Designing your dream outdoor patio is an exhilarating journey of creativity. Envisioning the perfect oasis for relaxation, entertainment, and connection with nature, it really is wonderful thing to think about on a cold, grey, winter day. Picture a sprawling space seamlessly blending with the natural surroundings, where every element is meticulously curated to evoke a sense of tranquility and luxury. The design begins with the layout, carefully crafted to optimize functionality and flow, with designated areas for dining, lounging, and gathering around a cozy fire pit. Lush greenery and vibrant flowers cascade from elegant planters, adding layers of texture and color to the landscape. The focal point of the patio is a stylish pergola draped with billowing curtains, providing shade and intimacy, while twinkling string lights create a magical ambiance as the sun sets. Luxurious outdoor furniture upholstered in sumptuous fabrics beckons you to sink into its plush cushions, while a bubbling fountain serenades with its soothing melody. Every detail, from the choice of materials to the arrangement of accessories, is thoughtfully considered to elevate the outdoor experience and transform your patio into a sanctuary of serenity and sophistication. With all the details and planning that are required to design your dream outdoor patio it can seem a little overwhelming so we have put together a few tips to help with your planning.
Renovating your patio during the winter months can be a strategic move, as it allows you to take advantage of the off-season and potentially get better deals on materials and services. Here's a comprehensive plan for your summer patio renovations:
Define Your Goals:
Determine what you want to achieve with your patio renovation. Are you looking to improve functionality, aesthetics, or both? Do you want to add features like an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, or seating area? To help you define your vision snip photos out of magazines (or save pins on Pinterest) when you find a patio or backyard that inspires you. What are the elements of the photo that you are attracted to the most? Keep track of these items.
Establish a budget for your renovation project. Consider the costs of materials, labor, permits, and any additional features you want to incorporate. Leave some room in your budget for unexpected expenses.
Research and Design:
Browse online resources, magazines, and social media platforms for inspiration.
Sketch out a rough design or work with a professional designer to create a detailed plan.
Consider factors like the layout, materials, color scheme, and landscaping elements.
Choose high-quality materials that suit your design aesthetic and climate conditions.
Research different options for flooring, paving stones, decking, outdoor furniture, lighting fixtures, and decorative elements.
Consider factors like durability, maintenance requirements, and sustainability.
Research and interview contractors or landscapers with experience in patio renovations.
Check references, licenses, and insurance to ensure you're working with reputable professionals.
Get multiple quotes and compare them based on cost, timeline, and services offered.
Check local building codes and regulations to determine if you need permits for your renovation project.
Apply for permits well in advance to avoid delays in the construction process.
Once you've finalized your design and selected materials, place orders for everything you'll need for the renovation.
Consider lead times for delivery and factor them into your project timeline.
Clear the patio area of any furniture, plants, or debris.
Arrange for any necessary utilities to be shut off or relocated temporarily.
Prepare the site for construction by leveling the ground, removing old paving, and addressing any drainage issues.
Work closely with your contractors to ensure the project stays on schedule and meets your expectations.
Monitor the progress of the construction and address any concerns or changes promptly.
Keep communication lines open with your contractors to avoid misunderstandings.
Once the major construction work is complete, focus on the finishing touches. The little details are what make the most impact on your finished product.
Install lighting, outdoor furniture, planters, and any other decorative elements.
Make sure all elements of the patio are functioning correctly and meet your quality standards. For more inspiration and information we have included a few links:
Maintenance and Enjoyment:
Develop a maintenance plan to keep your newly renovated patio in top condition.
Regularly clean and inspect the patio, repair any damage, and seal surfaces as needed. Invest in quality covers to protect your furniture in the winter months. For more information and tips on covering your furniture for the winter months visit our blog - Covering your patio furniture for winter weather.
Finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautifully renovated outdoor space with family and friends during the summer months.
Saving money on your patio renovation doesn't mean sacrificing quality or style. Here are several ways to cut costs without compromising the overall outcome:
Set a Realistic Budget: Establish a clear budget from the outset and stick to it. Be sure to include a buffer for unexpected expenses.
