Style Edit: Outdoor Living

Socialising outdoors has played an important role in recent times, creating new reasons to curate a beautiful, comfortable garden setting. At Jane Clayton, we love seeing how people style their homes including their outdoor spaces to create backdrops for socialising with family and friends, creating different zones for different activities and adapting them for the changing seasons.

Here are our tips for designing an outdoor living space:

Spaces for socialising

With the milder weather comes an opportunity to optimise your outdoor space for chatting and engaging with loved ones and neighbours. We tend to put a lot of thought into how we design our indoor living spaces to give plenty of space to spend time together in comfort, but less so when it comes to outdoors, but there are some really simple ways to carry that relaxing vibe into your garden.

Full-on comfort

For a comfortable setting, try layering outdoor rugs and using a combination of loungers, beanbags and floor cushions covered in outdoor fabrics to create a space where you can kick off your shoes and enjoy the summer weather with friends. Having blankets and throws to hand will mean that you don’t need to stop when the evening starts to draw in.

Creating cosiness

Giving your space a purpose and a focal point will make you feel more at home, and the soft texture of a rug underfoot will allow you to kick your shoes off and relax. Creating a colour or pattern theme to the space, and adding cushions in complementary outdoor fabrics, will make this outdoor area so stylish and comfortable that you could stay and chat for hours. Choose a statement piece like our striking Shade outdoor rug by Nanimarquina, and arrange loungers, benches and chairs to create an intimate, restful environment.

Alfresco dining

Creating a beautiful area for dining is a great way to make eating outdoors feel magical. Pairing different types of outdoor fabric in the form of cushions, tablecloths and throws for cold shoulders will allow you to experiment with colour and pattern in a way that you might shy away from in your interiors.

Patio chic

Not all outdoor spaces have a lawn or turfed area, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be dull. Capture the essence of spring in your patio dining space with fresh greens by Jim Thompson, in his Big Stripe and Hopscotch fabrics to create something intricate but harmonious, or see how you can incorporate summer florals with Designers Guild’s Mariedal outdoor fabric.

Compact haven

Even in smaller city gardens and courtyards, it’s still possible to design a space that works whether you’re relaxing or hosting. Clever use of outdoor mirrors and festoon lighting will create the illusion of more space, and will add a calming ambience. You could also create a seating area that doubles up for dining and relaxing – simply add more outdoor cushions when your meal is finished. If you’re lucky enough to have a suntrap garden, create shade for the hottest part of the day by using long swathes of pale cloth, like Designer’s Guild’s Lovina outdoor fabric, to make a canvas.

Outdoor relaxing area

On the right day, there’s no better feeling than relaxing outdoors with a book or a companion, but it can sometimes be tricky to create truly peaceful, cosy spaces out in the open.

Under cover

One way to add comfort and protection from the elements is to build a pergola or covered space, which gives a fabulous structure for hanging fabrics and string lights. Draping elegant, weather resistant fabrics like Thibaut’s Seagate fabric to create a partition, will give you a little more peace and privacy when others are talking or the kids are playing. You can also create comfort by adding abundant scatter cushions and an outdoor rug to reduce echo and create a welcoming feel.

Outdoor oasis

If you enjoy the open space, life and movement offered by the great outdoors, why not amplify that using potted plants and plenty of greenery in your surroundings? You could even add botanical prints from Osborne & Little’s Summerho­­use collection, or introduce a water element with cool blues from Ralph Lauren’s Signature St Jean outdoor fabrics.

By the pool

Speaking of water, if you’re lucky enough to have access to a holiday home or somewhere with a pool, there’s a unique calmness to sitting waterside. It’s important to ensure that any rugs or fabrics that you use in these areas are water-resistant, but there’s such a huge array of options that this shouldn’t mean needing to compromise on style. You could add a tropical flavour with vibrant tones, or take inspiration from Mexican design with classic Acapulco-style string chairs and soft furnishings in bright, mixed geometrics.

There are so many ways to build an outdoor space that is entirely unique to your home and your style – let us help you achieve it.

Once you’ve created your outdoor space, we’d love to see it, tag @jclaytonandco and use #janeclaytonoutdoors on Instagram.

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