Choosing the perfect furniture style for your patio or porch is essentially dependent on two elements—the size of the space you have to work with and the furniture pieces that appeal to you most. Once you’ve settled on a style, you can start to look for pieces that will best fit to the shape and size of your patio.
Modern patio furniture is popular not only because it’s on-trend but because it offers a chic and sleek look for the space. The key advantage in opting for a modern look is that there will be plenty of items to choose from, and your result will be neutral, likely appealing for at least a few years to come. If you settle on going for a modern style patio, you’ll likely find many items in black, white and brown shades including bench-seat tables, U-shape sofa sets and even bucket chairs and designer couches. The South African climate is one designed for outdoor living, so getting this look right is vital.
Filled with more traditional furniture pieces and a more obvious sense of cosiness, the country style patio offers a tad more visual warmth than the modern look. Often featuring pillars, pergolas, vines, flower beds and dainty tables, this style offers a nice mix of European-feeling and shabby-chic sensibility.
Perhaps you want to feel as if you’re going on holiday every time you step out onto your porch—and who can blame you? Well, one way to get your imagination rolling is to opt for tropical style decor in your outdoor setting. Aside from the obvious inclusions such as palm trees, large pots, circular wooden tables, wooden deck-chairs and white cushions, tropical style terraces are also perfect for pops of bright colour via accessories. Oh and if you’ve got the space, why not top it off with a plunge pool?
While tropical style offers us the feeling of a equatorial getaway, the Mediterranean approach can transport us to the gorgeous coasts, islands and beaches of its namesake. Drawing influence from the largest countries encapsulated in the Mediterranean zone, styles from Greece, Italy, Spain and France define this style, but there are actually an additional 17 countries from which elements and influences are extracted. A patio design adhering to this style will undoubtedly feature plenty of brick, wood, yellow, curtains, large floor tiles, square tables and perhaps even a wood-fired pizza oven.
If you want to go for something distinct, unique and not quite as common in South Africa, an Asian style patio or porch could be the look for you. Depending on which country you take influence from, the patio will turn out quite differently but generally speaking, an Asian outdoor space will feature patches of lawn, flowing water, deep wooden tones in the furniture, sharp lines, stones, bonsai and a hut or pergola.
There are many reasons to opt for fluorescent lights on your patio as they are one of the most energy efficient options. This is not only better for the environment but will usually offer a decrease of 25-25% energy usage which of course means a significant decrease on your electricity bill If you can find a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) you can decrease usage by up to 75% compared to a traditional light bulb. This should translate to savings of about R514 per year. Another advantage is the long life of the bulbs, as they will usually last for about 10,000 hours as opposed to the traditional 800 to 1500 hours. Some lights can even shine for as long at 50,000 hours. The one con is that they usually cost a little more in the first place.
There is usually space to incorporate a few different types of lighting in an outdoor space, but generally speaking there aren’t many benefits to halogen lamps. Unless you live somewhere that receives a lot of heavy weather battering, there’s usually no necessity for this type of lighting anyway. In the northern hemisphere or countries in which they receive heavy snowfall, halogen lighting is recommended as the heat causes the snow to melt, but in South Africa, that’s just not a concern. For this reason, the choice should just about always be LED.
When LED first entered the market, it came under some pretty heavy criticism because of the harsh tone of the light itself, which was not considered to be “natural” but rather somewhat blue. Since this stage however, the technology has significantly improved and resulted in lighting that can barely be distinguished from the warm tones of halogen lighting systems. Consuming up to 80% less power than any other lamps, LEDs can burn for nearly 20 years before extinguishing, an added bonus is that while the initial costs are a little higher, the maintenance is extremely low and you can expect to save significant Rand over a long period. If you’ve got a halogen system that you can’t replace, don’t worry, you can usually simply swap the LED bulbs in.
As indicated by the name, these lamps are fixed to the wall or fence and come in a wide range of styles, allowing them to be implemented into any theme or look. Depending on the exact look, material and brand that you go for, the price can range from between R100 and R1000 per piece. We recommend doing the installation yourself (if you’ve got a bit of DIY skill) but if any electrical wiring or placing needs to be done, hiring an electrician professional is absolutely necessary.
Solar Panel Lamp
We recommend green energy solutions on all accounts here at homify, so solar lamps come highly endorsed from us. We are blessed with a lot of natural sunlight year round here in South Africa, so why wouldn’t we make the most of it, help the planet and save ourselves a bit of cash in the process? The actual cost of installing solar lighting will depend on the size of the area you need lit and on the exact lights that you want to install. You might picture huge panels on top of roofs when thinking about solar lighting, but individual lamps and lighting strips can actually be illuminated by relatively small conductors. You will also likely be quite surprised at how cheap this type of lighting can be, especially considering that once it’s installed, there are no further costs associated. A solar step-light for example, will set you back R249, shephard lights R119 and tulip lamps R149 a piece.
There’s nothing more romantic or classic in terms of style than some candle lighting. If your space is large, this might be impractical, but if it’s small and you’re willing to put the effort into repeatedly replacing the candles, it might just be the optimal solution. A mix of sizes and colours will make for a scene that appears to be out of a fairy tale. This is also a good way to introduce some citronella and keep the mozzies away on warm summer evenings. Candles themselves are quite cheap, coming in at rarely more than R20 a piece, even more massive outdoor units, but it's the replacement process that can be annoying. Also prepare for scraping wax off the installations. Still… this might be our favourite option! If you love the look but hate the idea of the maintenance however, LED candle lights are available. Just try to find some that aren’t too tacky.
If you’ve got a pergola, gazebo or simply some kind of roof structure, overhanging lamps are a great option. They simultaneously light the space while creating a sense of cosiness as they bring a sense of the indoor feeling out. Installation can be a little bit more complicated as you will need to work vertically and ensure that the electricity is available overhead, but the results are undoubtedly appealing. Without stooping too far into your wallet, you should be able to get a nice set up for no more than R2000, it will simply depend on the price of the exact style that you’re interested in. If the price starts to get out of control but you still want a beautifully light pergola or gazebo, you could simply invest in a few boxes of fairy lights. These dainty, timeless and decorative lights can be found for as little at R116 a box… and they’re solar charged! If you do what an installation done, complete our free consultation form so that we can team you up with the best possible professional.
Whether you want to turn your patio into a chic, modern space or a lush, tropical oasis, there are plenty of decorative and stylistic options. As with design in all spaces, the process and steps to take are quite simple:
-Choose the style you want -Look at the space and be realistic -Research options -Determine what is necessary -Set a realistic budget
-Consult with professionals -Make a plan -Enjoy the finished product