Heather Nette King is a Melbourne‑based interiors stylist and writer for many leading interior titles and newspapers. She has been the Melbourne Homes Editor of Sunday Life magazine for over a decade, and her work has appeared in many Australian and international magazines, including Inside Out Magazine, Country Style, Australian House & Garden, Real Living Australia Magazine, Home Beautiful Magazine, Vogue Living, ELLE China, The Design Files and The Interiors Addict. Her own home has appeared in Belle Magazine, and her previous home was featured in the international style bible, ELLE Decoration UK. Heather has created the visual imagery for many well-known Australian brands, and also works behind the scenes copy-writing for their advertisements and websites.
Where once sizzling sausages on the barbeque was the extent of our outdoor meal adventures, we are now seeing a massive increase in fully functional outdoor kitchens, usually housed in custom-built indoor/outdoor spaces. Fridges, hotplates, sinks and even pizza ovens are upping the alfresco ante, creating spaces that require dining tables, lounge seats and benches for comfortable feasting.
Balconies, terraces, porticos, porches and verandas — they are all wonderful additions to a home or apartment, but they’re not always the easiest spaces to get the best out of. Thankfully, there are some great furniture options that are adaptable and will do double-duty in these small spaces.
Tables that fold out (or in) when required, such as the Windsor 5 Piece Balcony Set are brilliant for adapting when guests come over, and the stools tuck neatly underneath, saving extra space in between times.
The style lines between indoor and outdoor furniture were once quite distinct, and any crossover between the two was uncommon. No longer is this the case, as many new outdoor pieces are increasingly mimicking interior trends.
Outdoor coffee and side tables are the perfect case in point — and these occasional pieces are chic enough to be used all year round, saving space when it is needed.
Multipurpose pieces are also a big trend this year. A tall table on wheels that is perfect for afternoon drinks and nibbles, the Kanto Castor Bar Table can be moved closer to the dining table to act as a serving table, then be fully kitted-out as a bar for a night of partying.
Not just an amazingly atmospheric way to keep the night-time chill at bay, fire pits are renowned for their conversation-enhancing properties. Many a great night with friends and family has been extended into the wee hours as flame-staring and storytelling facilitate the creation of incredible memories. Low-slung chairs like the Marly Outdoor Armchair and snuggly throw rugs will complete the scene.
Just as planning the way your indoor spaces flow, clever planning of your outdoor spaces and the creation of activity zones will add both functionally and aesthetically to your time spent outdoors. The biggest consideration, of course, must be the weather and the way you can minimise your exposure to the elements.
Would a dining table used mostly for long lunches be best placed underneath a tree to provide some shade for guests? Where is the sunniest spot in the yard? Try placing lounge chairs there to enjoy the gentler sun in spring and autumn but have a shadier zone in mind for the hotter months.
Would you like a small tranquil zone for relaxing solo? Find a small nook and place a single lounge or hanging chair there for some all-important me-time and to enjoy the very best of the summer season.