The Outdoor Room is a fundamental part of most new house designs and renovations these days. Do it right and not only can it dramatically change the way you live, relax, enjoy family time and entertain but it can also add significant value to your property. Here are a few tips on designing the Ultimate Outdoor Room.
Image by Satara, featuring the Polaris Sofa, Bedarra Coffee Table, Samera Round Side Tables & our new range of outdoor cushions
Having a plan of what you want to achieve before you start is the most important stage. Things to consider include: - how much space you have available, protection from the weather, which direction the hot afternoon sun shines, your view from inside the house, how the room will link with the indoors, Building/Planning restrictions, location of outdoor kitchen/cooking facilities, ventilation etc. Create an ideas board for inspiration by taking photos of interesting designs and textures, cut-outs from magazines, web articles etc. Pinterest and Instagram are great sources of images for inspiration.
You can spend anything from $1000 to hundreds of thousands on your outdoor room. Your budget will have a big impact on what is possible. A well designed outdoor room can add significantly to the value of your property and also to your ultimate enjoyment of the space. Don’t forget to allow money for good quality furniture and accessories to finish off the space.
Draw a scale plan (or have a landscape architect or interior designer draw one for you). On the plan work out spacing, furniture layout, direction of weather and sun. Allow enough space to move around the area. Think about lines of sight and using furniture, plants and pots as features that can be viewed from inside your house. You don’t want your neighbours peering out at you while you’re snoozing on the daybed in your bikinis or speedos so think about creating some privacy. Creating walls and defining boundaries for your outdoor room will give it better definition.
Image by E&S Trading, Featuring Satara Products [the Eden Dining Table & Shell Dining Chairs]
All too often outdoor rooms are designed and built with little thought into how the space will be used and enjoyed. The space you have available and the layout of furniture will have a major impact on your enjoyment of the room. As well as a functional use, your outdoor furniture can become a real feature so consider how it will look from the inside. If you have the room, combining an outdoor dining space with a comfortable outdoor lounge area will create a multi-functional area.
Image by Satara, Featuring The Polaris Sofa Range, Barrel Lounge Chairs, Vespa Rope Armchairs & Esperance Dining Table
If space is limited consider an outdoor sofa area with low tables for more casual dining. Another good option is to utilise your indoor dining area opening out to a more casual outdoor lounge. A large comfy Daybed is not only a magical place to relax but can be used as a key focal piece for your design.
Modular sofas are extremely popular and versatile. They can be setup in an L shape or similar for entertaining with friends or combine pieces to form a daybed to stretch out on, enjoy the sun’s rays while your better half serves the drinks.
Synthetic wicker furniture has been extremely popular over the last 5-8 years due to its attractive appearance, range of colours and designs and minimal maintenance requirements. Satara’s range of all-weather synthetic weave furniture is available in 10 colours and hundreds of different designs. The synthetic weave is treated with chemicals to stop it fading and cracking in our harsh environment. Frames are made from rust proof powder coated aluminium. Cheaper furniture generally uses thinner aluminium tube, less welds and is more susceptible to cracking and breaking over time.The first thing to consider is whether the furniture will be kept under cover, or sit out in the rain and sun. To get maximum use of your furniture you want it accessible at all times and don’t want to be moving cushions in and out of the rain. If your furniture will sit in the rain you will need to take better care of your cushions. It is worth investing in a top quality outdoor fabric such as sunbrella and quick-dry foam which won’t retain any moisture in the foam. You will also need to regularly clean and dry the cushions to stop mould and mildew growing on dirt that sits in the cushion fabric. If your cushions will get minimal exposure to rain then you probably don’t need to invest the extra money in quick-dry foam.
Image by Boutique Homes - Featuring the Loupe Dining Table, Skal Dining Chairs & Skal Bar Stools
Powder coated Aluminium framed furniture with ceramic or laminate tabletops and chairs, sofas and sunlounges made from open weave outdoor fabrics such as batyline or textiline are also popular.
When the cold months of the year roll around, many of us retreat indoors and abandon our outdoor areas until the sunshine returns, but this doesn’t have to be the case. An outdoor undercover room with protection from the weather will provide you with the ability to utilise the space all year round. Outdoor gas heaters, fire pits, electric patio heaters (heat strips), pizza ovens/Braais, clear blinds and shade awnings can all assist in maximising your enjoyment of your outdoor room.
Outdoor gas heaters come in a range of designs and sizes, they’re also easy to move around, making them a great addition to almost any outdoor space. Be sure the outdoor heater is protected from radiating heat onto your ceiling.