Plan Ahead: Avoid rush decisions by planning your renovation well in advance. This allows you to take advantage of sales, discounts, and off-season pricing for materials and services.
DIY Where Possible: Consider tackling certain aspects of the renovation yourself, such as demolition, painting, or simple landscaping tasks. However, be honest about your skills and limitations to avoid costly mistakes.
Reuse and Repurpose: Salvage and repurpose existing materials, such as pavers, bricks, or furniture, whenever possible. This reduces the need for new purchases and saves money on disposal fees.
Comparison Shop: Take the time to research and compare prices for materials and services from different suppliers and contractors. Don't forget to factor in the quality and reputation of the products and professionals.
Consider Alternative Materials: Explore cost-effective alternatives to high-end materials. For example, concrete can mimic the look of more expensive stone or wood decking at a fraction of the cost.
Opt for Standard Sizes: Choose standard-sized materials and fixtures whenever possible, as custom or specialized items often come with a higher price tag.
Minimize Structural Changes: Stick to the existing layout of your patio to avoid costly structural modifications or permits. Focus on cosmetic improvements and enhancements instead.
Shop Sales and Clearance: Keep an eye out for sales, clearance events, and discounts at home improvement stores, online retailers, and local suppliers. You can often find great deals on last season's inventory or discontinued items.
Negotiate with Contractors: Don't hesitate to negotiate with contractors for a better price or ask if they offer discounts for bundling services or referrals.
Prioritize Needs Over Wants: Focus your budget on essential elements of your patio renovation, such as structural repairs or functional upgrades, before splurging on optional features or luxuries.
Phased Approach: If your budget is limited, consider dividing your renovation into smaller phases and completing them over time as funds become available. This allows you to spread out the costs and avoid financial strain.
By implementing these strategies and being strategic with your spending, you can achieve a beautiful and functional patio renovation while staying within your budget.
Although at times it will be tiring and frustrating, the end result will be worth it as you sip on a cool drink and soak in the serenity of your surroundings, you can't help but smile, grateful for this moment of blissful tranquility. Time seems to slow down, allowing you to fully appreciate the simple yet profound joy of being present in the here and now. In this moment, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the comfort of your newly finished patio, you feel a deep sense of peace and contentment wash over you, leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed or have questions the staff at Cottage Culture is here to help, offering free styling advise and layouts of the furniture in your outdoor space. Visit our showroom in Hensall, Ont. to sit in and get a feel for your new patio furniture before you make your purchase. With free delivery (within an hour distance from Hensall) and installation our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy your personal outdoor oasis!
Entertaining outdoors during the winter holds a unique charm. The winter landscapes often showcase a serene and magical beauty with snow-covered surroundings and glistening frost with the natural winter scenery becoming a picturesque backdrop, adding a special touch of enchantment to outdoor events. However, as enchanting as winter landscapes may be, they are also cold. An outdoor fire pit is essential to an enhanced winter outdoor gathering for many reasons.
Cozy Ambiance. The contrast of the chilly weather against the cozy warmth of the flames that emanate from the outdoor fire pit creates a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
Focal Point. A fire pit becomes the centerpiece of the outdoor setting, providing warmth and mesmerizing visual element. The dancing flames create a captivating and comforting atmosphere, encouraging guests to gather around and share stories.
Functional Warmth. Winter evenings or afternoons can be chilly, but a fire pit provides functional warmth, making the outdoor space comfortable for socializing. It allows people to stay outside for longer periods without feeling the biting cold.
Cooking and S’mores. Fire pits can be used for cooking, whether it’s roasting marshmallows for s’mores or preparing simple snacks. This adds an interactive and enjoyable element to the gathering, as people engage in the process of creating and sharing food.
Encourage Outdoor Activities. Winter sports and activities like ice skating, sledding, or even a simple walk in the snow can be complemented by a cozy fire pit setting for relaxation afterward.
