Cosy up your outdoor spaces with inspiration from the hospitality industry
The temperature may be dropping, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy time outside this winter. Borrowing a few tips from the hotel industry, it's easy to cosy up your patio or balcony to turn it into the perfect entertaining space for friends and family.
A strong trend we've noticed in the post-pandemic hospitality industry is the way in which hotels and restaurants are maximising outdoor seating areas. In order to make their Covid-aware guests feel as comfortable as possible, hotels have invested in their outside spaces by adding heaters, fire pits and cosy sofas.
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Here, we look at ways in which you can take inspiration from hotels to create a cosy outdoor space in which you can happily hang out with friends, whatever the weather.
Get the outdoor seating right and the rest will follow
There's a saying that goes: "There's no bad weather, just bad clothes." So if you want to create an 'outdoor room', it's important to ensure you have the right furniture for the job. Durable seating made from hard-wearing teak, powder-coated steel or polyresin wicker can withstand year-round weather conditions, meaning you won't have to move it all inside when the rain comes.
"For a comfortable winter outdoors, we have to make art of winter, and for that we need to look to ski resorts for inspiration. When people go skiing, they're prepared to enjoy the outdoors in the cold." – Mary Alice Palmer, director of hospitality interiors at international architecture firm HKS
As well as introducing weatherproof furniture such as outdoor sofas and comfortable armchairs, you can add cosy sheepskins and faux fur blankets for your guests to snuggle under. Our weather-resistant FibreGuard Outdoor cushions have the added benefit that you don't have to bring them inside when the heavens open.
To protect your guests and your furniture even further, you could consider investing in a pergola or covered gazebo. Not only does this help create an inviting entertaining area, it also ensures your outside space can be used all year round – regardless of what the elements may throw at you.
Create different outdoor zones just as you would with your interiors
One approach with an outdoor entertaining space is to zone it just as you might do inside the home. You could have a bar section, a dining space and a lounge area. Create a focal point with a fire pit, pizza oven or chimenea, and use outdoor rugs to help delineate your zones.
"Establish multiple seating areas and don't skimp on comfort. Make sure that each nook and cranny has a comfortable option to lounge in. Multiple seating areas also allow for ample space when hosting parties."
– Shannon Eddings of Shannon Eddings Interiors
Lighting is another great way to help zone your outside space. You can use fairy lights around the bar, suspend pendants above the dining area, and bring in an outdoor standard lamp to add a homely feel to the lounge area.
Why not plan some fun activities such as toasting marshmallows or having a fondue to keep your guests entertained and to take their minds off the cold?! And don't think the BBQ has to be out of action just because the nights have turned a bit chillier. Wrap up warm with a hat and a scarf and you still continue to cook up a storm in the great outdoors.
Up the 'cosy' factor in outdoor decor with all things hygge
The word 'hygge' perfectly sums up the atmosphere you're trying to create with a welcoming outdoor space. This Danish word is used to describe a blissful state of cosy contentment gained while enjoying simple pleasures with loved ones. Think hot chocolate by candlelight, or a glass of mulled wine beside the fire.
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Hygge also refers to comforting textures such as sheepskin throws and cosy woollen blankets. Turn your patio into a true 'outdoor room' by introducing the kind of comforts you'd normally enjoy inside the house. Think cushions, throws and blankets to share with a friend as you gaze up at the night sky. Keep the magic alive with plenty of candles.
Rattan lanterns are big news this season, as are over-sized pillar candles and bare bulb festoon lighting.
As an added extra, why not pass around hot water bottles to keep the al fresco festivities going for as long as possible? Life outside has never felt so good!
FibreGuard Outdoor fabrics: ready for anything, no matter the weather
Our weather-resistant FibreGuard Outdoor fabrics are a great way to bring the indoors out. Engineered to withstand the elements, these hard-wearing fabrics won't fade in direct sunlight and are resistant to mildew and odours.