Fire pits provide not only warmth but also add a great open fire atmosphere. Fire pits can be portable or a permanent display, depending on your needs and space restrictions. Keep in mind smoke ventilation.
Electric strip heaters are installed on your patio roof or wall, they take up little to no space and have a sleek modern look. They are more expensive than a fire pit or a gas heater, but because they take up very little space, they are an excellent heating option if you are limited on space or if you’d prefer a subtle yet modern look to your outdoor room.
Image by Satara, Featuring the Leah Dining Chairs
Pizza ovens are another great heating options for all the foodies out there (Although the majority of the heat is retained in the oven for efficient cooking). Not only do they provide your outdoor room with radiant warmth but they also give you the option of making delicious food right in the comfort of your outdoor room. Imagine having your friends over on a cold winters night for freshly made wood fired pizzas. The smell alone is worth it. They are quite large so you do need to consider the size of your space, and the location you wish to put it in, as you’ll also have to account for the flue.
To help shield you from heat and sunlight during the summer and retain heat within your outdoor space during the colder months consider outdoor blinds. Blinds will not only keep the heat produced but they can also protect you, your guests and your furniture from the elements, be that rain, wind, harsh sun rays or bugs, making them great all year round. Outdoor Blinds now come in a variety of materials and styles, and there are even options for how they’re raised and lowered. Blinds are more stylish, modern and simple to use than ever before.
Think about places you have travelled to, holidays you’ve enjoyed, and try and add items to your outdoor room that help re-create the same feeling you experienced while away.
The world seems pretty obsessed about home improvement these days and you cannot turn on a television, open a newspaper or look at your phone without seeing a flood of imagery and information. Television shows deem interior design exciting but exhausting, with contestants of reality shows wielding paint brushes into wee hours of the morning, while Instagram makes the placement of objects and designer goods appear so achievable. But while it may seem simple and easy without training- is it? Certainly, some of us are more creatively minded than others, but it cannot be denied that professional designers and decorators bring to the table experience, knowledge and an eye that makes them worthy of their pay cheque. So when is the right time to engage a designer? And how do you go about it?
Image by Alisa & Lysandra via [www.alisaandlysandra.com.au] Featuring our Fan Bedhead
There’s no real right answer here, but knowing when to hire a professional designer is just like many other things in life. Feeling a bit out of your depth? Can’t seem to source that item you can picture in your mind? Uncertain how to re-work a space to make it more functional? These are reminders that this is not where your skill set lies. Perhaps you’re a teacher, a mechanic or accountant. Those are your areas of expertise and this is great. Just like you wouldn’t expect your student or client to know everything about your industry, you shouldn’t feel bad that you don’t know enough about design to make things work for you.
If you feel really confident about your design or decoration skills, that’s wonderful and go with it- it’s your home. However, where there is anything structural to change, consider at least chatting to a designer. They may point out something that would have been a costly mistake to change before it’s too late.
Image by Satara
Interior Design is the aspirational career of the moment and there doesn’t seem to be any lack of choice for someone looking to engage a designer. In a way, this adds to the confusion. Who should you choose to work with? In a social media savvy world, the internet is your friend. Jump online a start Googling. Check out designer’s websites and see if any work catches your eye. You can also have a spy on Instagram and follow some of the designers you come across. While you ultimately have to get along with your designer, their aesthetic is likely what will draw you in firstly.
The best way to find a designer however is just like any other service, recommendations. Has someone you know worked with a designer? Would they recommend their services to you? Having this connection is a great starting point, just as you may find your next hairdresser, doctor or gardener. When you meet with your potential designer, be ready to answer questions and have questions for them in turn. Did you feel comfortable? Do you think they “got” you? Did they seem to be clear on what you need, your budget and vision? Trust is a big part of a successful design/client relationship so take note of how you feel the meeting went. Of course, the designer needs to put their fee proposal together and their availability which has to align with your expectations, but the relationship also goes hand in hand with this.
Unsure of how to work with a designer? What will happen? How much will you have to pay? Your involvement? Unfortunately, there’s no set formula and each designer work differently. Most of the time however, you will work closely with the designer to achieve your requirements. Initial meetings may include site visits, lots of questions and sharing of ideas/ likes/ dislikes (yours and the designers). From here, a concept will be developed and the designer will present their ideas. The design development stages, which are next, include amendments and changes, possibly drawings, samples and showroom visits. This can be quick or drawn out, depending on the complexity of the project and how it plays out.