Decorative Lighting. The soft glow of the fire pit, combined with other decorative lighting elements, can create a magical and enchanting outdoor space, making winter entertaining visually appealing.
In summary, outdoor entertaining in winter has a charm tooted in the season’s unique qualities. A fire pit enhances this experience by providing warmth, a focal point for socializing, and an opportunity for interactive activities, all while creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere in the crisp winter air.
Choosing an outdoor fire pit for your outdoor space can be overwhelming as there are many options. The outdoor fire pits from Iron Embers are not only high in quality but also high in design. With each fire pit having their own unique features, we have highlighted some the different options available.
The Octagonal Cottager. Built from ¼” steel, this fire pit is made to last. The Octagonal Cottager is the perfect balance of style and function. Unique rod rings surrounding the fire pit add an eye-catching design as well as create the perfect resting spot for your cast iron frying pan. To further the outdoor cooking experience, this fire pit comes with a grill adapter giving you the option for a stainless-steel cooking grill that is adjustable to help you get the perfect temperature or the option of a BBQ plate grill with a fixed height design sturdy enough for heavy items.
The Polygon Fire Bowl. If you are looking for elegance, then look no further than the Polygon Fire Bowl from Iron Embers. Crafted with precision laser cut parts to create an eye-catching design, this fire bowl is designed to be a star at your next gathering. Available in three different sizes, there is sure to be a perfect-sized Polygon Fire Bowl to fit your outdoor space.
The Pyramid Fireplace. This outdoor fireplace is a stunning architectural feature for your outdoor space, even when it is not in use! Designed to kick the heat out on all sides of the pyramid, keeping warm by the fire is not a problem. A large hinged door with an easy grip handle allows easy access to add fuel to your outdoor fire all while keeping it contained. All of these benefits of the Pyramid Fireplace make it our most popular outdoor fireplace.
The Modern Cube. With clean lines and modern design, the Modern Cube is a functional piece of craftmanship in your own backyard. The deep, thick sides of this fire pit radiate the heat outwards while protecting your legs from the flames. With a variety of different sizes and a small footprint the Modern Cube Fire Pit is a popular choice for many backyard landscapes. For versatility there is the option of an additional steel flat top lid that fits perfectly on top of the fire pit when it is not use creating a stunning coffee table.
Using a fire pit in the winter can be a cozy and enjoyable experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some tips for safety using an outdoor fire pit during the winter months:
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of an outdoor fire in the winter while minimizing the risks associated with outdoor fires.
As far as maintenance of your Canadian-made outdoor fire pit, Iron Embers offers perfectly fitted covers for all of their outdoor fire pits. These covers not only help to protect your outdoor fire pit from the natural elements but also keep your fire pit dry so it is ready for you to use when you want to build your outdoor winter fire.
It is recommended that once a year you give your fire pit a good cleaning and scrap off any surface rust that may appear. Once the surface rust is scraped off and you have removed any remaining particles apply a coat of Matte Black Touch Up Paint available from your Iron Embers provider to make your fire pit look brand new! It is important to use the specified Matte Black Touch Up Paint from your provider as this paint is a high-heat enamel paint designed for the outdoor fire pits.
As you can see, there is not a great deal of maintenance involved in caring for your Canadian-made outdoor fire pit. With just a little amount of care, your Iron Embers fire pit will be enjoyed for generations by your family.
Whether we like it or not, winter is part of living in Canada and although for some of us it seems like it lasts forever, this too shall pass so why not try and enjoy it! Winter outdoor entertaining can be a unique and delightful experience, offering a chance to enjoy the crisp winter air. For more information and helpful tips on entertaining outdoors in the winter months be sure to visit the following blogs:
With thoughtful planning, winter outdoor entertaining in the Canadian winters can be a joyful and memorable experience for everyone involved.
