For many of us in NZ, seven intense weeks at home has instilled a newfound appreciation of how much our outdoor living contributes to our overall enjoyment of home life.

Based on the wave of post-lockdown enquiries I’ve received, it seems that many of you have found your outside living space underwhelming and are now motivated to begin its transformation.

If this sounds like you, here are 6 ‘Get and Forgets’ to bring you up to speed in the world of outdoor styling for 2020/21.

1. Get: Warm. Forget: Cool  

This season,  you’ll see the resurgence of warmer tones like taupe, terracotta, and cream.  Grey doesn’t disappear but it will share the spotlight. The industrial look of stone and granite remains highly relevant but the look has evolved from being steely cool to a kinder, warmer, earthier vibe. Less cold concrete and more warm-toned timbers and tiling.

Warm replaces cool Source

Grey Aluminium Outdoor Furniture Auckland

The warm tones of corten steel Source

2. Get: Toned and Textured. Forget: Loud and Floral

There is a heavy focus on textures this season.  Cushions are textured and tonal, and outdoor rugs are chunky. Throw rugs are substantial. The better outdoor textiles are engineered for outdoor use, so you can achieve the look. 

Textures galore in 2020/21 Source 

3. Get: Natural. Forget: Plastic

White resin moulded chairs ruled for many years in outdoor living, as they were both stylish and hardwearing. However, the movement to more a natural aesthetic has meant marine-grade steel, aluminium, and wood are re-emerging as the outdoor materials of choice in outdoor furniture. 

Even the treatment of timber decking has evolved. Timber is now more likely to be left to age or silver off naturally rather than be stained a less-than-natural looking colour. 

Note: please do your homework when choosing natural wood and other natural materials for outdoor use, or read my blog about this subject 

Natural timber deck, corten steel fire pit, aluminium/steel/timber furniture Source 

4. Get: Relaxed.  Forget: Formal 

Forget buying eight matching dining chairs with your outdoor dining table. It simply looks too formal for today’s relaxed style. Keep it casual by incorporating bench seats instead. A good multi-generational solution for older guests that enjoy the back support of a chair is to introduce outdoor dining chairs on one side of the table, with benches on the other.

Effortlessly stylish casual outdoor dining in 2020/2021 Source

If you are limited in outdoor space and must choose between dining or lounging furniture, pick lounging. Casual dining is still easily achieved using your outdoor lounge furniture. It’s harder to relax whilst sitting at a dining table.

 Casually cool in Mt Eden  Source


5. Get: Permanent cover.  Forget: Temporary shade

The holy grail of outdoor living is the outdoor room. Just cast your eye back to the images above and you’ll realise what makes many of these settings so engaging is the cover above. It completes the look and is incredibly inviting.

Many of my clients are investing in permanent outdoor cover which has the dual effect of providing shade cover and creating a brand new ‘room’ in the home. I’m often told that it quickly becomes the most popular living space in the household. 

This is often achieved via a louvre system, such as Louvretec which looks beautiful and is highly functional. Selfishly, I’m always pleased when my client has a louvred system as it extends the life of their outdoor furniture and keeps it looking gorgeous longer.

Louvretec outside space living nz

Yes please to Louvretec. Source

6. Get: Real. Forget: Perfection

Remember that the intention of refreshing your outdoor living area was to create a welcoming setting to relax and enjoy each other’s company. It’s hard to relax if everything needs to look picture perfect like an unattainable Pinterest image. 

Aesthetic and design are fundamental considerations, but your space also has to be liveable.  We’re all past trying to live like an Instagram image, as we transition squarely into an era of conscious and truly authentic living. Yes, tidy up and make it pretty when guests arrive, but relax and embrace the imperfections too. 

Outside Space Family Auckland

Real life for us

Happy planning!

Kerry

Kerry is the co-owner of OutsideSpace NZ, offering a range of contemporary outdoor furniture for coastal living kiwis seeking quality product and design at an achievable price. 


Whether you want to zjoosh up your outdoor area with a few accessories or take the plunge and invest in new outdoor furniture, here’s 10 things to know about what’s trending this summer. 

