Each year, the Casual Market Chicago four-day trade show attracts attendees who serve the outdoor and casual living sector. This event gives design professionals an opportunity to witness the latest innovations in their industry as well as discover new trends related to product design, color, and textiles, and more. Leading up the 2016 show, representatives of the market announced what they deemed to be the latest trends of the year, and Furniture Today shared the details on its site. To stay on trend when creating an outdoor space, use the following guidelines:
Mix hard and soft elements.
Juxtaposition plays a key role in making your patio look its best, and this year’s trend involves mixing hard and soft surfaces together to create balance. The goal is to mimic the feel of nature by combining hard elements, like wood, with soft features, such as grass and foliage. Keep in mind, though, that tougher woods can also have a softened look. For instance, a piece of wood exposed to the sun for a long period of time becomes weathered, fading from a vibrant brown to a subtler grey hue.
A good way to outfit a space with both hard and soft elements is to combine materials and textures. For the latter, find pieces that have a distressed or aged appearance. Natural woods look great, but they may not always be accessible or affordable. Fortunately, many manufacturers have developed a method for artificially duplicating the appearance of weathered wood.
You can bring in other “soft” elements with textiles. For example, you can place accent pillows on seating for added comfort, and linens can accompany a table setting for an al fresco dinner. Fabric-covered seat cushions, throws, potted plants, and hanging curtains can also help you soften the appearance of a patio.
For hard elements, look to woods, again, and metals. These materials look aesthetically appealing together. Metals that work well as part of outdoor furnishings include wrought iron, aluminum, and stainless steel. In terms of wood, any type is good. However, teak is popular for its beautiful grains that shine through the wood’s silver-grey coloring. Its durability withstands extreme changes in temperature, so it lasts longer and is less likely to rot. Further, the wood is termite resistant.
Find inspiration in nature.
Organic materials highlight the rawness of nature. Outdoor furniture designers take this into consideration when decorating spaces. Wicker and bamboo are more traditional materials found in most residential patios. Both types offer numerous options when it comes to color, weight, and pricing. For an even more substantial, but still organic look, you can personalize your patio with redwood or cedar pieces. Both have a high tolerance against decay and warping. The woods are also nearly impervious to bugs.
Does your patio sit near a pool? Choose teak wood. As stated before, it is durable, plus it has water-resistant qualities. HGTV recently spotlighted teak wood in its “15 Hot Outdoor Furniture Trends” list, featuring a sturdy, deep sectional covered in plush cushions and pillows. The base was made of teak that had a weathered finish.
Outdoor furniture has evolved from basic collections of chairs and tables. Today, the industry thrives on producing and selling pieces that embody fashion and make a statement with patterns and color. Currently trending are mid-century modern looks and designs that include architectural elements.
The best place to get inspiration for your outdoor decor is to look at indoor home furnishings collections. For functionality, opt for an outdoor dining set that sits eight or more people, just like you would want for inside. Pick a neutral color that you can easily transform to match changing trends by adding pillows, linens, and other accents.
If you like to entertain, purchase a seating set that comes with an ottoman. The ottoman not only serves as a place to prop up your feet, it can also provide extra seating. To make your seating arrangement stand out, decorate it with bold-colored cushions. You can also use more eclectic materials that boast lively prints.
Another decorating option involves playful patterns. A good example is the Trefle collection by Fermob. The company took plain pillows and personalized them with clusters of four-leaf clovers. All are white, except one clover that is a different color. The pillow itself is interesting to look at and helps tie in other pieces of the collection that have a similar color scheme. You can bring these out for St. Patrick’s Day or any time of the year because of the appeal of the unexpected color of the clovers.
For an outdoor kitchen setup, invest in nicer stools that have a metal base and comfortable cushioning for the seat. The goal is to make something simple, like a stool, look like it was purposefully purchased to fit a designer space.