Design Your Dream Outdoor Entertaining Area

by Carlisle Homes

Design Your Dream Outdoor Entertaining Area

Create an outdoor entertaining area you’ll love with these practical design and styling tips!

With the weather warming up, thoughts are turning to throwing open the doors and welcoming in the summer entertaining season. Your new Carlisle home comes complete with a beautiful, covered outdoor entertainer’s terrace that’s perfect for enjoying backyard barbecues, lazy Sunday brunches and dinner parties under the stars – all that’s needed are a few decorative touches to bring it alive.

Here, our expert interior designers show you how.

Where to start

When planning out the space, ask yourself a few key questions:

  • How do you want to use the space? Do you plan to dine outdoors, relax on sofas, gather around a fire pit… or all three?
  • How many people will you be hosting? Ensure there is enough seating to accommodate all your guests.
  • Do you plan to cook outdoors? A barbecue or built-in outdoor kitchen will allow you to whip up a feast alfresco.
  • Are you concerned about heat or glare? Add shading with an umbrella, awning, or shade sail, plus an outdoor ceiling fan to cool the area down.
  • How will guests move around? Position the dining table and any sofas so they don’t block access from your interior and ensure there’s enough room for guests to pull out their dining chairs comfortably.
Design Your Dream Outdoor Entertaining Area

Consider a space-savvy round or square table if your outdoor space is small or opt for a generous rectangular table to suit a grander alfresco area. Featured here: Indigo, Orana Estate, Clyde North

What to include

To make it truly comfortable and inviting, you’ll want to include some or all the following:

  • Comfortable seating: Think generous sofas, cushioned dining chairs, a pod chair hung in the corner, outdoor beanbags, and ottomans.
  • A dining setting: A dining table and chairs are essential if you plan to eat outdoors. If your outdoor area is small, consider a space-savvy round or square table. If it’s large and you often entertain a crowd, opt for a generous rectangular table.
  • Somewhere to pop a drink or nibbles: A coffee table and a couple or stools or side tables are all you need.
  • Heating: Plan to use the area in the cooler months and don’t have an outdoor fireplace? Consider introducing a portable, wall- or ceiling-mounted outdoor heater.
Design Your Dream Outdoor Entertaining Area

To create a sense of cohesion between your indoor and outdoor spaces, choose outdoor furniture with similar colours, and materials as your indoor furniture. Featured here: Macan, Newhaven Estate, Tarneit and Canterbury Grand Deluxe, Aurora Estate, Wollert

Set the mood

A few smart additions are all it takes to add a little sparkle to your next barbecue or dinner party: 

  • Lighting: Create a wonderful atmosphere and ensure guests can move safely around outside after dark with a mix of lights, such as wall sconces, step lights, solar garden lights, and a twinkling chandelier above the dining table.
  • A fire pit: For ambience and warmth, a portable fire pit is hard to beat. They’re also easy to store away in the summer months.
  • Outdoor speakers: Get the party going with a portable outdoor speaker where you can play tunes from your smartphone or tablet.

Choose colours and materials

Today’s outdoor entertaining areas boast all the comfort and luxury of our indoor spaces, with inviting seating and beautiful material mixes.

When it comes to choosing the shapes, colours, and materials of your outdoor furniture, take your cues from those used inside. This helps create a sense of connection between your interior and exterior and means the two areas will harmonise visually.

Group sofas around an outdoor rug, add a side table and, voila, you’ve got the perfect outdoor living room set-up.

Design Your Dream Outdoor Entertaining Area

Don't forget decor! Finishing touches, like cushions and rugs, will add cosiness to your outdoor area, and make it more inviting! Featured here: Sanctuary Grand, Smiths Lane, Clyde North

Outdoor furniture trends

You’ll find no shortage of stunning outdoor furniture designs on the market, whatever your budget.

Some of the biggest trends for 2022/2023 include curvaceous seating in natural materials like woven rattan, which adds texture and interest to your outdoor area; deep-seated modular sofas designed for relaxation; dining settings with slender, powder-coated steel legs for a contemporary edge; and chunky tables and armchairs in sustainably sourced timber.

When it comes to colour, neutral tones of charcoal, sage and pale grey are dominating, with moments of bright white to enhance the sense of space outdoors. 

Decorative touches

Finishing touches, like cushions and rugs, will add cosiness to your outdoor area, and make it more inviting.

  • Add a focal point: An outdoor fireplace, a decorative trellis, or a beautiful water feature or sculpture will give the eye somewhere to focus within your outdoor area.
  • Cushions and rugs: A few scatter cushions and throws on the sofa and a patterned rug underfoot in an outdoor-friendly fabric will add softness.
  • Planters: Make your terrace feel lush and inviting by adding a cluster of potted plants of different heights in the corner, or a row of planters hung from the ceiling.

Want more great outdoor styling ideas? Pop along to one of our display homes, conveniently located across Melbourne, and see how our interior designers have brought comfort and effortless style outdoors.