When the sun is shining and you have outdoor space, there are few things better than spending long, lazy days outside, soaking up the heat and dining in the open air.
If you have the right outdoor furniture, that is. Because lounging outside can be as inviting as kicking back in a well-appointed living room — or as awkward as trying to get comfortable on a worn-out sleeper sofa.
“An outdoor space is really an extension of your indoor space,” said Martyn Lawrence Bullard, a Los Angeles-based interior designer who has created furniture for Harbour Outdoor. “So we look at decorating it as a room. I really want it to feel very inviting and very well thought out.”
That means that collecting the furniture involves more than just haphazardly picking out pieces in a store or on a website. First, you need a plan — which requires figuring out how you’ll be using the space and how you’ll maintain it over time.
Celerie Kemble, an interior designer based in New York and Palm Beach, Fla., who has designed outdoor furniture for Lane Venture. “There’s dining outside; using your outdoor space as a living room; and lounging and pool. And each has a different set of rules.”
If you have a large outdoor space, it may be possible to accommodate all three functions — a dining area with a table and chairs; a hangout space with sofas, lounge chairs and a coffee table; and an area for sunbathing equipped with chaise longues.
Brook Landscape, often recommends forgoing chaise longues. People tend to romanticize them, he said, but they take up a lot of space and may be used less than other furniture.
“People say they want them, but then they get crammed in,” he said. “If you don’t have the space, don’t bother.”
If you absolutely must have one for sunbathing, do what Mr. Klausing has done in some of his projects: Add hooks to a wall or fence that can hold the chaise longue out of the way when it’s not in use.