Ascot-based designer Sarah Barclay offers a few essential styling tips that you can use to freshen up your outside space for some summer fun
When approaching your outdoor area, it’s important to keep in mind what atmosphere you want to share with your guests. An afternoon BBQ setup will look different to that of evening drinks on the patio.
Welcome your guests into the space by centring their attention on a focal point. This can be done by arranging your seating around a table to create a more intimate and inviting feel. A central table encourages your guests to take a seat and start getting into the party mood. Set the table with seasonal drinks, snacks, and colourful decor. Include warm colours like orange or yellow to bring in summer elements.
With the heat we’ve been having, add plants to your patio or outdoor area to create your very own summer oasis. Plants add a fresh touch to the space and adapt to the different seasons making them a sustainable choice that will last you many years. By arranging plants around your outdoor area, they can also add a sense of privacy as they encircle your seating area. Take it a step further by incorporating a water feature to add a cooling breeze to the space as well as soft pink noise to help quiet neighbouring sounds.
Add dimension to your outdoor space by mixing and matching different textures and tones to create light summery layers. Layering texture can help to soften hard outdoor textiles like tile or stone. If your outdoor furniture is wooden, the natural wooden textures can be complemented with different coloured throw cushions. Try pairing simple bench cushions with a few brightly coloured throw cushions to add a pop of colour. Keep in mind that darker tones absorb more heat from the sun – rather go for cool neutral tones. A more neutral colour palette also allows decorations to stand out more, making it easier to create a focal point for guests to gravitate towards.
Creating contrasts adds visual appeal to a space and can be as simple as utilising different textures or colours. If you have gravel, add stone pavers to lead your guests into the space. This contrast in texture is interesting to the eye, but also practical. On the other hand, throw cushions are an excellent way to add colour contrast to a space. Throw cushions can be changed out for the different seasons making them a fun way to style your space according to the time of year. In summer you can go for vibrant tropical patterns, while in autumn you could switch them out for warm autumnal colours.
Don’t forget to keep in mind the way you want your guests to feel when they step outside. This impacts your final choice on colour, texture, and layout. If you need the input of an expert to create the perfect outdoor space, an interior designer can help.
Sarah Barclay is the founder of Barclay Interiors based in Ascot – for more information, visit barclay-interiors.com