Top interior design tips for harmonious alfresco living

It’s no secret that Kiwis love the great outdoors, and there is no better way to enjoy year-round entertaining and extra space than by utilising an alfresco living area craftily curated with harmony and flow to maximise its potential.

So how do you develop a seamless integration of alfresco living in your home?
Interior designer Rosie Blockley, from La Belle Maison Interiors, whose expertise was instrumental in creating the stunning indoor/outdoor flow of the tropical paradise that is Landmark Homes Palm Springs Showhome in Pāpāmoa, shares her top design tips for harmonious alfresco living.

Blur the boundaries

One of the most important tips for creating harmony and cohesion for alfresco living is what I call ‘blurring the boundaries.’ If you are building a new home, design items like flooring should be consistent in size and colour. This allows connectivity from the outside in, creating a seamless flow.

Bring the outside in

Strategically placing pot plants near doors that connect the outdoor/indoor areas softens the boundary between interior and exterior and helps to bring an incredibly harmonious feel to the transition space. Using shades of earthy neutrals or greens in the soft furnishings, like rugs and cushions, that connect to your alfresco area also creates a synergy and cohesion between the two spaces.

Space saving

With many homes now having a more compact footprint, one of the best tips to free-up extra space in your alfresco area is to place your dining table on the perimeter of a sliding door on the interior. This allows year-round dining unhindered by the changeable weather and frees up space in your alfresco living area for custom built-in seating, a spa pool or even a statement fireplace.

To give the illusion of space, place a large mirror on an internal wall near your dining table. The mirror reflects the alfresco area to those sitting with their backs to the outside, bringing a wonderful sense of connectivity and cohesion between the interior and exterior.

Plush textures

Textures are key for creating a luxurious ambience for alfresco living. Thankfully many outdoor textiles now equal the quality of interior fabrics, so don’t be afraid to use plush velvets and chunky mustard throws to give your outdoor area a sense of luxury. Although the weather can often play havoc with outdoor textiles, if you can’t bring them inside, one of my top tips is to use little silica packs inside your cushion covers to keep the dampness at bay.

Tropical paradise

Rattan or wicker furniture is also a popular choice for alfresco living areas. Rattan is low maintenance and weatherproof while giving the illusion of relaxing in a tropical paradise, which we all want for our outdoor spaces. You can’t go past a hanging pod chair like the one we used in the Landmark Palm Springs Showhome for a showstopping design element.

I always advise carefully choosing your outdoor furniture and avidly support sourcing my interior design elements locally. You can source some beautifully crafted rattan and wicker furniture from places like Contemporary Classics or Greenslades Furniture in Tauranga, while Freedom Furniture also sells some wonderful pieces. As with many design elements, consistency is vital. Using the same colour palate on your outdoor furniture will maximise the feeling of cohesion.

Outdoor elements

Another top tip for alfresco living is to invest in moveable garden screens strategically placed around your outdoor area to protect you from the elements. There are a variety of garden screens to suit your needs, but I love plant screens that add a neat feature to the tropical nature of the outside space. Lots of candles and fairy lights strung around trees also add a touch of magic, while an outdoor fireplace is a must in any modern alfresco living area, creating a focal point and allowing you to make the most of your outdoor space, whatever the weather.

Are you ready to Design & Build your dream alfresco living space? Contact your local Landmark Homes team today so they can help turn your vision into reality.

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