Designing your ultimate outdoor room

The latest trend in decor is to get outside

THE WARM WEATHER is finally here, and it’s time to get outside and enjoy this all-too-brief season of outdoor barbecues and nights under the stars. But with the trend toward backyard living, you might be wondering how to best decorate your own outdoor room to create a serene, inviting zone of summer relaxation.

To make your outdoor room a reality, it’s all about designating space and furnishing with versatile pieces that can be used from day to night, at home with the family or when entertaining guests.

General Patio’s mix-and-match sectional pieces are a great example of flexible seating (160 East Beaver Creek,Units 25-28),and the market umbrellas found at Indoors & Out (2045 Yonge St.) are a practical and stylish way to enclose some of your backyard and create separate areas for seating and dining.

Set down sisal rugs like those found at Crate & Barrel (3401 Dufferin St.) to tie your room together and add some comfort underfoot.

This is a softer season in terms of colours as designers move away from the bold oranges, greens and yellows of 2009 in favour of bases of lavender, grey and blue with just a splash of red or green to liven things up. To refresh last season’s seating visit Insideout Patio Furniture (1280 Castlefield Ave.), which carries Ryan Andrew outdoor cushions in over 50 different pattern and colour choices.

Also, to add some fun to your patio, check out Anthropologie’s knotted Melati hanging chair in turquoise and lime (

This season also continues the evolution toward eco-friendly products and natural materials, with faux finishes and plastic being traded for refurbished wood furnishings and genuine teak, rattan and bamboo.

Teak Boutique (100 the East Mall, Unit 8) offers countless outdoor furnishing options made from wood grown in sustainably managed Indonesian teak plantations, and with proper care, your purchase can last 35 years or more.

To invite some wildlife into your backyard Eden, try adding some fauna-friendly pieces like a designer birdbath from Teatro Verde (100 Yorkville Ave.) and planters and flower pots full of fragrant herbs you can harvest fresh for your evening meals.

Wall-mounted planters like Pottery Barn’s French wire unit are easy to install and can give you the benefit of this added greenery without taking up valuable seating space.

For nighttime entertaining, create a welcoming ambience with Restoration Hardware’s chic light strings, patterned on traditional Italian designs, and warm up with one of their river rock fire bowls and fire tables fuelled with eco-friendly citronella gel (2434 Yonge St.).

Alternately create a side table or centrepiece of beeswax candles — for a healthy alternative to the regular paraffin models — which can be found at local farmers’ markets and health food stores and online at places like Lanark, Ontario’s Bee Glo (


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