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Furnishing a Small Outdoor area

Furnishing a Small Outdoor area

Probably, the most important,  and one of the most expensive decisions,  you’ll make for your outdoor area, is choosing your outdoor furniture. With a small outdoorspace there are a few things you need to think carefully about: 

How will you use the space for most of the time?

  • alfresco family lunches over the weekend?
  • as a quiet place to drink your coffee before work or have a relaxing glass of wine after work?
  • as a lounge area to stretch out and read a book on a Sunday afternoon?
  • All of the above?

Be realistic : the idea of frequent weekend alfresco entertaining may sound fantastic, but how often are you really going to do that? Are you more likely to lounge outside reading a book?   Or vice versa? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that it is an either/or decision, but you really want to avoid overcrowding a small space. So,   if you are more likely to be relaxing than serving three course Sunday lunches, rather allow a little more space for a really comfy lounge chair and buy folding dining table and chairs. 

Once you've decided on the purpose there are  a few things to think about when selecting the furniture. These will maximise the space: 
1. The Silhouette of the furniture
With a small space,  you need to  avoid ‘bulk’ at all costs and look for slim, simple lines. So go for: 

  • chairs that can slide fully under tables
  • slim profile legs on tables and chairs
  • sofas and bencheswith narrow, preferably no arms, 




2. Materials that ‘open up’  your space, think  

  • wicker that has an open weave rather than compact weave
  • slatted seats  or  fabric seating  that allow light to penetrate  (Batyline andTextilene are good options) 
  • glass table tops




3. Portability of the  furniture
Finally, if the area you’re looking to furnish, is your only outdoor space, as it often is for those of us with balconies, you’ll want to think about how  you can clear some space when needed. Lets face it, sometimes we need to use the space  for  some practical activities  (drying  laundry, or doing some DIY /repairs) and its great to be able to clear a bit of space  temporarily to do this.  So, if that sounds like your situation look for :

  • Stackable  chairs
  • Folding Chairs and tables  or maybe,
  • go for two small tables instead of one big one.Two small square tables can be pushed togetherwhen needed for  entertaining, and pushed into different corners when not in use.  Or,  if you go for the right look, you can even use one indoors




Okay,  time to go shopping? Not quite. There’ s one more thing to think about:  the materials that  your furniture is made from. I’ll deal with that in my next post , and  yes, then you’ll be well prepared to go shopping!

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