In a wet & cold environment such as ours, you may ask, why would the great outdoors come under the remit of an interior design brief? Good Question! But there is an answer. Living spaces, either indoor or outdoor require the expert input of designers to maximise their potential.
It seems that in the past, the outdoor living space was somewhat overlooked and given little attention when it comes to design. Maybe it was because there is so little opportunity to utilise the space, that we do not see that it warrants designing. But now we & most would disagree, because regardless of the weather, a properly designed outdoor space will tend to be used more if the design criteria of appeal, fit for purpose and comfort are applied.
The Romans called Ireland, Hibernia, ‘the land of winter’, the name stuck and for good reason. The vast majority of the days are grey with rain and wind not far away. But resilient and determined and more often than not, we Irish now brave the elements and make the best of it. So now there is a real desire for interior design for exterior projects especially in Bars, Restaurants & Hotels! That steely determination, (matching the colour of the skies above) pushes us to extend our social space to the great outdoors. Ultimately we know we cannot depend on Sun Gods, so we must be resourceful in making outdoor living possible in Ireland and consider the many factors that may or not make it work!
Designed in such a way the garden or outdoor spaces of your project should integrate seamlessly with the interior and should not be weather dependent. InsideOut living as we call it (See the comparison to InsideUp?), it is a more expensive approach but the rewards are priceless.
What are the challenges we must consider when creating your Inside Out Living space?
Firstly we must counter the biggest challenge, rain protection. Depending on the space this can be a conservatory, lean to, awning, canopy or parasol. The next natural challenge is the wind. Is the site exposed, elevated, facing into the prevailing wind? These are very import factors to consider.
What’s under foot? We would always advise the harder the surface the longer it will last and the easier it is to maintain. So we would recommend stone over decking, although you cannot beat the natural feel, smell and look of timber. However timber requires a lot of maintenance, can be a slip risk and is not as long lasting as stone.
With very little or no natural heat source heating is the next consideration, the two main options are gas, either mains, or bottle and wood burners. Where possible recommend the use of gas as it is clean and quick. Again with wood it looks and smells great but it is hard work and takes along time to heat up. You cannot beat a flame for atmosphere especially at night. I would recommend a gas fire or fire pit for your space. These give warmth and invite you into the space
Lighting and accessories are the icing on the cake. We would strongly suggest that you push the budget to allow for all your lighting to be dimmable. This adds an extra dimension to the space by allowing you to create the mood. Mood lighting and music is a must for an outdoor social space for your customers.
When using colour we go for soft warm earthy tones as these will compliment the natural surroundings and visually warm the space. With furniture there are a few basic things to consider. One is the size and layout of the space. So often due to lack of preparation we find that the furniture is inappropriate for the space. We would suggest steering away from steel or iron furniture, they are just not suitable for our climate they will quickly rust. Go for aluminium or artificial rattan finish. These are your best options and there are many.
This is Hibernia, but if you let is think outside the box your customers can live outside the box.