Embracing the crisp wintry air, adorned with twinkling lights and joyous melodies, the holiday season gracefully dances upon our doorstep once more. Amidst the frosty embrace of December, let us gather around the hearth of togetherness and celebrate the season! Celebrating the holidays at the cottage surrounded by nature holds a unique and enchanting charm that captivates hearts and creates unforgettable memories. Integrating Scandinavian design elements into your festive outdoor winter space is easy to do and helps make your gathering cozy and memorable for your guests.
Scandinavian Christmas décor is renowned for its simplicity, natural elements, and cozy yet elegant style. When extended to outdoor space, it beautifully blends with the winter landscape, creating a serene and inviting atmosphere. Here are some examples of how Scandinavian Christmas décor complements outdoor spaces:
Natural Elements: Scandinavian décor often incorporates natural elements like pine cones, evergreen branches, and birch wood. Outdoors. These elements seamlessly blend with the surroundings, especially against a backdrop of snow, adding a rustic and authentic feel to the space.
Candlelight and Warmth: Candles play a significant role in Scandinavian Christmas décor. Placing lanterns, candle holders, or string lights along pathways or on outdoor tables creates a warm and welcoming ambiance, especially during the darker winter evenings.
Simple and Elegant Design: Scandinavian décor embraces simplicity and minimalism. Using simple yet elegant ornaments, such as wooden decorations, straw ornaments, or minimalist wreaths on doors and fences, brings a touch of sophistication to outdoor spaces without overwhelming the natural beauty.
Hygge-Inspired Coziness: The concept of ‘hygge’ which embodies coziness and comfort, is central to Scandinavian culture. Adding soft blankets, fur throws, or comfortable seating around a fire pit or outdoor seating area encourages people to gather, relax and enjoy the winter landscape.
Red and White accents: Traditional Scandinavian colours for Christmas are often red and white. Integrating these colours through textiles like cushions, tablecloths, or ribbons on wreaths and garlands adds a festive touch while harmonizing with the wintery scenery.
Evergreen Decorations: Evergreen wreaths, garlands, and swags made of pine, spruce, or fir can be adorned with simple white or red ribbons, berries, or wooden ornaments. Placed on doors, fences, or outdoor structures, these decorations evoke the freshness of the season.
Natural Centerpieces: Decorating outdoor tables or gathering space with natural centerpieces composed of branches, pinecones, and seasonal foliage in vases or baskets adds a rustic yet charming appeal to the settling.
Incorporating Scandinavian Christmas décor into outdoor space revolves around embracing nature, simplicity, warmth, and creating a welcoming environment that celebrates the beauty of winter. It’s about harmonizing with the surroundings while infusing a touch of festive cheer and comfort into the outdoor setting.
Creating an outdoor festive winter wonderland with a Scandinavian vibe can transform your space into a cozy and inviting area for holiday gatherings and help make your function memorable for your guests. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
Choose outdoor furniture that embodies Scandinavian design principles – clean lines, minimalistic style, and functionality. Opt for wooden or metal pieces in light tones to compliment the Nordic theme.
Consider wooden benches, simple chairs, or sleek tables that blend well with the natural surroundings.
Enhance the furniture with cozy textiles in neutral tones or classic Scandinavian patterns like simple stripes or checks. Use wool, alpaca or faux-wool blankets, cushions, and sheepskin throws for warmth and comfort.
Arrange the furniture in a central gathering area, such as around a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. This focal point will encourage coziness and conversation.
Natural and Minimalist Decorations
Embrace natural elements in your decorations. Adorn the furniture and nearby areas with evergreen garlands, spuce branches, pinecones, and birchwood accents.
Incorporate minimalist and handmade decorations like simple wreaths, wooden ornaments, or straw decorations, which are characteristic of Scandinavian design.
Use soft and warm lighting to create a cozy atmosphere. Opt for lanterns, string lights, or candles placed in lantern holders or hurricane lamps to illuminate the space softly.
Scandinavian Colour Palette
Stick to a neutral colour palette with pops of red or green. Use whites, greys, and natural wood tones as the primary colours, adding subtle touches of traditional holiday colours sparingly.
