For most city dwellers, the best moments of summer tend to take place after 7pm: that point in the day when the dusty commute gives way to a cool drink and shared plate on a warm evening. And, understandably, given our love of post-work alfresco eating, it’s influencing how we utilise every bit of outdoor space. From the smallest of balconies to shared courtyards, outside spaces are becoming extensions of our homes and – specifically – dining rooms.
“We’ve definitely seen a growing trend,” explains Frieda Gormley, co-founder of interiors brand House of Hackney. “There’s a new generation whose love of interiors has spilled into the garden, plus the sharing of inspirational outdoor entertaining images on Pinterest and Instagram has raised the bar and shown us what can be achieved with a little imagination.”
Isabelle Palmer, founder of small-space design service The Balcony Gardener, says that the key to creating an elegant outdoor dining space is to take inspiration from your own home: “Look at the colours you use or what your own style is – by following that you’ll nail the cohesion between indoors and outdoors. The other thing to remember is lighting. There’s nothing nicer than surrounding yourself with beautiful lamps as the sun goes down.”
And, of course, it’s always worth taking a lead from those Mediterranean folk who have been working the trend for centuries: “The French always do it so well,” explains Gormley. “A wooden table, some linen napkins, wild flowers and drinking glasses for wine.”
Bon appétit indeed. Scroll through the gallery below for our pick of the best outdoor accessories…
Main image: Applaro table with six chairs in brown, £365, Solvinden solar powered pendant lamps, from £10 each, and Sommar 2016 tablecloth, £12, all Ikea (ikea.com)