Being able to enjoy a relaxed outdoor lifestyle is one of the privileges we get to enjoy as Kiwis. However, choosing the right outdoor furniture can be a difficult endeavour. Our outdoor spaces should be as well considered as our interiors, while considering additional factors such as exposure to sun, rain and cold.
We spoke to the founders of Kinnell & Posch who answered some questions about how to select the best outdoor furniture for our lifestyles.
Creating and planning a beautiful outdoor living space can be a daunting task. What would you suggest is a good place to start?
Start with building a mood board based on what you are trying to achieve with your outdoor living space. Pinterest is a great destination to find inspiration for your project. Instagram is also a good reference point.
Once you have a good idea of what you want, engage with a landscape architect to help achieve your vision. Bear in mind, landscape architects are able to source materials and products at trade prices so although they may charge you a fee for their services, you will make most of it back through their discounted costs.
Regarding your furniture choices, if they fit with your vision, then go for natural, sustainable products. They go a long way towards connecting with the natural environment, while bringing a sense of calm into your home-life.
Any design tips for ensuring that your outdoor living area complements your indoor living area?
Look at creating harmony. If you have rugs in your indoor living area, introduce a large rug to your outdoors. Outdoor rugs add a layer of comfort while providing synergy.
Conversely, for example, if you want to add a lot of greenery to your outdoor space, then it’s a good idea to compliment that by adding some plants to your indoor space.
Indoor, outdoor flow is so important to being able to fully appreciate and enjoy your home, especially in New Zealand where outdoor living can be a feature of your home-life all year round.
How can you be sure the furniture you are considering is made from high quality materials and fabrics? What questions should be asked of providers/manufacturers?
Great question. New Zealand is a tough environment where poor quality outdoor furniture does not last long. To mitigate non-sustainable purchasing decisions, outdoor furniture fabrics need to be hard wearing, washable, water resistant and mould resistant. Outdoor fabrics should also come with a fade warranty. Five years is the gold standard.
You want your cushions to be made using quick drying foam, or QDF. QDF is significantly more porous than normal foam which means it drains very quickly following heavy rain, preventing the core of the foam from being compromised.
The same principles apply to furniture frames – the wood, the metals, the wicker. Poor quality resources quickly become cracked, bent and broken. If you are buying teak furniture, check that it has been kiln dried. We kiln dry all our timber before manufacturing. This ensures the timber does not change shape or warp when exposed to extreme heat or cold temperatures.
Any tips for choosing furniture that won’t need a lot of weather protection?
The better the materials used in the manufacturing of your outdoor furniture, the less weather protection it needs. Aluminium and stainless steel are great for industrial settings. At home, both teak and natural rattan are both very durable materials. They do silver off to a beautiful grey-silver colour however if that’s not the look you’re after, by regularly applying a clear sealant both products will retain their natural honey colour.
What suggestions do you have to visually soften the hard surfaces of an outdoor living area?
Outdoor rugs are underestimated and often overlooked. Again, you want to create that indoor-outdoor flow and incorporating a rug into your design can go a long way towards achieving that goal.
Shade is crucial. There are many ways of creating shade. One tip if using sun umbrellas is to look at a duo system if you have a large area to protect. Two canopies off one mast, deployed using easy-glide technology, is the ultimate in sun umbrella protection. If you can, deploy a hammock in a nearby tree. Nothing softens the blow more than the notion of lazing between a couple of palm trees on a deserted paradise island. Even better, hang between two palms, if you have them.
Outdoor furniture choices are also crucial in this regard. It is better to buy well designed, high quality outdoor furniture which has been made from raw, natural materials.
Ultimately, great design and great quality outdoor furniture provides a wonderful platform for getting the most enjoyment out of your home.