Lewis also suggests using patio furniture to divide up your outdoor space and create different areas just like you would indoors—like separate areas for drinks, eating, and stretching out for a nap.
“A corner sofa can be a practical piece to provide lots of seating, and can also act as an effective room divider and look very chic if you plan it properly in your space,” he says. He recommends British luxury brand Coco Wolf, which sells upholstered furniture upholstered in highly technical materials, many sourced from the marine industry, that can be left outside all year round.
An increasing number of designer brands have been releasing outdoor collections over the past year to meet consumer demands for stylish outdoor furniture, and these have also come out at the more accessible end of the price scale with brands such as Made.com and Sofa.com releasing outdoor furniture designs that similar in appearance to pieces you may have in your living room (however, these are unlikely to be as durable as the designer versions, so you will need shed space). Keep seat cushions on rainy days and in winter).
The current rattan furniture trend works well outdoors, too, where lightweight, moveable furniture is particularly useful: for a modern take, look to colored rattan, like Birdie Fortescue’s vintage-style chairs and sofas, which look lovely in muted pinks -, blue and green tones.
Alternatively, for a DIY weekend project, you can find some used rattan chairs and spray paint them yourself with an outdoor-ready paint like Rustoleum. Rattan daybeds are having a moment – for the ultimate Riviera chic, interior designer Flora Soames collaborated with the Houghton Collection on a vintage-inspired wicker daybed with a cushion in their vibrant striped fabric.
According to Lewis, side tables are also an important aspect in the garden: “I’m an outdoor table nut,” he says. “I like to keep a few of these in my garden at all times so I have somewhere to put drinks, make a spot for tea or arrange a row of potted plants to create an elegant backdrop.”
His advice is to think beyond classic teak and look for vintage tables with marble, zinc or slate tops that add a different texture and character while being practical and durable.
Paul Middlemiss, a former purchasing manager at The Conran Shop who has since founded Merchant & Found, Britain’s leading vintage furniture and lighting store, says vintage pieces are often more durable than their modern counterparts and can improve with age and patina . He recommends Tolix’s classic French café chair from 1934, which comes in a range of colors and “never goes out of style”. “It looks brilliant new or vintage,” he adds, “and can be left outside all year round or brought inside over the winter to sit at the kitchen table.”
Other vintage pieces he likes for the garden include chairs from the defunct brand Multipl’s – “an iconic part of French industrial history and a competitor to Tolix that hasn’t survived, making it even more collectible and rare” – and the metal chair Toledo from the 1950s. which was used as a marketing tool and therefore often bears the names of French breweries, giving it an extra vintage character.
Outdoor textiles have come in leaps and bounds in recent years and are useful for adding color and comfort to a garden, especially a garden with metal or wooden furniture. Even a small, shady courtyard looks instantly more welcoming when blankets, throws and outdoor cushions are added – which used to feature bright primary colors and tactile fabrics, but these days come in soft fabrics and all sorts of colors and patterns.
Similarly, outdoor rugs (which emerged as a trend last spring after a particularly tasteful one was spotted under the feet of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their interview with Oprah Winfrey) are becoming increasingly available in a variety of styles and colors. They’re also a good tool for softening your outdoor space and zoning dining or seating areas – try Kukoon Rugs and Weaver Green.
To complete a garden look, Middlemiss suggests picking up vintage outdoor accessories for display much like you would arrange ornaments around the home: “Accessories like plant stands, watering cans, cloches and storage containers look brilliant in the garden and add a little personality to a concept and depth, especially when interspersed with new patio furniture.”
The return of the swing seat for the summer
Swinging sofas evoke childhood memories of long summer days when there was little to do but leaf through a book while rocking gently. It’s a nostalgic image that still seems like a hugely satisfying way to spend a sunny afternoon. Could a swinging sofa be that garden must-have we never knew we needed?
ODD has been making its Old Rocker swing seats in very limited editions for almost 20 years and counts actors and designers (including Helena Bonham Carter and Pearl Lowe) among its customers.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/life/best-summer-outdoor-furniture-buy-garden-uk-decor-ideas-2022/ the latest outdoor kit to buy for the heatwave