As the mercury rises, take advantage with these tips for creating a cosy and chic alfresco space …
Have you seen the weather forecast? The mercury is set to rise this weekend. When that happens, the common experience is that we all clamber outdoors, panicked, trying to spruce up the back garden to be enjoyed on summer days. If you haven’t done anything to prep your outdoor space for the summer yet don’t worry. The main focus right now is all about an eye-catching dining table that brings your home style to the deck, or the patio. See below for a guide to chic alfresco dining.
Main image: Instagram @gretabellamacina.
“Never before has the word ‘cosy’ been associated with the garden,” says Jonny Brierley of Moda Furnishings. “Now, however, people want to give their garden a cosy feel, making it an extension of their homes. With the introduction of softer outdoor-use upholstery, lighting, accessories and even fire pits, people are applying the same interest in the design of their homes to the design of their gardens.”
Just as popular as bringing the outdoors in is the idea of extending your interior style beyond the back door. In other words, the back garden –particularly the dining area – is treated like another room in the house. The easiest way to achieve this is with soft furnishings. Go the extra mile with a throw pillow that has a unique ruffle, lean into classic Hamptons blue and Nantucket stripes for blankets; better yet nod to the homespun trend taking over the interiors world and keep a quilt on hand for when the evenings become chilly.
Chequered Irish linen napkins, €120 for a set of six; www.signature-editions.ie.
Beeswax twist candles, €4 for two; www.centrepiece.ie.
Picasso earthenware jug, €59.99; www.zarahome.com.
invest in lighting
If you are creating an outdoor dining area from scratch, bear in mind the practicalities; where you’re positioning essentials such as bins, storage – even plug sockets. “Creating a layered lighting plan for your exterior design is a top priority for the transition to evening entertainment,” says Aisling Wilson of Clonskeagh-based Ash Wilson Design, who created this Hamptons-style outdoor kitchen for a new build in Co Meath. “Within our outdoor kitchen lighting plan, we used spot lighting within the roof structure combined with feature wall lights.”
If you’re bringing lighting into an existing structure, choose pieces that can be layered to great effect. For instance, low-cost pontoon lights can be strung over a dining area, and offset by lower-set lanterns and outdoor tea lights.
Up until now, cordless or rechargeable lamps were either cumbersome or eye-wateringly expensive. Thankfully, purveyors of chic lamps Pooky has come to the rescue with a new collection designed in collaboration with Matthew Williamson. There’s nothing more au courant than using a brass lamp with a decadent shade to elevate an outdoor dining table.
Phileas rechargable lamp base, €136.26; www.pooky.com.
Nail the basics
Think of the foundations of your alfresco dining area – chairs, a table, a decent umbrella. These are the building blocks of your outdoor room, so they’re worth getting right. A stand-out umbrella that’s prettier than your average may seem a little spendy but will yield dividends for summers to come.
Cotton-fringed umbrella, Business & Pleasure, €355; www.anthropologie.com.
Palissade lounge chair, Hay, €451.51; www.wearemaven.co.uk.
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