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Make the most of your outside space

Outside Space: The key to maximising your living area

There are moments when we all wish our homes had a bit more room, but are we overlooking our home’s most under-used asset? It’s outside space.

Outside space is a fantastic addition to any property and it’s also one of the most versatile. Gardens are great for letting children run off steam and cultivating vegetables while balconies are ideal for al fresco dining and herb-growing.

But instead of separating the outdoors from inside why not bring the two together, maximising outside space to create a new living area?

What makes the outdoors so great?

There is nothing quite like sinking into a sumptuous sofa with a glass of your favourite wine after a tough day at the office. But imagine sinking into a sumptuous sofa beneath the sun.

Outdoor furniture has, thankfully, come a long way since the days of plastic sun loungers and uncomfortable folding chairs.

One of the most popular outdoor products is Synthetic Rattan seating and it’s easy to see why. Thick, luxurious cushions sit atop of hard-wearing yet beautifully stylish bases that can be arranged into unique configurations to create bespoke, reasonably priced, seating designed especially for your garden.

Most importantly, the base units are completely waterproof so should the heavens decide to open you can simply remove the cushions and retreat indoors.

Rattan furniture is ideal if you want to create a relaxing retreat in the garden. This beauty – the seven-piece Mayfair Modular Rattan Garden Furniture Set – is from Bridgman

Stuck for space? Don’t worry

With the rise in apartment living, creating additional living areas from balconies is a challenge our designers are often tasked with – especially in the summer months.

Deck chairs and folding furniture are all well and good for limited spaces but they don’t scream relaxing living room – more seaside.  

What’s the solution? Why not continue the themes established inside on your balcony.

The easiest way to do this is to choose robust, durable pieces in a similar colour to interior furniture. The continuation of colour creates a flow between the two living areas.

Struggling for space? Go for statement seating in a colour to complement your home’s theme. This pair of Bistro chairs in lemon are from Garden Trading

Finishing touches

No living area would be complete without a selection of decorative accessories to cement your style.

Cushions, candles and beautiful bowls can all be used to create a sumptuous garden room and best of all, these items can be rounded up quickly and tucked inside should the weather turn nasty.

Outside walls can be livened up with some all-weather artwork such as an intricate embossed wall tile or even a cluster of mirrors to reflect your furnishings.

For a little illumination LED lights add a warm glow and are fantastically versatile. Opt for battery operated or solar-powered lights so there is no need to worry about ugly extension leads causing a potential trip hazard. 

One thing that’s not so easy to replicate outdoors is central heating.

However there are plenty of options to stay warm when the weather cools.

And what’s better than a real roaring fire? A fire pit provides warmth as well as a central focal point too. Plus they are perfect if you fancy some al fresco dining in the form of roasted marshmallow s’mores.

Another simple way to add warmth is draping bright colourful throws over the furniture. Not only does it looks great but also doubles as an insulating blanket when the weather turns cold.

John Lewis & Partners have a gorgeous selection of outdoor furniture and accessories to brighten up even the most compact of outside spaces