Just saying “alfresco” conjures images of informal gatherings and leisurely meals enjoyed outdoors, but it’s all about the setting.

A dull space furnished with wobbly, uncomfortable furniture won’t encourage family and guests to linger, so it’s important to create a special “outdoor room” where you can socialise and eat in style.

There’s no excuse for a poor patio these days as the design and quality of outdoor furniture improve year on year, with an ever-more versatile range including day beds and coffee tables as well as traditional dining sets and weather-resistant loungers.




A crisp blue-and-white theme will quickly conjure a care-free, coastal style.

A chunky sofa and armchair in pale wood with plump sky-blue cushions and a matching coffee table with built-in storage space could be irresistible.

Pull the look together with blue accessories like blue picnicware and lanterns. Add a final jaunty seaside feel with a blue-and-white striped seat cushion. It can also be used as a floor cushion.



A tight budget may mean you can’t indulge in a tropical holiday, but you could replicate the atmosphere outside your back door.

Rattan furniture, with its woven appearance and rich shades, is evocative of verandas and sultry settings. A generous-sized curved single sofa with footrest will make a statement.

Home bars are enjoying a revival, so follow the cocktail crowd and invest in a waterproof rattan bar and stools.

It may melt the credit card, but you could make a statement with an ocean day bed with a roof and then accessorise with zingy orange-and-blue striped Zanzibar cushions.



Celebrate the beauty of natural materials such as wood and stone for a patio scheme that will complement and blend with its outdoor surroundings.

Small details count just as much outdoors as in, and a naturally-bleached driftwood candle holder is charming, and casts a soft glow with candlelight in the evening – or you could use small tea light holders.




Sleek, contemporary outdoor furniture transforms a patio into a sophisticated sanctuary.

“Less is more” must be the guiding rule with this look. Make a focal point with an elegant day bed or

divine dining set.

Shade from the sun is a must: for a different look try an overhanging parasol.

Add occasional seating – a barrel seat, in galvanised steel, would be in keeping with this style.


You’ll linger longer if you can take the chill off cool evenings with a firepit. –


Belfast Telegraph