Five Key Considerations for Creating and Styling your Outdoor Spaces

Most of us love spending time in our outdoor spaces and enjoying the relaxed and restorative vibe that they bring. A well designed outdoor space can increase the liveable space of your home and creates a space that looks great looking from inside to outside.

If you are building a new home it is great to plan your outdoor spaces from the outset. Think about what seasons and time of the day you will use these spaces. Do you need heating, wind and rain protection, shade and what furniture do you need? Will it be a dining space or a sitting space, or both? Would you like to include an outdoor kitchen?

If you are renovating, what options do you have to create an outdoor space, or do you have an existing space which needs a make over?

Five ideas on creating, styling and furnishing your outdoor spaces:

1. Creating Shelter

To increase the usability of your outdoor space it is ideal to add protection from the wind and rain. Louvred roofs and wall panels provide great flexibly and usability to your space. Some options on the market will automatically close if they sense rain.

Add heating and you have a year round outdoor room to use. A fireplace and beautiful throw creates a cosy winter space. Infrared outdoor heaters are unobtrusive and very effective.

Other options include shades, awnings and blinds.

Outdoor Louvres

2. Creating Shade

As we all know, the sun in New Zealand is particularly fierce. It is important to provide effective and flexible shade options. A wide choice of umbrellas are available, ranging from enormous to small patio ones.

Traditional umbrellas in a stand work well and also the cantilevered options which can have their angle and position changed to chase the sun around and provide all day sun protection.

Other options include shade cloths, blinds and awnings.

3. Defining the area with a Rug

If you have a larger outdoor space with dining and sitting areas, you can use a rug to provide to define the sitting area and separate the different spaces.

The outdoor rugs available are many and varied. It is important to make sure that they are UV stable and made for using outside. Most of these can be hosed down for cleaning.

Outdoor living space, dining and sitting

In a smaller outdoor space a rug can be used to frame the area

Outdoor rug and chair

4. Adding the Right Furniture

Dining tables – the size and shape of these are critical and needs to be in proportion to the space you have. Too large and it will be difficult to move around the space and sit up and down. If it is too small the space will feel unfilled and too empty.

Dining chairs – timber, timber and upholstery, bench seat

Coffee tables and side tables – concrete, timber, metal, stone; round, rectangular or square

Occasional chairs – swivel, arm chair, hanging chair

Sofas – sectional corner ones, two or three seaters

Ottomans and stools – upholstered, timber, metal, stone


5. Adding colour and texture

The use of colour and texture is what adds the finishing touches to your outdoor space.  Layer texture and colour through throws, cushions, fabrics and rugs. Texture is also provided by your hard surfaces, contrast stone with timber, or concrete and metal.  Greenery and foliage adds texture and colour to your spaces too.  Use containers, pots and plants to achieve the look you want.

Don’t hold back on colour and pattern with your accessories, these can easily be changed out for the season and when you feel like a change.

Enjoy your outdoor living spaces and enjoy adding colour and texture to them.

All images are from NM Design projects.