1) Grey power
I love grey, and so does everyone else it seems. Grey upholstery and soft furnishings are everywhere for summer with tones ranging from Seafog to Charcoal and everything in between.  Anthracite is a new-ish frame colour popular in powder-coated aluminium furniture. It’s like a ‘gunmetal grey’ colour and is more forgiving than black. It also pairs well with timber.

grey outdoor furniture

Grey…never boring. Source

 

2) Accent cushions and textiles 
This year, accent cushions are subtle, classic and neutral. Instead of bright patterns and bold colours, the interest comes from their textures, subtle details, or slight variations in tone between cushions. TBH I can’t find any outdoor ones I like so I use indoor ones!

outdoor furniture cushions

Accent cushions’ interest comes from their textures and variations in tone between them. Source

 

3) Stylishly casual
Refreshed designs of old casual classics such as designer picnic tables are popular.  Keep it casual by pairing your dining table with bench seats rather than the requisite set of matching dining chairs (which is what our parents defer to). It looks more effortlessly stylish yet informal. 

outdoor furniture - 3 bench seats

bench seats with dining tables… casually cool.  Source

 

4) Greenery galore 
Large-leaf tropicals are an essential feature of outdoor settings. The Giant Bird of Paradise,(Strelitzia nicolai) is THE outdoor plant of the year. Install it with a beautiful conical pot and bang, you’ve updated your look for summer.  Get in touch with Danny’s Palms for your palms or Black House Creative who have the most perfect pots on offer.  Plus they offer botanic styling as well (meaning, they will match the perfect plant and pot for you).

outdoor furniture and plants

A dynamic duo- Giant Bird of Paradise in a conical pot.  Source

 

 5) Rattan, really?
Many of us haven’t recovered from the era of the Mitre 10 requisite brown square modular rattan sofa sets. However, rattan, in particular, PE rattan,  is making a comeback as a feature material for smaller pieces like occasional chairs and dining chairs. Think ‘hand-woven basketry’ rather than ‘nasty hardware store boxy’. 

rattan outdoor furniture

The return of rattan, to a point. Source

 

6) Well-rounded
Curves are everywhere …  round pouffes, round outdoor rugs, round side tables and coffee tables. Adding a round side table or a round rug is an easy way to update your outdoor space. Tip: best not to go overboard with round accents, it can look a little forced.   

outdoor liviing - little round table

Round is abound. Source

7) Where’s wood?
Teak and other types of wood are still popular but it tends to be mixed with other materials rather than being the sole material of outdoor furniture.  The look is less chunky and more ‘designer’.You’ll see it on more on walls, flooring and ceilings and less on outdoor furniture itself.

wood - outdoor furniture setting

Wood tends to be mixed with other materials for outdoor furniture. Source

 

8) Matching sets remains a no-no
You haven’t matched your handbag and shoes since the nineties. The same rule applies to your outdoor dining and lounge suites.

 

9) Materials: keep mixing it up  
As seen from every image in this blog, mixing and matching materials is still the rage.  Kiwis are pairing concrete tables with resin chairs, wood tables with steel frame chairs. Almost anything goes and it’s a great way of making your outdoor area uniquely yours. 

 

10) In the “where are they now” file
RIP….. the sun lounger. This item used to be a requisite in every outdoor space, back when the solo pastime of sunbathing was a thing. Now lounging around outside is widely recognised as a group sport and outdoor sofas and corner suites provide us with the opportunity to put our feet up and enjoy the outdoors… together. 

RIP… stainless steel outdoor furniture. This look has mostly been superseded by powder-coated aluminium/ and powder-coated steel furniture.  I am sure it will be fierce again one day, but just not this season.

Stainless steel frames have given way to powder-coated steel frames. Source

 

For me, my happy place is spending time outdoors, particularly in summer. If this blog gets you excited about summer and thinking about creating a comfortable outdoor space for you and your loved ones, then I’ve succeeded. 

Happy summer planning!

Kerry is the owner of OutsideSpace NZ, offering a range of contemporary outdoor furniture for coastal living kiwis seeking quality product and design, at an achievable price.  She believes New Zealanders can do better than buying their outdoor furniture from stores that sell lumber and paint.

She’s hoping this blog has credibility, given that she sells outdoor furniture and has an inherent bias.  Hopefully what redeems her is that she refers to trends in general and only reference products other than her own.  

So, you are already over our New Zealand winter and planning for the summer ahead which includes refreshing your outdoor living space with new outdoor furniture.  Instagram and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration, but they can lead the uninitiated down a dark path of regret if you buy into the fantasy without really thinking it through.  Avoid heartache, follow these five practical tips to help you make well-informed buying decisions.

1) Ask yourself, is it really outdoor furniture?
Have a good look. An outdoor setting doesn’t mean the furniture is built for outdoor use. This is relevant right now with the current trend in natural bamboo furniture. If this is a look you aspire to, ensure that the product is truly moisture resistant, as NZ’s damp climate is the number one enemy of bamboo. I love the look, and it works in some climates,  but I choose not to sell this material as I don’t want to disappoint my customers when it fails to live up to their expectations.

