Interior designer Shannon Vos shares his advice for designing the ultimate outdoor room.
There’s almost nothing better than sun-soaked weekends spent with friends at backyard barbecues, and with summer upon us it’s time to start planning your outdoor entertaining area. The space should feel like an extension of your interior with a complementary feel that shares the same textures, tones and finishes.
You’ll want to achieve the perfect balance of style, fun and functionality, and ensure your area can be used no matter what the weather. We caught up with interior designer Shannon Vos to get his take on essential elements and trends that are crucial when designing an outdoor space.
1. FUNCTIONAL SPACES
When it comes to outdoor design, prioritise functionality and liveability. No longer is the backyard just a place to hang the washing, instead think of your outdoor area as an extension of your living space and style accordingly. Whether that means a fully equipped kitchen (weatherproofed, of course), a dining table with ambient lighting, or cushions atop comfy outdoor lounges, make sure the area is one you’ll want to spend time in.
The entertaining area should be a multi-functional space that can be used year-round, so consider necessities such as heating and ventilation. You’ll want to feel just as at home in your backyard as you do inside your house.
Lighting is essential for creating ambience and, done right, can elevate your space and accentuate garden details so they can be seen and enjoyed from indoors. In 2020, highlighting focal points will continue being a popular trend in lighting design. Whether it be spotlighting sculptural gardens, architectural details or a distinctive rock wall, think of lighting as a way to enhance the mood.
3. BLINDS AND AWNINGS
Blinds and awnings are essential for shade and keeping your area cool throughout summer, but just as essential for trapping the heat and creating a welcoming atmosphere during the cooler months.
Ensure your outdoor blinds and awnings are designed to last against the elements. Opt for waterproof synthetic fibres that provide resistance against mould, fade and dirt. And when it comes to colour, matching the fabric of your blinds to that of your house is one trend gaining momentum, creating a seamless look.
4. OUTDOOR PLANTS
Adding greenery can liven up your entertainment area, especially if you’re working with a smaller, paved area. “Unless you have notions of days at home pampering your plants, pick hardy greenery that will require minimal upkeep,” says Shannon. Opt for low-maintenance, on-trend plants such as ferns, jasmine, devil’s ivy and succulents.
Plants are also a great way to add texture and tone to your space. Mix in some wall creepers and hanging elements with potted plants to create depth.
5. DÉCOR & ACCESSORIES
Minimalism is in for a reason – and not just because of Marie Kondo! Embrace the ‘less is more’ concept when it comes to styling your outdoor entertainment space by carefully curating decor accessories and choosing furnishings in neutral, earthy tones that complement surroundings. Cane, bamboo and rattan pieces have been popular this year for this very reason, and this is only predicted to gain momentum in 2020.
“Work with the existing environment and your outdoor spaces will feel resolved and settled,” says Shannon.