The Great Outdoors

Those long days and balmy nights entice us all to enjoy the outdoors. It is well known that only a few minutes spent outdoors can significantly improve your physical and mental health thus reducing stress levels and bringing you closer to your natural surroundings. Whether you have a large terrace, a patio, or even a tiny balcony, this is the perfect time to make the most of it. Simple ideas and some practical design adjustments will make these outdoor spaces the ideal urban oasis and a joyful place to enjoy the company of family and friends.

Image Credits: Argos

Here are a few ideas to help you design your outdoor space: 


A great way to keep in touch with nature and promote a sustainable environment is to use natural materials in your design. Wood, cork, terracotta and stone are good choices  for your outdoor spaces. When selecting these however, extra care must be taken as they will need the correct characteristics to allow them to withstand weather changes and exposure to the elements. 

Image Credits: Ca pietra, Marlborough Arabesque Terracotta Floor Tile


Choosing the right type of outdoor furniture can give your patio the comfort of an indoor space. First you must consider the activity you most value in your outdoor area; is it lounging at the end of a work day or having breakfast on a sunny morning? Perhaps it is playing table games with friends? 

Good material choice is also essential for outdoor furniture as you want your investment to last a long time. Think about the durability of materials and try to steer towards designs that are timeless. Outdoor furniture pieces are prone to intensive use so investing in well-designed and durable furniture is something to keep in mind. 


Although sometimes neglected, outdoor lighting is important in creating an enjoyable atmosphere giving your evenings a cosy, welcoming glow. Outdoor spaces usually function better with subtle, indirect lighting. You can also use dimmers to control the intensity of light depending on the activities performed. For example, brighter lights for cooking and softer lights when enjoying the company of friends.

Image Credits: Lightning Direct, VIVO SOLAR LED FILAMENT FESTOON LIGHT + Fermob Outdoor Lighting, Medium Balad 25cm Lamp


Using plenty of greenery in your designs will create a welcoming environment and add an elegant touch to your outdoor space. If you have an empty wall, you can use it to create a planter wall and add your favourite flowers for a pop of colour. You can also use it to create a herb garden, combining functionality and fragrant aesthetics to your design.

Image Credits: German Sáiz. Design: Sierra + de la Higuera


As much as we enjoy time in the sun, some shade is needed to relax on hotter days. A parasol or awning are excellent additions to your design; they can create refreshing shade while introducing additional privacy to your balcony or patio. 

But outdoor areas are not exclusive to sunny days. Adding a parasol or an awning to your garden will also allow you to enjoy the outdoors under light rain.

Image Credits: East London Parasols - PINK NINA ROUND BAMBOO PARASOL


Using plenty of accessories is always a good way to reinvent your outdoor areas and add a cosy personal touch. 

Take the indoors out and use plenty of homely accessories. Pillows and rugs are a great addition to your space and a fun way to introduce colour and texture to the design. 

Don’t be afraid to play with patterns, colours and textures and make this area a fun haven for you and your family. 

Image Credits (From left to right): Scented Candle in glass holder, H&M;  Porquerolles outdoor Fabric by Camengo, Jane Clayton & Company UK;  Indu 2 Seater Metal Bench, Habitat; Waldoboro Hand-Braided Orange Rug - Wayfair; Daisy Frill Cushion - East London Parasol Company; Striped Ceramic Side Table - Urban Outfitters; GSB Bright Balcony Yellow Planters - Habitat.

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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