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The product description on the website for the hanging chair above  says “Made from natural rattan so best kept undercover away from rain or indoors.” source

2) Black is the new challenge
I love Pinterest images of stylish black aluminium outdoor furniture that oozes uber cool- urban -minimalist. It also fits in beautifully with the natural earthy timber outdoor architecture or Byron Bay-inspired white and black monochromatic exteriors that are so on trend at the mo’. My modern black aluminium framed ranges have been top sellers, but if my customers’ outdoor area is uncovered and south facing, black aluminium will be uncomfortable to touch in summer and I suggest they steer away from this option.

In short, avoid disappointment and make sure your outdoor living space is the right environment for the style of outdoor furniture you like.

black outdoor 2

Black aluminium framed furniture may not suit  uncovered sun-intensive areas source

3) Accent fabrics: Know the tradeoff of textiles
Those incredible textured accent cushions and interesting fabric throws look amazing on Insta. Sadly they are far from outdoor proof. By contrast, polyester outdoor fabric print cushions which are designed to dry quickly, and provide up to 500 hours of fade resistance generally aren’t great Instagram fodder as they don’t knock it out of the park in terms of style.


The accent cushions we used in this image, posted on Instagram, above are not outdoor-proof. source

By virtue of their engineering, truly sun and fade-resistant fabrics like Sunbrella®, are limited to basic colours and patterns, and are best suited as an upholstery fabric. I feature Sunbrella® as my upholstery fabric of choice for most of my furniture outdoor ranges but it’s not a very interesting fabric to use for accent cushions. For my throw cushions, I simply cheat and use indoor ones in my photo shoots ( like the image above) and in my real life as they are more inspiring. However,  I don’t keep them outside for long.

4) Be discerning about outdoor accessories
Indoor plants, metallic-look vases, paper lanterns and electric strings of uncovered bare bulbs lights strung between poles look great on Pinterest but are examples of accessories that may not actually be robust enough for 24/7 outdoor use.

If you want to replicate a highly accessorised look you’ve seen, ask yourself if you are prepared to schlep most of it in and out each day.

Example of boho-verkill that’s also not very outdoor-proof source 

5) Be prepared to substitute:
Don’t despair! You don’t need to give up completely on achieving a particular look you’ve seen, just be honest about what you’re prepared to do to get it. I’m into low maintenance living and have recently purchased some artificial bird of paradise plants for the covered outdoor area of our beach place to give us that tropical beachy look without the hassle. They look great even after weeks of us being away. The real ones certainly didn’t.

So browse away, and enjoy all those aspirational outdoor living images you pin and save as favourites. Just be discerning about what you see so you are not disappointed with the choices you make when it comes time to buy. After reading this, if you now peruse Instagram and ask yourself “Can I really live like that?”, “Does that fit our lifestyle?” “What will that look like in a year?” then I’ve done my job.

Kerry is the owner of OutsideSpace NZ, selling contemporary outdoor furniture for coastal living kiwis seeking quality product and design, at an achievable price. She only buys ranges she loves yet also suit the NZ lifestyle.

8 ways to extend your outdoor living beyond summer

We kiwis are generally ‘summer people’, and most of us are not quite prepared to say goodbye to bright sunny mornings, long days and temperate evenings lounging around outside with family and friends. I myself choose not to go gently into that cold night, so here are my tips to help you extend your outdoor living in style (that don’t require on your builder or bank manager):

1. Throw it around. Keep a few throws or small blankets easily accessible for your outdoor living area.  Fabric choices range from basic to luxurious, depending on your budget. Buy enough for all, keep them single sizes, not too bulky. The gorgeous EGE lambswool throws seen on the arm of our rope chair ticks all the boxes and is available online or in-store at Collect Living

View our Rope Furniture Range | Visit Collect Living for the lambswool throw

2. Look the part. Consider changing your summery accent cushions to ones with warmer tones and textured fabrics as it’s more inviting. I definitely cheat and pop my winter indoor cushions outside for a few hours when needed. Indoor cushions are simply more interesting with fabrics such as felt, jacquard and wool textures.  Pony Rider are a good source of cushion inspo, and some are featured on our Alfresco Outdoor Sofa below.

View our Outdoor Aluminium Sofa Suites | Click to buy the Pony Rider Cushions online

3. Heat helps. Source yourself an outdoor heater. Consider safety, portability as well as running costs when buying. Infrared heaters are cleaner, less bulky and are less costly to run than gas heaters. I like this Imus heater, a Danish-designed infrared column heater  from Mensa Heating which is soon to be available in Aus/NZ. It its under your outdoor table and is safe to touch. and but are run via electricity so you need to think about finding a power source (see image below).    

View our Outdoor Aluminium Sofa Suites | Click to view the Mensa Infrared Column Heater

4. Let there be light. On dark winter nights, warm lighting is incredibly inviting and mood-setting. There are many quick options to light your outdoor area from tea candles in jam jars to solar powered lighting.  Check out these super cool inflatable solar lanterns. (image below) Just google ‘Luci Lux’ to find NZ retailers that sell them.