Introduce elements that evoke “hygge,” the Danish concept of coziness and contentment. Consider placing blankets in baskets or providing warm drinks like mulled wine or hot cocoa to enhance the cozy ambiance.
Incorporate rustic and functional accents such as wooden crates or baskets filled with firewood, adding both a decorative and practical touch to the space.
If available, incorporate natural focal points like trees or bushes. Adorn them with simple lights or garlands, keeping the decoration minimalistic yet festive.
Ensure that the outdoor furniture is weather-resistant and easy to maintain. Allow your teak furniture to complete dry before storing again indoors. Do not put any outdoor furniture, throws or blankets away again in storage damp. Allow all pieces that you use in your outdoor winter wonderland to dry completely.
By integrating Scandinavian design elements, natural accents, cozy textiles, and soft lighting into your outdoor space, you can create a serene and inviting festive winter wonderland that captures the essence of Nordic charm and warmth.
Outdoor lighting can not be overlooked, even in the daytime. String lights around the main area that you will be gathering is a must, even during the daytime the winter skies in Canada are more grey than blue, so better to be prepared and have the string lights hung and ready to go for when guests arrive.
Twinkle lights in nearby shrubs, bushes and trees create a depth to your outdoor setting adding to the magic. Keep in mind these shrubs, bushes and trees don’t all have to be evergreens to adorn them with strings of twinkle lights, placing these lights on bare branches also gives a special ambiance.
Another form of lighting to add to your Scandinavian Christmas outdoor cottage retreat are lanterns. Place the candle-filled lanterns on steps, by chairs or on tables to add a feeling of warmth to the outdoor space (they will not give off enough heat to warm a person, but the glow is sometimes all you need to feel warm!). Grouping these lanterns in small groups of three maybe with a spruce bough entwined creates a focal point in a corner if needed.
When using candles for outdoor use, don’t overlook the battery-operated versions. Admittedly these are a more expensive option, when you are hosting your get-together, you won’t have to worry about the candles staying lit. Just remember to bring the candles in when you are done with them. Regular candles also work well and are a more cost-effective option.
Throws, Sheepskins, and hot chocolate! These are the three things that you can not have too many of. Drape throws on the backs or arms of chairs as well as pile extras in baskets. Easy access will make your guests more inclined to snuggle up and enjoy themselves.
Sheepskins on chair seats, strewn on benches or even placed on the back of chairs to help create a wind break add to the cozy factor and create a sense of warmth and hygge.
Hot chocolate as well as all of the extra additives at the ready make for happy guests old or young! Consider leaving out a tray filled with candy canes, marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, White chocolate chunks, butterscotch and chocolate sauce or whatever else you can think of that would make for a great hot chocolate.
All in all, if you keep in mind simplicity, nature and function when you are putting together your Scandinavian inspired outdoor space to entertain in you will end up with a cozy place for you and your company to make memories in!
Remember when choosing your patio furniture to use for your Outdoor Scandinavian inspired entertaining space that not all outdoor furniture is suitable for winter months. Stay away from pieces that have deep cushion, although these are warmer to sit in, they will be cumbersome to move around and take a long time to dry. Opt for warm blankets, throws and sheepskins to warm and soften your seating areas as these are easy to bring indoors and dry off in no time.
Glass-top tables are another item that we do not recommend using in your Outdoor Scandinavian inspired entertaining space as the cold temperatures are hard on glass and nobody wants to be finding pieces of broken glass in the snow!
For more informaion regarding Hygge and patio furniture in the winter, click on these blog posts for an interesting read!
We all know that the holiday season can be stressful, trying to make everything perfect for everyone. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy your family and friends during this time. It’s the little moments that will be remembered. Indulge in conversation with loved ones you haven’t seen in a long time, the rest can wait. By choosing furniture you may already have or simple wooden furniture that is easy to store, decorating simply with what nature has already provided, and having food and drinks at the ready for guests to munch on you will decrease your stress level creating a calm atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
May this cherished season be a symphony of kindness, a celebration of love, and an ode to the beauty found in simple moments shared.
