Indoors or Outdoors?
High Point, NC – Personal outdoor spaces of 2016 look much like interior spaces: They’ve got comfortable seating with soft fabrics, accent pillows in fresh colors, lighting, rugs, curtains and maybe even a big-screen TV. And they have no boundaries.
“The backyard room is here to stay and just keeps growing in popularity,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, the International Casual Furnishings Association. “Consumers love their outdoor spaces and are using them frequently, so they are sprucing them up just like they do their inside spaces.”
Consumers shopping for new outdoor furnishings this spring will find an abundance of mixed materials such as teak or other woods mixed with wicker, aluminum and stainless steel, both in single pieces and in collections that mix and match. “Combining the materials adds depth and richness. It’s a sophisticated, natural look, which consumers have been responding to both inside and out,” Hirschhaut said.
Neutrals, especially gray and beige, continue to dominate the color palette this spring, but fresh new colors are adding pizzazz. Vivid citrus tones such as citron green remain strong, and celadon and mint green are emerging, showing up on pillows at trend-setting Elaine Smith. Pantone’s two colors of the year – rose quartz and serenity – also are being used as accents for outdoor products, since they work well with neutrals.
In addition to offering fresh new colors, Elaine Smith’s pillows also have led the trend of indoor looks outdoors with rich details such as tassels, braids and fringe, as well as a faux down option.
Consumers creating an indoor look in their backyard room can even choose seating covered in faux leather that looks just like leather yet will hold up outdoors. Because of its popularity, Woodard is among manufacturers offering additional colors in Brisa, polyurethane from Ultrafabrics that mimics leather. At Century Furniture, the Trove bench by Candice Olson Outdoor appears to be covered in tufted leather, yet it’s concrete, surprising to those who take a seat.
Convenience also is in the spotlight this spring with a focus on cushions and seating that dry quickly, eliminating the need to take cushions inside during rain showers. Homecrest Outdoor introduced new technology with its Airo2 modular pieces that have the look of a deep seat without any inner cushion material. It’s low maintenance and fast-drying.
Century’s innovative Driluxe cushions are designed to dry quickly, increasing convenience to the consumer. Their construction features a water-repellent cover on a high-resiliency foam core that is wrapped with 100 percent polyester fiber. They are breathable, so only the cushion fabric casing needs to dry, not the entire cushion.
“Consumers want their outdoor spaces to be relaxing,” said Hirschhaut. “Manufacturers understand that and have created new products that will allow them to spend less time maintaining and more time lounging.
“And the durability along with the beauty of these products is unbelievable,” she added. “Advances in technology continue to improve, which means these backyard rooms look and perform just as well – or perhaps better – than inside rooms. And they are certainly just as comfortable.”
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