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May 2021 / Homes & Interiors / by Ali Howard

Interiors: Eat Out – Patio Tips

A desire to reconnect with family and friends, compounded by the promise of sunshine, makes outdoor entertaining more popular than ever. Whether you have a small patio space to play with or a rolling lawn to spread out on, make sure your garden get-together lasts from day to night.

The modern patio

Contemporary patio pieces put paid to notions of traditional garden furniture with designs that blur the boundaries between inside and outside space. Now, you can smarten up your terrace with a three piece suite or modular sofa that gives its indoor counterpart a run for its money. Cox & Cox’s Capri corner set (opposite page), new for spring/summer 21, is a stylish case in point. With its fuss-free mid-century lines, its angled and tapered acacia wood legs, and its sumptuous soft grey cushioning, it is made for laid-back lounging. The L-shaped settee wraps around a similarly low-sitting coffee table, making it ideal for an al fresco afternoon tea. £1,750 (coxandcox.co.uk)

Nature’s palette

For casual dining outdoors, choose materials that not only complement their natural environment, but improve with age and exposure to the elements. Nkuku’s Oso wooden dining table (right) does just that. Crafted from reclaimed teak, the hardwood takes on an attractive silver-grey hue over time, further blending with our stone patio. Here, the table and matching bench is teamed with the brand’s Chari industrial dining chairs in distressed black, while tabletop accessories focus on sustainability and craft-driven wares. Don’t forget the lighting: lanterns and candlesticks in antique brass bring both sophistication and cosiness. Table from £995 (nkuku.com)

Set the bar

As we move from day to night, we might want to recreate an outdoor entertaining space that’s more stylish wine bar than sit down eatery – it offers a more sophisticated aesthetic. Outdoor bars are set to be big news this summer, with playful products designed to give us that going out experience – even when we’re staying in. Eos’s rectangular bar table and matching stools (above), designed by Matthew Hilton, bring an industrial edge to our patio space. Clean-lined and contemporary, the lofty bar set is finished in a weatherproof powder-coated aluminium. It’s amazing how an extra foot of height can set the mood for evening drinks. Bar table, £670, backless bar stool, £200 (casefurniture.com)

All fired up

If we reimagine our garden as a seamless extension of our living space, when it comes to furniture and accessories, the possibilities are endless. But how about a permanent fixture that, just as in a living room set-up, creates that all-important focal point? Austrian heating brand Schiedel have come up with an imposing outdoor fireplace (right) that keeps us warm when the sun goes down and doubles as a stylish barbecue or outdoor oven. The unit is crafted from pumice, sourced from Iceland’s Hekla volcano, and comes in three configurations with options for integrated log storage. It also offers the perfect excuse to stay outside for longer. Garden 950 model, from £2,014 (gardenfireplace.co.uk)

Night lights

Outdoor lighting is just as important as our furniture choices, especially if we want to prolong the party when the sun goes down. We can transform our garden into a magical space with the flick of a switch, either illuminating overhead or creating cosy lit corners in which to huddle. Though our outdoor living spaces are wide open, we can create structure in place of a ceiling with the use of industrial style festoon lights, or a mass of ditsy fairy lights. Think about zoning your space. Above, an informal dining area has been created with the simple addition of warm string lights over the table. Proving that sometimes less is more, it is a perfectly romantic set-up. Core Connect warm white connectable fairy lights, from £26.99 (lights4fun.co.uk)