As our Canadian landscape becomes a canvas for nature’s artistry with trees adorned in a myriad of colours – fiery reds, burnt oranges, and vibrant yellows intermingled with fading greens and people wrapped in cozy layers stroll along pathways adorned with pumpkins and hay bales it’s a beautiful time to visit the cottage! Fire pits can greatly enhance the experience of fall cottaging, as they provide warmth, ambiance and a focal point for socializing. There are several more reasons why fire pits are considered essential during fall cottaging, we have listed a few:
Cottage Culture carries a large selection of Iron Embers fire pits which are handcrafted in Guelph, Ontario. Built from ¼” thick steel, these fire pits can be used in all four of our Canadian seasons. Known for the most durable fire pits created with expert craftmanship each Canadian-made fire pit comes with a 10-year guarantee.
The combination of stunning scenery, comfortable weather, cozy vibes, seasonal activities, and a quieter atmosphere make fall cottaging highly appealing for many people seeking a serene and rejuvenating getaway. Incorporating Scandinavian furniture and décor into your cottage for fall can also attribute to a serene and rejuvenating getaway for you and your guests. Cottage Culture is here to help you create a cozy, inviting atmosphere that complements the season. By using natural materials layered with cozy textiles and sprinkles of warm lighting we create a feeling of warmth and relaxation. We strive to create this feeling for all of our customers not only for fall, but for every season because we believe the cottage is a feeling not just a place! Contact us for a free decorating consultation.
Iron Embers fire pits are built for fire lovers. Proudly handcrafted in Guelph, Ontario each Iron Embers fire pit is welded solid and polished smooth by a team of expert fabricators. Built from ¼” thick steel for use all year these fire pits are a focal point in your outdoor space. Iron Embers has been building Canada’s most durable fire pit for over a decade and each Iron Embers fire pit comes with a 10-year guarantee.
Iron Embers fire pits are not only durable and practical but it’s the design and style that sets them apart. No matter what your personal style there is an Iron Embers fire pit to compliment your outdoor space (or be the centerpiece!).
These are only a few of the great fire pit options that are available at Cottage Culture for a full selection contact our knowledgeable staff and they will help you find the perfect fire pit for you.
Selecting the ideal wood-burning fire pit involves considering various factors to ensure it meets your needs and preferences. Here’s a guide to help you choose the perfect wood-burning fire pit for your space:
By considering these factors, you can choose a wood-burning fire pit that suits your space, lifestyle, and safety requirements while providing a cozy and enjoyable outdoor experience.
Now that you have chosen the perfect Canadian fire pit for your cottage it’s time to complement your fire pit with stylish outdoor furniture creating the cozy and inviting atmosphere while offering comfort and functionality. Here are our top 3 seating picks:
A place for everything and a everything in its place! As most campfires happen at dusk or in the evening it’s important to know where everything is. The Tamarack Log Holder not only holds the fuel for your fire but with the additional table top accessory becomes the perfect side table to hold your s’mores ingredients.
When choosing furniture, ensure it complements the style aesthetics of your cottage and outdoor space. Opt for materials that are durable and suitable for outdoor use to withstand sparks from the fire and changing weather conditions. Additionally, arrange the furniture in a way that encourages conversation and social interaction.
Cozy fall evenings by the fire can be incredibly inviting and memorable. Here are some ideas to make those moments even more memorable!
Remember safety first. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and supervise the fire pit to ensure it’s properly extinguished before calling it a night. With these ideas, you can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere for memorable fall evenings by the fire.
Anyone who has been reading about style of late, whether in home décor and design, or fashion, has read that a neutral palette is the trend, starting this past spring and continuing hot.
Cottage Culture has been on board with this neutrals trend from the store’s inception. It was an easy decision, since the outdoor furniture is Scandinavian in design – Brafab from Sweden, to be specific – and so has its basis in simple, clean architectural lines and a natural, neutral colouration.