Click to view the Luci Inflatable Solar Lanterns

5. Fire it up. Speaking of mood setting- if your space and circumstances allows it, an outdoor firepit is a fabulous season extender.  Don’t think it needs to be big or expensive- it doesn’t. Our humble portable firepit was purchased for approx. $149 and has been the focus of many, many evenings outdoor at the bach.     

 

6. Be on the ready: If your outdoor cushions have been packed under the box in the back shelves in the garage, you may be less motivated to pull them out on short notice. Have your outdoor essentials easily accessible. A weather proof outdoor box to store cushions and squabs is another great purchase if you’ve got the space.

 

7. Damp is a party killer. Investing in quality weather-resistant outdoor furniture is another way to extend your season of outdoor living. Water and moisture trapped in outdoor furniture makes sitting outside much less enticing so look for ranges with for Sunbrella® or Spuncrylic fabrics, as these are moisture resistant (as well as fade-resistant).

 

8. Forewarned is forearmed. If you’ve invited friends over, let them know you’ll be entertaining outside. Your guests will dress accordingly and will be less likely to politely suggest you move things inside. Those throws from tip #1 will also come in handy.

Cooler temperature and diminishing light shouldn’t be a deterrent to enjoying outdoor living in autumn and winter. Our NZ rain is an element that is simply best worked around by looking for the right opportunities and being ready to make it work.

Happy outdoor living, all year long. 

Kerry is the owner of OutsideSpace NZ, selling contemporary outdoor furniture for coastal living kiwis seeking quality product and design, at an achievable price. She only buys ranges she loves yet also suit the NZ lifestyle.

As our New Zealand winter approaches, it’s time to give your aluminium outdoor lounge suite some end-of-season lovin’ and to work out your winter storage plan.

Here’s our recommended 2-pronged approach:

1. Preparation: You’ll be a step ahead if you’ve been cleaning and maintaining your furniture regularly anyway, but be sure to give your fabric and frame an end-of-season clean. Your regime will depend on the material of your furniture.  If your set is powdercoated aluminium with quality fabric squabs, click here for a 5-step plan to cleaning and maintaining your lounge suite .  Once your outdoor cushion fabric and frame is clean and fully dry, the next step is working out your storage plan.

2. Storage: In the winter months, the best scenario is to keep your cleaned/dry outdoor furniture suite in a dry covered environment, and out of our killer sun.

At a minimum, your removable squabs and cushions should be brought inside. Spuncrylic and Sunbrella are examples of the better outdoor fabrics available that are both fade and moisture resistant. Although neither are waterproof, they are both engineered to resist moisture, mold and mildew.

If you purchased a quality set, your squabs will be made with quick drying foam or open cell foam which has pores that allow water and air to easily flow through it.  It is constructed with an antimicrobial agent that protects the foam from mold and mildew growth that can occur in the drying process. However over time, any material that is constantly wet, damp or unclean from dirt/droppings, pollen and plant material will deteriorate in appearance and integrity. In other words, leave them outdoors and exposed over winter at your peril.

outdoor_furniture_care

If your cushions are not removable or you do not have the space inside, investing in well-fitted UV and water-resistant fabric covers to protect your furniture is essential. Avoid plastic covers, as moisture will build up and lead to mildew.

You don’t want this little fella (I found him under a damp plastic tarpaulin covering a timber pile)  making himself at home on your furniture.

The two kiwi companies I trust to produce outdoor furniture covers are Stash-It (image below is their work) and also The Canvas Company. Both offer a great service, as well as a free quote to produce your covers. Simply visit their website and follow their easy instructions.

You’ll need to think about whether you want one cover per piece (easier for you but more costly)  or if you are prepared to move your set together to have one cover for your whole set.

outdoor_furniture_covers

Preventing the degradation of your outdoor furniture is better and far less expensive than cure.  There is a rule of thumb that all boat owners have heard of which is to expect to spend 10% of the purchase cost of your boat each year in its maintenance. It’s a great rule to apply to the one-time investment of outdoor furniture covers as well. 

Finally, use your outdoor furniture over winter!  Pick a nice day, pull out those squabs, and remove those covers. You and your family will be happy you did and you’ll be able to identify any ‘problem spots’ that need attention. It will make that scary moment of removing those covers in spring (after months of not thinking about it) a lot less terrifying. Just make sure it’s dry again before re-covering it.

In summary, your efforts in prepping your outdoor furniture for winter will be rewarded when you set up your outside living area again for another glorious summer.

Kerry is the owner of OutsideSpace NZ, selling contemporary outdoor furniture for coastal living kiwis seeking quality product and design, at an achievable price. She only buys ranges she loves yet also suit the NZ lifestyle.