September 29, 2023


A Home Grown Success

Design experts offer advice to elevate your outdoor living areas

Inform Interiors’ Nancy Bendtsen and Livingspace Interiors’ Ross Bonetti share top tips

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Choosing the right outdoor furniture, lighting, and decor is key to making your backyard a summertime oasis. Whether you prefer a minimalist, sleek esthetic or comfy boho look, there are points to consider when designing these areas.

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Postmedia sat down with two Vancouver-based design experts, owner of Inform Interiors Nancy Bendtsen and owner of Livingspace Interiors Ross Bonetti, to hear their top tips on decorating for the outdoors and what’s trending in outdoor living this summer.

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Cohesive indoor-outdoor crossover

The way people decorate their outdoor living areas reflects what’s happening inside their homes, says Bendtsen. You’ll see the same sofas and chairs used indoors and outdoors, with people looking for pieces robust enough to move outdoors when the weather is good.

This ensures outdoor living areas look less old-fashioned, says Bendtsen.

Ultra modern backyard of Bonetti 11 house, in West Vancouver; a Livingspace Homes Project.
Ultra modern backyard of Bonetti 11 house, in West Vancouver; a Livingspace Homes Project. Photo by Supplied by Livingspace Interior /PNG

At Livingspace, they’re also seeing this, says Bonetti. Outdoor furniture is becoming more elevated in terms of quality, with detailed pieces becoming increasingly popular.

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“Our brands are blurring the line between indoor and outdoor furniture, with consumers looking to keep the flow and ambience going from inside to out,” he says.

Make yourself comfortable

Bonetti says people are starting to see the value in maximizing their outdoor living areas. They’re seeing more outdoor furniture that is high-quality and comfortable.

Bendtsen says comfort is a major focus when furnishing outdoor areas this summer. It’s all about comfy cushions, chairs, sofas, lighting and surfaces.

“Blinding, shiny anything is not nice,” says Bendtsen. Mellow furnishes are preferable, like wood.

Create the best ambience

If you want to create a lovely ambient feeling outdoors, pay attention to the lighting, says Bendtsen.

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“Lighting is huge. So many indoor lights are being perfected as outdoor lights. Beautiful lighting makes an oasis in the garden,” she says. Bendtsen recommends the Captain Flint outdoor light by Flos and outdoor lighting by Bocci.

Bonetti says there are other ways to create a lovely ambience in your outdoor areas, such as unique seating like ottomans and stools, outdoor wall sconces, and decorative centrepieces for your outdoor tables.

Outdoor stools by Knoll available at Livingspace Interiors.
Outdoor stools by Knoll available at Livingspace Interiors. Photo by Supplied by Knoll /PNG

Design for where you live

In climates like Vancouver, it’s essential to choose the right products for ever-changing and unpredictable elements, says Bonetti.

“When searching for outdoor furniture, I recommend considering whether your space is covered or even canopied by a tree. Choosing the correct material and understanding how the product may change when exposed to the elements is key.”

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Outdoor furniture requires more maintenance than indoor furniture, says Bonetti. Protective covers, regular cleaning, and sometimes off-season storage are good ways to protect your investment. And it’s well worth it when you think of all the enjoyment you get from entertaining outdoors.

Standout designs this summer

For Bendtsen, it’s the Carl Hansen chair MG501, which is “now done in teak with a weatherproof cane and is foldable and so comfy!” And the Vaarnii tables and benches, which are beautifully designed and made.

Bonetti says designer Paola Lenti creates beautiful, vibrant outdoor pieces. “These are two of my favourite pieces: the Orbitry swivel chair and the Altopiano table.”

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