Designing cosy outdoor rooms is all about adding the right blend of elements to evoke a warm and welcoming vibe
Who doesn’t love stylish, cosy outdoor rooms? Somewhere you can make lifelong memories with your tribe or entertain your friends and family in your own bespoke style.
Plenty of sizzle
Ramp up the warmth factor at home with a gas, ethanol, electric or wood heater or a firepit. Outdoor living is very much a part of the way we live, but to extend the time and comfort of your outdoor rooms, heating is a must. Not only does outdoor heating add warmth in the chilly months of the year, it also creates a cosy ambience your friends and family will love.
If you are short on space, a firepit or ethanol heater might be just the ticket to keep you toasty warm. Electric strip heating adds a designer edge to alfresco dining.
Gas heating can be portable, so you can move the heat source with ease, or there are inbuilt models that have plenty of style. Many contemporary gas heaters can mimic the look of wood heaters, with special effects that dazzle. Some models are also frameless to give them a sleek designer edge.
The time-honoured outdoor wood heater never goes out of style. With new technology and stylish good looks, wood-burning fireplaces remain a popular favourite for many. They are available as a built-in feature, a freestanding option or a sculptural pod that is suspended from the ceiling.
Neat as a pin
As more of us gravitate to outdoor spaces at home, there is a greater need for storage. Indoors there is inbuilt shelving or storage cupboards that allow you to be organised and pack away items you don’t need, but outdoors it’s often a different story. The good news is, there are plenty of options to allow you to store items to not only protect them from the elements, but to keep your outdoor space tidy. From cupboards to boxes to cabinets, there’s a diverse range of options that are easy on the eye to suit any taste or budget.
Shelving offers places to display items and also have things you readily use at your fingertips. There are also discrete storage solutions, such as a bench seat with built-in storage and hidden storage compartments, and occasional furniture with built-in storage, like a coffee table with cupboard underneath.
Cheers to that
The outdoor watering hole has become a popular inclusion in many Aussie outdoor rooms at home. From a stylish bar cart and bar stools to a complete built-in bar, you can design your bar your way.
Repurposed pallets and furniture, as well as pre-loved vintage wine barrels, can look fabulous. Perhaps you’d like your bar to be an extension of your indoor kitchen — you can pull up a bar stool at a bifold window. Other more elaborate bar set-ups can be part of a complete designer outdoor kitchen.
Of course, if you are serving drinks to your guests, having food on offer is always a smart idea. Contemporary outdoor entertaining is a breeze and there are so many ways you can cook up and serve your guests in style. Backyard chefs across the nation are enjoying the veritable feat of options to cater for outdoor cooking, from barbecues to complete outdoor kitchens, portable gas smokers and pizza ovens.
Do your research before you buy and consider what you love to cook, how many you’ll be catering for and how often, to take the guess work out of choosing your outdoor cooking appliances.
Switch up your lighting
Lighting can readily transform a space; it can illuminate light and shadow, brighten up dark corners and make a space feel inviting. Lighting, of course, is essential to shine the light on what the chef is whipping up on the barbecue, or to guide the way down pathways or decks for safe passage.
Lighting often dictates the mood in a space too, so sourcing the right lighting goes a long way to determining the atmosphere in an outdoor room. An outdoor pendant positioned above a dining table introduces a hint of glamour, while lanterns placed in seating areas add a soft romantic glow. Beautiful wall lights generate a soft radiance that is warm and subtle.
The key to effective outdoor lighting is to get the right blend of lighting which, when layered, creates visual appeal. Along with task lighting, accent lighting adds depth and highlights. For example, it can showcase a piece of art or a feature pot in a space, while ambient lighting offers general illumination to an outdoor space.
From permanent structures like awnings, pergolas, cabanas to flexible solutions such as umbrellas and shade sails, finding a shade option that complements your home and lifestyle has never been so easy.
Umbrellas combine functionality and innovative design. Marine-grade stainless-steel components offer durability. Cantilever umbrellas can be adjusted to offer shade where it’s needed without a post intruding on the space. Some also have wheels so you can move them as required.
For square, rectangle, hexagonal or triangular shade sails, try overlapping several shades to create a design feature. Alternatively, you can place the sails at different levels to achieve an interesting shape and form.
Innovative new-look awnings are a sophisticated and functional shade solution. Many typically have sun and wind sensor systems to allow you more control over the elements, and can become a design feature in your home.
Have you ever dreamed of sitting around your own designer pool at home with your mates sipping cocktails, or splashing about with the kids? How about sitting in a soothing spa, relaxing as the day’s stress melts away?
If you are thinking about a pool, start by researching the different types of pools and spas on offer, their shapes and sizes, and where it will fit into your outdoor landscape. Then consider additional extras like water features, ledges that allow you to sit immersed in the water, spa and pool combinations, pool fencing, lighting, pool paving or decking, and garden surrounds to create the look you want. Cleverly integrating the pool into the backyard, working with the shape of the block, using similar paving and materials, and working with a colour palette that harmonises with your home will all help you to create a beautiful contemporary swimming pool.
Finding ways to promote a harmonious indoor-outdoor connection continues to be a strong contemporary trend. That sense of flow between spaces extends internal and external living areas, blurring the lines between them.
One way to achieve this is through new-look folding, sliding and stackable doors. These continue to impress designers and movers and shakers in the industry with their versatility and good looks. Doors can be opened fully, partially closed, or fully closed in order to protect you from the scorching summer sun and winter winds.
Architectural stackable glass doors connect you to the outdoors seamlessly. Timber and aluminium products add endless appeal and suit any style of home. These doors can also be automated with the latest in technology.
Doors can be constructed with toughened glass, double- and even triple-glazed. They are energy efficient and many offer quality sound acoustic protection to dampen or block noise.
Safe as houses — security systems
We all want to protect those we love. Taking measures at home like installing security screening and fencing, cutting back thick vegetation and adding security lights that are activated by motion are good deterrents. Letting trusted neighbours know when you are away on holidays so they can collect mail and rubbish bins also helps.
There are many things you can now do to take things to the next level of safety. Stay one
step ahead of criminals with in-home security systems including cameras, alarms, sensors and locks. Would-be thieves will think twice if you have a security system and other layers of protection — many will move on to an easier target.
Many modern systems are now more affordable, with improved image quality. You can also keep up-to-date with what is happening in and around your home with automatic alerts on your smart phone.
You can buy a DIY kit that can cover things like smart locks, alarms that monitor and alert and CCTV that records and sends to a smart phone. Or you can opt for a professionally installed one that will cost more, or a fully installed and monitored system.