The costs involved also vary dramatically. Designers work differently and their fees will also depend on their experience, reputation and price structure. Some will offer a flat fee while others may charge hourly. Expect a high hourly rate, but within that hour, a lot can happen! Other designers will mark up furniture, accessories and fabrics from wholesale prices, making their money that way. Some charge a combination, with a fee plus their mark ups. How they intend to make their money doesn’t really matter. What does matter however is that you feel comfortable with the overall fee being changed. Be open and honest about this with the designer, they may be able to partly work within your budget if it’s outside your expectations.
If you do decide to work with a designer or decorator, enjoy the process. Make the most of the resources and knowledge of these professionals. While it may seem like something only the rich and famous can do, working with a designer can actually save you money in the long run. Consider it an investment!
Image by Henley Homes via [https://henley.com.au] Featuring our Gaspar Bar Stools & Bass Coffee Table
It can feel like everyone is designing or decorating their homes on huge budgets, especially when social media, television and magazines continually flaunt such beautiful and seemingly extravagant designs. Perhaps this is the case for some people, but it can be guaranteed that many also work within tight budgets too. Here are some of our favourite tips for designing and decorating on a budget.
Image by FlooringXtra featuring Satara Products [Aslak Sofa, Eden Cage Coffee Table, Sundial Dining Table etc.]
Sometimes it’s best to be realistic about what’s possible with the budget you have. Do you know what your budget is, or is it a vague amount you would like to stick to? Start a spreadsheet to track your costs, even placing estimates in as you get them to create a realistic budget. Somethings will be more expensive than you were expecting, while others may be a pleasant surprise. If you’re completing structural renovations or building, get your quotes happening so you can gain insight into how much things will cost. Remember to always allow for a buffer, things rarely go to plan!
If you’re working towards furnishings, accessories, art, surface treatments and soft furnishings (such as window treatments), start doing some research. Jump online and have a look at how much things cost. Are you willing to compromise on the items you really want, to get it all done at once, or would you prefer to stage the projects at different times to get what you really want albeit in a longer time frame? Once you know this, you can start allocating your money to various parts of the project. Remember to include estimates for furniture freight, installations and other extras.
Lastly, work out what’s the most important aspect of your project. If your kitchen is in dire straits, spend the money there, not on that artwork you’ve been eying off. As dull as it may sound, a functional home is money well spent. Anyways, functional can be beautiful too!
Flat Lay by Sally Caroline
Leading on from the above, think like a designer. Consider what that big old armchair would look like in a new part of the home. Or that big old armchair, how would it look with new fabric? Or even a new cushion and throw? Sometimes the simplest things really make everything feel different- and better.
Image via [www.amberinteriordesign.com]
You may be thinking you need an entirely new living room setting. What would happen if you shuffle things around a little? Maybe keep the arm chair and the coffee table and bring a new sofa, lamp and coffee table in instead? A fresh lick of paint can change everything, so to can a new statement lamp, rug or artwork. Not everything has to be done from scratch.
There are certain things which shouldn’t be driven entirely by price. In the interiors game, this would include quality appliances, tradespeople and furniture items like sofas, beds and chairs. Cheaper tiles, timber imitations and plastics also are inexpensive for a reason, you may be replacing them sooner than you would like. Smaller items, such as art, accessories, lesser used furniture pieces and anything decorative can be brought under the line. As mentioned previously, buying once is far cheaper than having to repeatedly replace something of inferior quality. Check warranties and work with suppliers and trades you trust will deliver an excellent product which will be worth the money spent.
Image by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring the Brooklyn Sofa & Noah Side Table
This can also be said for key pieces. Investing in one or two statement items in the home will have maximum impact, such as a beautiful sofa or dining table. Having these “hero” pieces will allow for other items to be more discrete and often less expensive.
There are so many great ways to give new life to things in your home that already exist. Consider your art work, instead of buying new art, try reframing. Instead of buying new cushions, see if new feather inserts give them a new look. Hunt down bargain fabrics online to reupholster chairs, sofas, dining chair seats and ottomans. Re-stain the old timber chairs or even try it yourself (if it’s not a family heirloom!). For art, try framing maps, vintage posters and flags for instant appeal.
One of the great current trends of interior design today is the mixing of old and new. It’s charming way to add character to your home in a meaningful way. Pairing new, practical and contemporary items (say, a sofa) with a vintage armchair or antique lamp equals instant appeal without any pretentiousness. It’s a fun way to create stories in your interior, collecting things as you go on your travels or grow as a family. Keep your eyes peeled for items your family may want to throw out, visit an auction house or flea market to find items which complement but contrast your more modern pieces. It’s also a cost-effective way of keeping the budget down. Invest in your key pieces, such as a new bed, but balance out the costs with mismatched bedsides, or vintage pieces.
