Design it right and your outdoor area becomes a whole extra room you can use year-round. From colours and materials to cooking set-ups, here are eight of the hottest trends in alfresco design for your home, along with tips on how you can work them into your own home.
1. Seamless finishes
Indoor-outdoor connection is key, and growing numbers of designers are achieving this by using the same materials and colours indoors and out. If your kitchen and alfresco area are next to each other, create a seamless look by running your kitchen benchtop from indoors to out. If the two areas are separate, create a visual connection by using the same benchtop and joinery finishes in both.
When it comes to colour, various shades of concrete grey, charcoal and brown-based neutrals are all on-trend for the coming year.
The key is to choose durable materials that are suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. For example, if you’ve opted for luxurious Caesarstone surfaces indoors, choose a matching or harmonising finish from the Caesarstone Outdoor Collection for your outdoor area.
Bold black is being used to add a contemporary edge to alfresco spaces. Think matt-black built-in joinery to house your built-in barbeque, a black-painted fireplace wall or black furniture frames – all of which harmonise beautifully with the lush greens of your garden.
Inclusions of bold, matt-black accents will bring a contemporary edge to your alfresco area, whilst various shades of concrete grey, charcoal and brown-based neutrals are on trend and work well to ground the space. Featured here: Astoria Grand, Attwell Estate, Deanside.
3. Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits
What could be more appealing than relaxing around an outdoor fireplace or fire pit with friends and family in the chilly months? Outdoor heating is on the rise, reflecting our desire to enjoy our alfresco space year-round.
Choose from a gas, biofuel or wood-burning fireplace in steel or cast iron, or build your own in brick or concrete. Position outdoor sofas or chairs around it for a cosy, conversational set-up.
When it comes to fire pits, take your pick from a built-in or freestanding style – the latter will give you more flexibility in terms of positioning. Popular finishes include sleek matt-black steel and rugged oxidised steel. Grab some marshmallows and you’re good to go!
Remember, some councils have rules around outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, so be sure to check with your local council before installation.
4. Multi-purpose spaces
With most of us spending more time at home, there’s a growing desire for versatile spaces that can be used for different activities, whether it’s working, exercising or entertaining. As a result, we’re seeing the rise of the multi-purpose outdoor area, which might include anything from an outdoor bar, built-in reading nook, outdoor television screen for family entertaining, work space or a dedicated spot for yoga or meditation.
An outdoor fireplace or firepit is the perfect addition to any alfresco area to ensure you can make the most of your space all year round. Position outdoor sofas and chairs around your fireplace for a cosy, conversational set up, demonstrated here in the Arlington from our T-Range.
5. Next-level outdoor cooking
Fully equipped outdoor kitchens, complete with all the bells and whistles – barbeque, storage, sink and beverage fridge – are still high on homeowners’ wish lists. But trends show that we’re thinking beyond the grill; outdoor pizza ovens and low ‘n’ slow smokers are being added to the outdoor-cooking repertoire, giving you the option to transform your next barbeque into a multi-faceted culinary experience.
6. Woven textures
Woven natural textures such as rattan and wicker are big news in interiors this year, and they’re creeping into outdoor spaces too. Take your pick from outdoor sofas and dining chairs with woven backs and seats, jute rugs and rattan side tables, all which are great for adding texture and natural appeal to your alfresco area.
Woven textures such as rattan and wicker are big news in interiors this year, and they’re creeping into outdoor spaces too. Add natural appeal and a fresh touch to your space using white chairs with textural, woven details. Featured here: Piermont, Attwell Estate, Deanside.
7. Biophilic design
Biophilic design, where homes are designed to connect with nature to boost our sense of wellbeing, is a term we’re hearing a lot at the moment. It’s making an impact in outdoor spaces too, with rugged, timber-framed furniture and powder-coated screens with botanical motifs (great for privacy and light control) coming to the fore.
8. Layered lighting schemes
Homeowners are investing more in beautiful, functional lighting for outdoors, and adding atmosphere and practicality in the process. Think hurricane lanterns dotted along the dining table to create a soft, flattering glow when you’re entertaining, spotlights to highlight your favourite outdoor features, recessed path and deck lighting to make the areas easy for guests to navigate at night.
Light fixtures with curved, organic lines and finishes such as bronze and concrete are popular, adding instant character and warmth to outdoor spaces.
Consider incorporating warm colours and plenty of greenery into your alfresco area to make the space feel more inviting and connected to nature. Feature here: Cottesloe, Minta Estate, Berwick.