Want to Eat Al Fresco? So Do We. Read Our Tips to Dining Outdoors in Style

Written by | Art & Design

AphroChic Design

AphroChic Design — photos by Seth Caplan

As the weather warms up, our thoughts turn to dining — and living — outside. So we turned to two New York design firms on a search for secrets to creating successful outdoor spaces.

When summer rolls around, life moves outdoors. If you are among the lucky whose digs include a terrace, patio or garden, make sure you’re thinking of it as an extension of your living area. With a few decorating touches, you can create a chic and comfortable space for entertaining or a relaxing place to unwind with a glass of wine.

Two New York design firms shared their thoughts on how to make the most out of outdoor spaces. Jeanine and Bryan Hays, of Brooklyn-based AphroChic, recently designed a terrace area (pictured) for Bronx designer Jérôme LaMaar’s boutique, 9J. Says Jeanine, “Jérôme’s store is as much a boutique as it is a community space, so our focus was to design a multi-faceted environment where he could host everything from dinner parties to yoga classes.” She continues, “We used elements like modular seating, so that he could rearrange the space as needed.”

Bryan adds, “We started with a graphic tile floor and added a wall for privacy, making it a personal oasis. We used black on the walls and added contrast with the container garden.”

“In any outdoor space, you want it to feel like a continuation of the indoor space,” says Jeanine. “The store had a lot of black and white elements as well as being very cozy, so we used that.” The designers added cushy pillows and also brought some artwork outside to replicate the feel of a living room.

Anthony Gianacakos of Anthony George Home agrees that an outdoor space should complement its interior. For one TriBeCa terrace (pictured), he says, “We settled on a fresh modern look that was comfortable and inviting, and worked well with the interiors.” Gianacakos refinished the deck (made of Brazilian Ipe), added matching planters and furnishings with natural and navy tones, plus bright pops of orange for a playful feel. He also painted the walls black, so the space felt bigger. “The client wanted a space where they could entertain and enjoy the outdoors. I think we accomplished that.”

Anthony George Design

Anthony George Design — photos by Royce Bugarin

If the space you’re working with is big enough, creating several seating areas is a good idea, especially if your entertaining style is more cocktails and nibbles than sit-down dinners. A multipurpose table that can be moved around to serve as a buffet or a dining table also makes sense. And chairs should be both soft and comfortable but crafted of durable indoor/outdoor fabrics.

However you plan on using your outdoor space, it’s time you put the days of cooler sitting and cooking on a portable kettle grill behind you and start living your best — and classiest — life, outdoors! 

Last modified: May 21, 2018