With longer, sunnier days on the way, we're all looking to spend more time outdoors with friends and family - so now's the time to get outdoor entertaining areas sorted. But how do you choose the right piece for your space? We've got a few hot tips to help you make the right choice when it comes to furniture and accessories.
1. Have a vision.
The first thing you need to do is look at the lifestyle aspect, and work out what it is you want your outdoor entertaining space to be. Do you want it to be a space that caters for the whole family? Is your vision an outdoor meals space, or more aimed at cocktail and coffee dates? Or are you really just after an area where you can soak up the sun with a good book in hand? This vision will determine the kind of pieces you need to create your dream area.
2. Be practical.
Yes, we'd all love an eight-seater outdoor dining setting - but with only a small courtyard, that's not going to work very well. It's really important to be mindful of styling for the space you have, and not the space you wish you had. If you have a sprawling space, choose pieces that will help to fill it and make it feel more cosy - a large dining table or a grand lounge setting might be exactly what you're after - or you could create multiple spaces by adding in a smaller setting or single hanging chair. In more intimate spaces, cleverly-chosen small settings and occasional chairs will provide comfort while leaving you room to move.
3. Create a mood.
Consider the existing elements of your space, and work around them to create a harmonious mood. Perhaps you've got some beautiful blue cushions you'd like to make a feature of - they'll likely look stunning on one of our Hamptons-inpired white, hand-woven synthetic wicker lounge settings. Or maybe you already have a timber side table - match it to a new timber lounge setting to create a rustic, Blue Mountains inspired aura. Every element of your space should work together to create a single look and feel, so always consider what else you might need in terms of styling accessories when you find your perfect furniture piece - perhaps a lantern for the coffee table, or some large feature pots to place at the end of the lounge!
4. Control the elements.
Remember - indoor furniture isn't designed to withstand sun exposure, wind or rain, and should not be used for outdoor areas. Always choose furniture that's been designed for outdoor use, as it will incorporate different fixtures and finishes that are specifically meant to aid in its longevity in the great outdoors. However, care should still be taken - when designing a space, you should always try to ensure that furniture is positioned in such a way that it's as protected as possible during all seasons. You should also consider other measures you can take to protect your furniture - see below for more care tips!
5. Be creative.
At the end of the day, it's all about creating a space that YOU love - so make sure you add your own personal touch to it! Once you've sorted out the basic elements of furniture and placement, you can get down to the business of styling. Pick coordinating outdoor cushions, candles, pots, and even servingware to create a look that reflects the season and your personality. The best bit? If your taste changes, you can create a totally different look around the same pieces of furniture, simply by changing up your accessories.
Caring for your outdoor furniture
While outdoor furniture is designed to withstand some exposure to the elements, by employing a few clever care techniques, you can prolong its life. Every Flower Power furniture piece will come with specific care instructions on the label, which you should always follow - but here are some general care tips...
- Cover up. To keep your furniture looking its best, we recommend you position it under cover, whether that's a marquee, an awning, an architectural shade cover or a large umbrella. This will help keep both sunlight and water exposure to a minimum, slowing the process of weathering.
- Oil it up. Many of our outdoor furniture pieces include unpainted timber finishes. On these parts of your furniture, you should regularly apply a timber oil. This will help to protect the finish from dirt and grime, and will also repel water while bringing the unique characteristics of the timber grain to light.
- Wax works. For our popular powder-coated aluminium surfaces, give them an occasional clean with soap and warm water, remembering to rinse off the suds with clean water to avoid any residue. You can also apply automotive wax every two to three months to protect the powder coating from the elements.
- Take it off. When chairs and lounges aren't in use, give your cushions and chairpads a holiday, too. Store them indoors in a cool, dry environment - while our outdoor cushions are water-resistant, they still prefer not to get wet - and, if needed, you can spot-clean or wash the fabric covers to freshen them up.
Browse the range
Ready to shop outdoor furniture? Check out our 2019-20 outdoor furniture range here.
Get social with us!
Have you styled your space using our outdoor furniture or accessories? We'd love to see what you've come up with! Tag us at @flowerpowergardencentres on both Facebook and Instagram, and don't forget to follow us for styling inspiration and gardening advice!