Featured, GemLife

A place in the sun – Design tips to elevate your alfresco area

Design tips to elevate your alfresco area

The festive season is just around the corner which means it is time for celebrating and catching up with friends and family.

For most Aussies, summertime entertaining is best enjoyed outdoors. To help spruce up your alfresco area in readiness for barbecues and get-togethers, GemLife Manager of Interior Design Jennifer Kyle gives her top five tips to refresh your outdoor entertainment space.

“From vertical gardens and fun lighting to adding a pop of colour with soft furnishings, there’s so many simple ways to transform an outdoor space for the silly season and wow your guests,” said Jennifer.

“Any of these five tips will make a difference in creating a more inviting outdoor area in which to relax, eat, drink and be merry.”

Top five alfresco styling tips

1. Green it up

Nothing creates a sense of tranquillity quite like the greenery from plants. For low-maintenance upkeep, opt for palm variants or succulents to beautify your alfresco area. Use different sized pots to create height variations within the space to achieve an overall sense of lushness. For smaller alfresco areas, why not try a ‘vertical garden’? There are plenty of easy to install vertical garden and railing pots available on the market, and hanging planters are also back in vogue. Adding strategically placed greenery to your alfresco area is one of the quickest ways to create a welcoming outdoor oasis for you and your guests.

2. Lighting

If you’re planning to use your alfresco after the sun goes down, lighting is both a practical and easy way to create ambience. From floor lamps and hurricane lanterns to garden bollards and candles, lighting adds atmosphere to your outdoor space, letting you set the mood for your get-together whether you’re hosting an intimate or festive gathering. According to Jennifer, fairy lights, string lights and festoon lights are an especially effective way to add instant ambience. “There are so many options available – vintage style, festive themed, solar powered – and plenty are budget-friendly too. A little bit of illumination can go a long way,” she said.

3. Soft furnishings

Updating your soft furnishings and decor is another easy seasonal styling trick that can transform your alfresco space in a flash. To make your outdoor space feel summertime ready, Jennifer recommends lightening up your soft furnishings’ palette or adding a pop of colour with new cushion covers, tablecloths, throw rugs or a weather-resistant outdoor floor rug. There is also a myriad of affordable decor items that can add to a summer vibe.

4. Wall art and sculpture

Another way to change up the look of your alfresco area is via outdoor art – a statement piece of wall art or a weather-resistant sculpture. Jennifer said artwork added personality to an outdoor area, helping to create a seamless transition from indoors to out while creating the sense of another room. “With artwork there are loads of ways to add colour and interest to outdoor areas. From metal artworks or trellises to interesting planters, clocks or murals – there are all kinds of options to inject personal style to an alfresco.”

5. Put your feet up

When you’re not entertaining friends and family, comfy seating is a must when you’re relaxing outside. Jennifer recommends investing in an inviting ‘just-right’ chair to sink into when enjoying a morning coffee or reading a book, in addition to an ottoman to put up your feet. “Nothing beats a cosy chair to curl up in for quiet moments on warm days. Adding an ottoman lets you stretch out and settle in. For a space-saving option, look for a chair and ottoman set where the ottoman slides under the chair when not in use.”