Reflecting on Scandinavian or ‘Scandi’ Style, a Telegraph newspaper fashion writer, Lisa Armstrong, wrote about what she saw on the street, following her trip to Stockholm not long ago:
“We’ve all read about Scandi style, but what does that look like in reality?
Floaty dresses but not overpoweringly flowery. Trainers with everything (I didn’t spot many open-toed sandals – maybe it’s too chilly there most of the time to bother with them), no flashy logos, few strident colours, low key make-up and very little detectable facial surgery… all of which makes it surprisingly compatible with …[quality] Italian style, in fabrics so plush and tactile…
…As we know, Swedes, like their fellow Scandinavians, have an aversion to flash. That’s partially what makes Scandi style, another sartorial genre that’s risen in popularity, so attractive…
…There also happens to be a rich history and diverse culture (from Scandi noir to an uncomplicated attachment to nature that culminates in Sweden’s Midsommar festival) that makes it attractive to designers looking for fresh inspiration…”
To reinforce this point, the Telegraph also reported on lifestyle blogger, Reena Simon from Cardiff, and the Scandi influence on not only her UK home, but also her wardrobe.
“Reena Simon’s Cardiff home offers up the kind of creamy, rustic look that we’d all aspire to, if it weren’t for the messy and complicated reality of children, pets and their associated clutter. Except, Simon has all of these to navigate, too: three young daughters, a dog, a home renovation (now complete) – and she has also co-authored an interior design book, Scandi Rustic.”
“There’s no overstuffed wardrobe lurking out of shot. “Less is more,” – Reena says. “I don’t have lots and lots of clothes, and it’s quite a simple colour palette.” This is the smartest element of her style formula – it looks designer, even though most of it comes from the high street.”
We can all take a lesson from this ‘less is more’ approach, especially when planning our own outdoor area, and possibly, a late-summer outdoor gathering like the ‘Midsommar’ event of our Scandinavian compatriots.
If you are thinking that, in general, neutrals are repetitive and dull, it’s likely that you’ve read about bloggers or designers talking about the lack of colour in a space, using adjectives such as “boring” and “lifeless”. When any trend becomes popular enough to become a foundational part of design, it becomes more difficult to think and speak of it as fresh and new. But that’s not fair to neutrals and we think that they don’t get enough credit. Decorating with neutrals is a timeless and versatile choice, increasingly popular for those wishing to create calming, harmonious spaces to retreat to in our modern world – a place to recharge one’s batteries or just take a break from everything.
As a general guide, the neutral palette spans White, myriad Off-Whites, earthly Beige, Clay tones, and shades of Taupe through to Charcoal Grey tones and Black.
While neutrals may sometimes be underrated, we wish to convince you otherwise! Decorating with neutrals has always held enduring appeal. Many times, neutrals are the backbone of a space, creating a clean and calming environment for your minimalist taste, or perhaps serving as a canvas for other prints or colours within a space.
When used correctly, neutrals emphasize your patio, deck or porch. The key is developing a plan that involves neutrals as the backbone, and incorporates design options that ensure the space looks fresh and interesting.
Let us share some designers’ advice on how to master the neutral aesthetic, so you can create your own beautiful outdoor space using neutrals! The following eight topics provide an overview to get you started.
Using a Neutral Palette to Create a Cozy Space
Layering Neutral Tone
. Moodier Neutral Tones
Neutrals as a Base for Bolder Colours
Black for Contrast and to Ground
Employing Texture – Natural Materials and Fabric
Choose Neutral Furniture with Sculptural Shapes
Metallic Accents for Movement and Dimension
Your Outdoor Setting – It’s Part of the Decor
Neutrals seem to be forever linked with minimalism and modernism. But the Cottage-core aesthetic and cozier spaces also benefit from the quiet of neutral colours. By decorating with any of the neutrals that have warm undertones, such as beige, clay and taupe you can bring a cozy feel to an outdoor furniture setting, while keeping it feeling light and bright. Given its architectural style, much of the furniture also works well indoors.
