A well-designed patio is an invitation to enjoy the great outdoors in your own backyard. Whether you use it for cooking, dining, relaxing, entertaining or gardening – or all of the above – a patio should marry the flair of interior design with the themes of outdoor life. We spoke to a couple of outdoor specialists exhibiting, at Decorex Cape Town for some inspired advice for creating dynamic open-air rooms that are both beautiful and usable.
1/ Look to the garden…
In addition to planning your patio, also think about how you move into, through and out of it, to the areas beyond, say the team at Patio Warehouse. Sometimes spaces are adjacent, such as a patio that flows from a living room, but other times they must be connected by pathways – how these paths are designed says a lot about their purpose. Whether you move from the house to the patio or from the patio to a path, these transitional spaces deserve special attention as they help set a mood and tone for the whole the landscape.
2/ …But take the inside out
As the line between indoor and outdoor living spaces continues to blur so the importance of creating fluidity between the home and the patio intensifies. The patios of today are spaces that invite gathering, entertaining, and relaxing – in other words, they are for living. Viewing the patio as an additional room, not only expands the space of the home, but also creates a seamless flow between inside and out. To do this, extend the interior palette and decorating style beyond the living-room doors, borrowing liberally from its decorating elements. Even a chandelier or elegant oak furniture from reclaimed wine barrels, can live both inside and outside, say the talented team from Vinwood.
3/ Amp up the colour
Just because your patio is in the backyard doesn’t mean everything out there has to be bland beige or forest green. Ditch the plain wood finish for a picnic table with a lick of bold aqua, magenta or chartreuse, then set it with patterned dishes and contrasting napkins for a riot of colour. Outdoor fabrics have come a long way from the wishy-washy canvasses of old, while new spray paints meant specifically for plastics signal bold new life for lawn chairs. For a finishing flourish, pot it pretty by mixing clashing plant hues in kaleidoscopically coloured containers.
4/ Or go with modern monochromes
If clean lines and contemporary neutrals are more your thing, a high-contrast combination of classic black and white can’t help but add panache to your porch. Against an all-white washed-wood backdrop, lightweight weatherproof furnishings with sculptural silhouettes add an unexpected masculinity to the traditional beach-chic aesthetic. The driftwood effect on decking is easily achieved with today’s high-quality outdoor paints, while a durable clear sealant will ensure the look maintains its timeless appeal for years to come.
5/ Then, mirror the effect
Mirrors are a fabulous way to make any room look larger, lighter and brighter – and they work just as well outdoors. These light-reflecting beauties introduce a level of whimsy to a patio, not to mention create the allusion that there is a way through to another garden. Choose a frame to match the existing décor of your patio or even your window frames, suggesting that the mirror is in fact part of an extension to the house. And keep the element of surprise by positioning the mirror to make sure your own reflection isn’t staring back at you.