With residential land sizes becoming smaller – ten percent of our residents live in apartments and half of us use outdoor spaces to entertain – decking out the balcony or terrace is becoming more important, and the right choices in furniture can help make our great outdoors even greater.
The key as with any space is to decide what you want to do, who will be using it, and when – and the important thing to remember is that not all furniture and lighting is suitable for outdoor use.
This is the case for timber furniture, in particular where shifts in temperature and humidity can cause certain timbers to swell, leading to cracking in joints or the timber itself. Hardwoods are ideal for outdoor furniture though even these need ongoing maintenance to ensure they last, especially in more tropical climates. Of course, plastic and metal furniture is a more stable option though again they require maintenance to prevent rust or decay due to exposure to the sun.
The Faz collection by Vondom incorporates planters and lighting into outdoor furniture.
The hot tip for smaller areas is multi-functioning furniture. Combining a bench seat with a planter, lighting or even a speaker like the quirky Bum-bum Toro by Spanish manufacturers Vondom, will save you space and give you something to talk about. The other space saver is folding or stacking chairs, especially useful coming into the wetter months when outdoor dining isn’t so popular, though not all chairs are designed to stack so it is best to check before committing to a purchase.
The Nautica hanging chair by Expormim is suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
For a sense of luxury in a confined environment, a folding daybed is a good option providing you have somewhere to store it when not in use, and hanging cocoon style chairs like the Nautica swing chair by Expormim provide maximum comfort with a minimal footprint.
The Reverse occasional tables from Andreu World come in a variety of heights.
When it comes to outdoor dining, there is no point consuming your balcony with an eight-seater setting if it is only used a couple of times a year. Consider a smaller setting that can accommodate a couple or small family with a bar style high-table to mingle around when additional guests come over. Choosing a high-table like the Reverse Occasional from Andreu World means you can match it with a dining or coffee table from the same family, aligning the indoors and the out aesthetically.
As with furniture, not all lighting is suitable for the outdoors and as we all know electricity and water don’t play well together so there's an added level of consideration in what you use to light up spaces exposed to the elements. Portable LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular, and safer as these types of lights aren’t connected to a power supply.
Vondom's The Second Light is playful but meets the serious requirements for outdoor lighting.
On the lighter side of serious, outdoor lighting can also be fun. Like with the Bum-bum collection where lighting is integrated into furniture, Vondom’s Vela and Vases collections incorporate light into sculptural forms and their globe shaped The Second Light floor lamps are available with coloured LEDs that are programmable by remote control.
And on the topic of technical, to give yourself ultimate peace of mind when choosing outdoor lighting look for a rating of IP65 and above. All lighting should legally be certified in Australia and this rating means a light is dust tight and resistant to water projected from a nozzle.
As with buildings, there are many ratings and certifications that apply to furniture, from technical compliance to environmental impacts, and once you have settled on the setting that works for you, these can become an invaluable filter in making the final decision.
VONDOM, Exporium and Andreu World are exclusively available in Australia through Ke-Zu
WRITTEN BY HouseLab