We’ve reached the peak of summer, when the sun is always shining and outdoor parties are in full swing. To maximize what’s left of warm weather, we met with Michelle Stephenson, loyalty manager at Norfolk’s IKEA, to learn more about her favorite design elements for al fresco entertaining on balconies, decks and waterside patios.
Expand Your Space
Little known to shoppers, IKEA designers styled much of the showroom based on home visits to local residences. They found that Coastal Virginia is flush with urban living spaces, challenging designers to create intimate outdoor settings with metropolitan flair. Regardless of space limitations, IKEA stylists remain committed to creating a better life for the many.
In addition to soaking up the summer weather, creating an outdoor dining space is the ideal way to make your home seem bigger. “Expand the square footage of your home by bringing the comfort of the indoors outside,” says Stephenson. “Create the perfect outdoor space with a sofa and colorful cushions. A matching dining table and chairs will encourage outdoor soirees and dinner parties all season long.”
Invest in Functional Furniture
IKEA is certainly a leader in multi-use furniture. The Norfolk showroom is chock-full of outdoor units equipped with storage space. Stow away cushions in outdoor benches, store plastic glasses, bottle openers and other cocktail goodies on one of IKEA’s many bar carts or use collapsible chairs that can be put away for rainy days.
For more relaxation, Stephenson recommends laidback furniture like sun loungers and armchairs. Umbrellas are great too for staying cool in the summer heat.
Add Color and Light
Whether you’re looking to remodel a sprawling backyard or humble second-floor balcony, Stephenson insists on incorporating color and light. “Nothing says summer like bright colors. Trade your dark patterns for bright and colorful textures to give life to your home, she says.
Colorful touches come in an array of choices too. Select from throw pillows, outdoor cushions, window treatments and IKEA’s funky selection of table décor.
To mix up light options, Stephenson recommends string lights and solar lamps (one way to go green too). IKEA offers a selection of bulbs ranging from round and woven to nature-centric designs like ladybugs, dragonflies, bumblebees and more.
A Touch of Green
Patios are, after all, about being outside, so lace in some greenery to your outdoor space. Stephenson raves about IKEA’s selection of real and faux potted plants. “While they look great inside, potted plants can also liven up any outdoor areas, adding another element to the open air décor,” she says. “Decorative vases and pots can freshen up your home while adding another element of decoration.”
Also seen throughout IKEA’s showroom are expansive wall mounts lush with dark greenery.
Flooring options aren’t limited to decorative outdoor carpets. IKEA offers four decking options that are easy to install and keep your original wood in top-notch condition. The RUNNEN floors area available in brown-stained, dark gray, gray and artificial grass.
For more outdoor inspiration, visit IKEA.com.