not only improve their visual appeal, but also prevents sagging by distributing a sitter's weight more evenly.