Ruth Mottershead, the creative director of Little Greene suggests,
“for an uplifting but calming scheme, consider warm earthier neutrals paired with deeper hues to create a contemporary look”.
Vannes side tables
You might consider using a selection of neutral tones to avoid your neutral outdoor setting from looking ‘flat’. This can be easily achieved by layering in additional cushions, a cozy throw or two, or choosing additional outdoor furniture pieces that coordinate with the tones of your existing furniture.
For interior designer Georgia Zikas, a neutral palette is the perfect choice for a space that an owner wants to stand the test of time; “I am a big believer that classic does not need to mean boring” she says as she played with tonal greys in the project, and indicated that the subtle contrast between the various greys creates some dimension.
Moodier tones, like the deeper charcoal greys, are still neutral. However, the deeper palette feels more powerful, and really makes a statement thanks to the shade alone.
If you have a space that feels too ‘airy’ and lacking in definition, consider employing shades of charcoal, anthracite or espresso, perhaps in the furniture cushions, in a coffee table or side tables, an outdoor rug, or the furniture itself, whether you choose powder-coated aluminum in anthracite, or synthetic outdoor rattan.
Decorating your outdoor (or indoor!) room with neutrals can be a great way to showcase a stronger accent colour or colours, giving these colours a chance to shine. This approach allows you to add your own personality to a space. It’s also an easy and economical way to incorporate trendy colours which can change quickly, while keeping your base palette consistent.
Incorporating black into your outdoor setting can feel intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. Black can ground a space that feels too ‘airy’ and lacking in definition. Incorporating black is also a perfect way to add some edge and contrast to an outdoor furniture setting full of whites, tans and beiges.
Incorporating earthy materials will help bring a connection to nature, which is important in Scandinavian culture. It you are fortunate to have it, a natural stone patio or stone or brick retaining wall will add texture and dimension to your outdoor setting.
Consider choosing synthetic outdoor wicker or sustainable teak with the neutral toned upholstery cushions, for your outdoor furniture. The texture of rattan and natural wood will help to create interest and add depth to your neutral outdoor furniture scheme.
Likewise, textural fabrics will add depth and interest without the addition of, or need for colour. This texture can be added to a neutral palette through the addition of outdoor rugs, cushions, cozy throws, baskets to store extra throws or a footstool, which can also be an extra seat or an impromptu table.
A neutral palette is a wonderful way to showcase the beautiful design lines of Scandinavian furniture. The muted oatmeals and greys of the upholstery allow the furniture to stand out as pieces of functional art.
With their sleek open frames, Cottage Culture’s synthetic outdoor wicker furniture in the Covelo and Midway designs, and Lilja teak chairs keep the space feeling light and open, while the choice of a neutral palette helps focus attention on their iconic sculptural shapes.
Swapping out wooden accent pieces for metallic pieces, such as lanterns, can be an easy way to add more movement and eye-catching detail in an area that’s decorated in a neutral palette. The way light catches metallics also gives them dimension, adding another layer of interest to your outdoor setting. Glass accessories similarly add interest, with the glass keeping the eye moving along the space and not distracting.
Your landscape forms part of the décor, adding its own colour and movement to your outdoor furniture setting – the greenery, shrubs and flowers are all elements that add texture, dimension and interest to a neutral palette. And of course, plants and planters on a deck or patio are the final touch.
In summary, neutrals will create a cohesive look in your space that you can enjoy for a long time, and isn’t longevity what we all want right now? We hope the ideas we’ve shared here may help you add interest and freshness to your setting and allow you to find calm and lasting enjoyment in your outdoor environment for years to come, (although these ideas may be equally applied indoors as well)!
We would welcome you into our Cottage Culture showroom to share the pleasure of our outdoor Scandinavian style furniture with its neutral and architectural aesthetic.