Spring is is the air for New Zealand and it's time to take the party outdoors! To make sure your outdoor entertaining space is perfect for your guests, there are some key design considerations to keep in mind. From the right outdoor furniture to the best lighting setup, here are 7 tips for designing the perfect outdoor entertaining space. With these ideas, you can create a stylish and comfortable area for your friends and family to enjoy all summer long.
1) Location, location, location
When it comes to entertaining outdoors, location is key. You want to make sure that you are situated in a comfortable area with plenty of space for your guests. Consider factors such as how much sun the area gets and if there’s enough protection from wind. Are there any obstructions like trees or buildings that could interfere with the atmosphere of your gatherings or add an element of privacy? If possible, try to find a space with a view – this will add to the ambience of your outdoor entertainment space. Living in New Zealand, you’ll be able to take advantage of our beautiful summer weather. Just make sure you plan accordingly so that your outdoor entertaining space is comfortable and enjoyable for all your guests.
2) Size and shape matter
When it comes to designing a space for entertaining outdoors, size and shape are two of the most important factors to consider. The shape and size of your outdoor space will determine how you can best set up and use the area for entertaining. If you have a small or oddly-shaped space, think of creative ways to make the most of it, such as incorporating furniture and plants that can double up as seating areas or visual dividers. If you have a large space, you may want to consider features such as a fire pit or BBQ for evening entertaining. Either way, remember to leave enough room for guests to move around and interact with each other comfortably.
3) Consider the elements
When it comes to designing your outdoor entertaining space, you need to think about more than just the size and shape of your space. You also need to take into account the elements that will influence the success of your outdoor gathering. For those in New Zealand, summertime brings its own set of challenges – hot sun, high winds and rain can all make entertaining outdoors difficult. But with a little planning, these elements can actually be used to create a truly special atmosphere for your event.
Start by choosing a spot that has plenty of shade from the sun. If you don’t have any trees or natural shade options, consider using an awning or umbrella. Make sure to secure them firmly, especially if there is a chance of windy weather. Wind can make entertaining outdoors hazardous, so you should look for ways to secure any furniture and decorations you plan to use.
Another important consideration is rain. If you’re expecting rain, choose items that are designed for outdoor use. Cushions, rugs and tablecloths should be made from waterproof fabrics, while furniture should be made of materials such as teak, which can handle damp conditions. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you won’t experience a bit of rain during your outdoor event, but making sure you’re prepared is the best way to ensure that everyone has a great time regardless of the weather.
4) Incorporate features that encourage socialisation
When entertaining outdoors, it’s important to create a space that encourages socialisation. Whether you’re hosting a large gathering or just a few close friends, consider adding elements that will bring people together.
Fire pits are an excellent way to bring people together and provide warmth when the weather cools down. Surrounding them with seating allows for conversation and storytelling around the flames. Another great way to encourage conversation is with a built-in barbeque station or outdoor kitchen. This will encourage your guests to congregate while they wait for their food to be cooked.
You could also provide seating with multiple areas for people to hang out in. Think about incorporating benches, chairs, and lounges into your design. When people can move around and sit in different areas, it encourages conversations to flow more naturally. Outdoor lighting is also essential for socialisation in the evening - try using lights in different colours to create a more inviting atmosphere.
Finally, don’t forget the entertainment factor when designing an outdoor entertaining space. Music can really help set the tone and encourage guests to mingle. Portable speakers are an easy way to get the party started, or you could add an outdoor sound system for a more permanent solution.
5) Incorporate features that encourage relaxation
When entertaining outdoors, it’s important to create an inviting and relaxing atmosphere. There are many ways to do this, such as adding comfortable furniture and cozy lighting. To make your outdoor space even more comfortable and relaxing, consider incorporating features that can provide a sense of relaxation.
For example, having some large, colourful potted plants can bring a sense of serenity to your outdoor space. A water feature, like a fountain or a pond, can also add an element of tranquility. Plus, the sound of trickling water is sure to create a soothing ambience for guests. Incorporating nature into your outdoor entertaining area is an excellent way to encourage relaxation.
String lights and tiki torches can also be used to add a bit of soft light and atmosphere to your space. Consider adding some comfortable cushions and throws for guests to relax on. Outdoor heating solutions like fire pits or patio heaters can help extend the use of your outdoor space during cooler days or nights.
Incorporating features that encourage relaxation can really help to make your outdoor entertaining space more inviting and enjoyable. Whether it’s potted plants, water features, string lights, cushions or throws, adding elements of comfort and relaxation will surely make your outdoor space stand out.
6) Use furniture and materials that can withstand the elements
When entertaining outdoors, it’s important to select furniture and materials that can withstand the elements. New Zealand summers can be unpredictable, with sudden storms and hot days, so choosing the right materials is essential. Opt for durable materials that are resistant to moisture, mildew, and mould. Consider using synthetic materials such as resin, metal, plastic, and composite materials. For a natural look, opt for hardwoods like teak which are naturally resistant to moisture.
Alternatively, softwoods such as cedar and pine can be treated with a sealant to help protect them against the elements. A good outdoor furniture set should be able to last for several years with minimal care and maintenance. In addition, it's important to choose outdoor cushions and fabrics that are fade-resistant and quick-drying. When selecting outdoor fabrics, look for fabrics that are labelled as 'waterproof', 'weatherproof' or 'outdoor'.
7) Don't forget the details
When it comes to creating an outdoor entertaining space, the details are essential for making your design a success. There are a few elements you should keep in mind when designing your outdoor entertaining space.
Lighting is important to create an inviting atmosphere. Consider how you want to use the space at night and invest in high-quality outdoor lighting that’s both decorative and functional. String lights, lanterns, and tiki torches all make great options.
Fire pits are another way to add warmth and light to your outdoor entertaining space. They can be used as a central gathering spot or a place to toast marshmallows with your guests. Plus, they’re perfect for keeping your guests warm on chilly summer nights.
Add some comfy seating like cozy cushions and blankets so your guests can relax and get comfortable while entertaining outdoors. Soft lighting, relaxing music, and potted plants can also help create an inviting atmosphere. Lastly, adding some accessories such as games and decorations can add extra fun to your gathering.
Looking for any excuse to have friends and whanau over this summer but don't have the set up for it? Reach out to our Interior Design team at The Furnishing Room to see how we can help.
Contact us here.