Image by Vogue Living- Manhattan Townhouse
Image by Marij Hessel
Classic interiors will never date. Or, if they do it will take a very long time to do so! Not being a stickler to trends will help your home to feel fresh and modern for a much longer time which in the end, relates closely to money. Avoid “on trend” colours or materials and stick to classic materials, colours and designs. Perhaps this is boring? No, we don’t think so! If you fall in love with this seasons colour, go for smaller, less expensive splashes, such as cushions or a print. Replacing these in a few years will not feel so bad, rather than replacing your whole dining area furnishings.
Classic items of furniture will remain classic for a long time; they’re named that for a reason. Enlisting a professional to help guide you through finding these pieces which will stand the test of time will always be a great way to go. Remember to always be open and honest with your designer, that way they can work for you successfully and in your parameters, no matter how tight those purse strings may be.
All interior designers take time to understand the space they’re working with. They take photos, measure, observe the natural light and see what features will remain and what will go. The light is particularly important and if possible, see what the light levels are at a few different times of the day.
Start by making a sketch of the floor plan and taking some measurements. A rough drawing is fine! Is the space generous or tight? What is the focal point of the room? Is it the television, a fireplace, the view or a piece of art for example? If we know what the focal point of the room is, we can arrange the furniture accordingly. In turn, once we understand how large or small the space is, the furniture sizes become more apparent. Consider the flow around the room. You should be able to move easily around the items. A dining chair needs about 80cm clearance behind it to comfortably get in and out from the table. Smaller distances are fine between items like a coffee table and sofa. Try to imagine reaching for a book or the remote on the coffeetable from the sofa as a guide. If you’re able to, map out the furniture loosely with masking tape on the floor as a reference point.
Image via [www.movie-stars.us/floor-plan-sketch.html]
In this situation, you are your own client! Ask yourself the questions an interior designer would ask. What will happen in this space? How would you like it to feel (an important one which will set the palette)? What is your lead time and budget? Will you need to store things here? How big and how many things will you store? Do the materials and finishes need to suit a family? Pets? How many people sit around the dining table each day? What about when you entertain? Do you entertain enough to warrant a large table and chairs?
Once you start to ask these questions, limitations and parameters appear. As you know, when you start researching furniture and décor it can be very overwhelming. If you have these boundaries in place you can start to eliminate items very quickly, or refine your search.
Image by Ciara Eloise via her blog [www.ciaraeloise.com]
Yes, budgets are boring and uncomfortable to talk about. But, there is nothing more disappointing than finding the perfect sofa to then realise it means you can’t afford anything else. Be realistic. There are a few ways to approach the process, you can either work with the budget to purchase everything at once, or, make all of the selections in the beginning and stage the purchases to suit the budget as more money becomes available. It’s helpful to do a bit of research and understand how much things cost. If you have not renovated or purchased new furniture in a while, you may be surprised. Make a comprehensive list of everything you need in a spreadsheet. Then you can start inserting costs when you make decisions and track the budget.
Refer back to your mood board. What are the overall colours, patterns and textures you see? Try to really define what these are. Once you have done this, ascertain if it meets the brief questions you asked yourself early on. Does this scheme conjure feelings of comfort or is it sophisticated? Warm palettes of neutrals work well in classic homes where you’re wanting to achieve a light and timeless scheme. A cool palette of greys is more contemporary and works well in a large and light space. Try not to be too driven by current trends so you make selections that are long lasting. Don’t be afraid of colour though. Especially if it’s paint or small accessories like a cushion or even a rug. Hate it in three years? Is it that much of an issue to replace or update this?
Image by Adairs via their website [www.adairs.com.au]
Before you make any final selections, ask yourself if each item is practical. Interior design and decoration should always be firstly about functionality. Is the chair comfortable? Will it be easy to clean? If you have pets and small children will this be an issue? Is it ergonomic? Will it hold all the items you need it to? Will it fit in the room (not only once it’s in, but physically getting it in the space!)? Will it be too dark and heavy looking? What is the warranty? Will a chair fit under the table comfortably? Will you be able to move around the bed? Will you be able to open your robes with the bedside table location?
Really ask the practical questions. While it’s easy to be swept away with how beautiful something is, if it doesn’t meet the practical requirements, you won’t ever love it as much as you should.
