Since outdoor living space in most Hong Kong homes is limited to a small balcony or terrace at best – if you are lucky – the scaling down of once-bulky outdoor furniture to more diminutive, expressive and stylish pieces will be welcome news. We might not have much room to play with, but the trend to bring indoor comforts outdoors has taken off here as much as it has overseas.

German outdoor lifestyle brand Dedon has caught the trend with its TIGMI sofa, a deep-seated yet slender-canopied day bed which would look equally at home on a high-rise balcony as it would in a swanky beach hut. Acting as a sofa and shelter, the design is characterised by a braided canopy that provides shade, while permitting a breeze, as if it were a tropical roof thatched of palm leaves. There’s room for two to curl up for a nap, or several adults to gather for drinks, in this stylish piece by French designer Jean-Marie Massaud.

Casual seating is expected to ramp up further and surpass the dining suite as the fastest growing segment of outdoor furniture. A modular set of low-backed seating is a flexible choice, as its scaled-down profile
won’t visually dominate, and it’s easily reconfigurable to fit your outdoor space.

A new set of extensions to Dedon’s Barcelona collection by Richard Frinier offers more versatile, new possibilities for dining and lounging under the open skies. Thoughtfully proportioned centre and corner modules allow for endless configuration, while a special double-length cushion adds the option of creating a daybed effect.

Another versatile outdoor setting – this time from Everything Under the Sun – is the Cane-line Flex Dining Lounge from Denmark. This stylish, low-profile suite is designed to do double duty where the same space is used for dining and lounging.

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In addition to the traditional lounge shapes, there is a trend towards semi-circular configurations. Dedon has introduced its first curved module - Lou by Toan Nguyen which, when viewed from behind, conveys a protective sense of enclosure.

If your outdoor nook is just for one, consider the Club Sofa by Maiori: puffy and easy-going, an enticing and forgiving in-out sofa that can be placed anywhere. It’s also light enough to be carried with one hand. The Club is made from hi-tech foam so it will remain comfortable and keep its shape for years to come, and is finished with advanced textiles that are waterproof and carefree, so the piece can be left outdoors in any weather.

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Or for really tight spaces, sit back and relax in a classic deck chair. The Gloster Voyager deck chair from Everything Under the Sun rekindles the golden age of cruise liner travel, evoking a contemporary look
with a vintage allure. Portable, practical and with a fresh, seaside colour palette, the chair is engineered to quickly assemble for use, then fold or break down for storage or transport.

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Cooking and dining alfresco has gone beyond the realm of a simple barbecue grill, and, thanks to Ikea’s ingenuity, you no longer need a big back yard to explore your outdoor culinary potential. The Sunnersta free-standing mini-kitchen is an all-in-one work station where ingredients, preparation and cooking can be done in the same place. Add a reversible shelf, storage hooks and containers to the system to suit all cooking needs and preferences.

You also don’t need a big space to unleash your inner green-thumb. Go vertical with Greens by Maiori Design – a big garden in a minimal footprint. “If you have 0.3 square metres of floor space, you have a garden – it’s that simple,” says Craig Pallister, of Everything Under the Sun, the product’s Hong Kong stockist.

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Based on a simple drip watering system, Greens allows water to flow from top to bottom, eliminating puddles and overwatering. It all fits neatly into the space of one pot, and is easily disassembled, so you can take your garden with you when you move. The modular configuration allows for myriad combinations of heights and colours. “From one simple balcony wall to a big perimeter,” Pallister says, “just plug and play Greens to suit your garden and space needs, or desires.”

Cater to the practical – provide places to hold a drink; adequate sun shade, etc. And don’t forget to accessorise. Taking a cue from the accents you’d choose for your interior living space is a great way to complete an inviting outdoor space. As for which colours to choose for your outdoor furniture for the coming season, Ikea says neutrals will still be on-trend.

Add pops of brights to your base palette of grey, brown, white and beige to create a whole new look – hint: this year, blue will be the thing.

This article was originally published in Home Essentials