Our Caribbean climate means that we are able to enjoy the outdoor spaces in our homes as much as we relish the inside; many of us have the use of outdoor sitting rooms and dining spaces to great advantage when thinking of overall home design.

Creating welcoming, comfortable, stylish yet functional outdoor rooms requires understanding of what works with the elements to create a balanced and a harmonious scheme. We have put together our top 10 tips for decorating outside spaces:

  1. The approach to decorating an outdoor area is much the same as you would plan any indoor space. Start by selecting a colour scheme that will work and co-ordinate with outdoor walls, floors, and surrounding finishes. You want the area to flow seamlessly from the inside rooms. Consider the style of your indoor space and ensure that the mood is not broken as you move to the outdoor area. 

  1. Consider the size of your space. If it is limited, ensure the furniture you choose is not too big. Similarly, if you have a vast area to fill, make sure the items you select are not dwarfed by the space they are inhabiting.

  1. Often a large terrace or deck will be multi-functional. There are several ways to delineate spaces. Outdoor rugs are an excellent means to separate spaces for function. Furniture for a seating area can be placed around a rug to bring the grouping together. Group pieces of furniture to create different seating arrangements. Flower planters or side tables can be placed to create a natural barrier between a dining area and a casual seating area, allowing access whilst defining the space.

  1. Create a focal point for furniture placement; focus on the view, the pool, or a centre table for example.

  1. When purchasing outdoor furniture, always buy the best that you can afford. The better-quality pieces usually come with a warranty and will last much longer. Always ask the seller if the line is all-weather—suitable for an uncovered space—or if it should be placed in a more protected area.

  1. Use materials and fabrics that are specifically durable in outdoor elements. Regular pillows and cushions will fade very quickly with the harsh sunlight. Synthetic resin wickers, synthetic woods, and Sunbrella type fabrics, although sometimes more expensive, will pay off financially in the long run as they last much longer.

  1. Think about how the sun or shade will affect the space at different times of the day. If a dining table is going to be in full sun when your guests are likely to be eating, try to find a way to shade the area, with outdoor curtains or an umbrella.
  1. Don’t forget artwork and wall decor. Mirrors, iron sculptures, palette gardens, and sconces can also double as interesting artwork. Wall-gardens are increasingly popular and can be combined with lighting.
  2. Lighting is a very important part of outdoor decorating. Again, as you would indoors, use a mixture of light sources for optimal effect. Overhead lights—preferably dimmable—together with side lights and table lamps are all important. Don’t rule out candle lighting as well as battery operated candles and string lights which are especially useful outdoors.
  1. Plants and trees make a huge difference to outdoor spaces. Be prepared to mix the real thing with fake plants to tell ‘the home’s story.’ Silk plants mixed with real are less noticeable, practical, and blend in well.