If you’re finding it difficult to know where to start, even after creating mood boards and a palette, try to place your focus on one item. Working on a dining room? Start with the dining table and nothing else. How big do you want it to be and how many people are you planning to seat? What material is it going to be? Will that be practical for ever day use or it only an occasionally used space? Once you have picked the table, the rest flows on much more easily. The chair will have to physically fit under the top comfortably, the rug will have to be large enough to sit under the table and chairs, you will be able to calculate if you have enough space for a buffet. Then you can select art or a mirror for above the buffet once you know the measurements and materials of the piece. There is a natural process and flow on effect here by being systematic about the approach if this makes you feel more comfortable.
Image by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring the Bull Dining Chairs, Stewart Dining Table, New York Kitchen Stools & Cow Hide
Texture is so important in a successful interior. Texture impacts how a space looks and feels. Glossy textures and finishes for example make a room feel sophisticated, polished, clean, modern and cool. Raw textures make a space feel rustic, industrial, casual and warm. Ensure there is enough textural variation in a space, particularly if you have a neutral palette. This creates interest and comfort. Work in groups of three if you’re unsure. For example, in a living room you could combine timber, stone and linen. If you’re creating a vignette this also works well. Try a marble tray, timber vase and glass bowl.
Having sufficient lighting in a room makes the space more effective to use and more comfortable. Ask an expert if you’re unsure, but firstly understand the natural light levels in the space and be clear about the tasks which will occur in the space. Ambient lighting is also a lovely way to bring atmosphere into the space. As it’s largely decorative, the lighting can have beautiful shades and shapes which add to the overall scheme without getting too caught up in the light it provides.
Natural light is always lovely in a home but if it’s not enough in the day to comfortably complete what you like to do (such as reading, sewing, studying) then you will need to add task lighting. By task lighting we mean direct and clear lighting to allow you to see properly. Floor and table lamps are great at doing this, although you may want to ensure they’re flexible and strong enough for what you need it to do.
Image by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring the Firenze Club Chairs, Ella Dining Chairs & Boomerang Kitchen Stools
A home is not really a home until there are accessories to add layers of interest and personality to the spaces. Even if you have a minimalistic home, there will likely be artworks, rugs or books. Accessories give insight into the occupant’s likes, dislikes, family, history, travels and life. Don’t expect to accessorise a home with all new pieces immediately as it will appear flat and lack character. Take the time when you travel to pick up a memento, treasure the family heirlooms and add new pieces you love as you discover them.
Accessories don’t have to be an expensive exercise either. Nature provides us with beautiful (and free!) pieces which work beautifully. Shells, driftwood, husks, branches and flowers sit well next to other pieces in the home and can change often. Books and photos are also wonderful accessories adding to the story.
Image by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring the Bass Side Table & Lombok Lounge Chair
Have fun, it’s worth all the effort. Be guided by functionality first, then aesthetics. Then you will have a home you not only love, but works perfectly for you and your unique needs. If you’re still feeling unsure, or the whole process seems overwhelming, remember there are professionals who do this for a job! Interior Designers are trained for a reason and have very specific skill sets. They’re creative, excellent at problem solving tricky spaces and importantly, they’re the ultimate source for new products, materials and possibilities you’ve never heard of. They’re worth their weight in gold.
Looking for a unique and timeless Gift, then our latest range of Wicker Picnic Baskets designed here in Melbourne are sure to please. The new Sorrento range of 2, 4 and 6 people wicker baskets are on their way and available for pre purchase.
Quality accessories include ceramic plates, glass wine glasses and stainless steel cutlery pouches just to name a few. And the vibrant internal colors inspired by the Mornington Penisula in Victoria and sure to please.
Perfect for Christmas, Weddings, Engagement and Birthday gifts as well as for Corporate gifting.
Taking inspiration from Melbourne Fashion Week starting today, pale and dusty pinks are one of the up and coming seasonal trend colors. Less dominant then Millenial pink that we've seen before, this nearly nude pink is easier to live with. And fortunately pale pinks are easy to add into modern interiors. Use it when layering and combining textures, a commandment in contemporary interior styling.
Our neutral colored Annecy Bedhead and Cupid Occasional Chair partner perfectly with subtle pink tones provided by Eadie Lifestyle bedlinen and Tegan Lloyd Artwork. Also shown is our Kelly side table and natural baskets.
We are excited to be able to offer you 4 new Sofa designs from Satara, rounding out our indoor furniture collections.
These four beautiful Sofas are locally handcrafted from a variety of Zeppel fabrics,or as specified. They are typical of the high quality and contemporary design that you rely upon us for.
Click on any of the below images for more details.
See our exclusive new ranges and more at this year's Design + Decor stand G36. Our new ranges are spearheaded by innovative and completely original designs by Paola Navone, suitable for both indoor and outdoor.