Among the outdoor furniture trend predictions interior designers shared with TZR last year were a focus on year-round living, luxurious experiences, and multifunctional pieces. And since then, well, not much has changed. “Undoubtedly, the forced isolation of the pandemic caused a shift toward maximizing home comfort, particularly in underutilized outdoor spaces,” Scott Selzer, founder and GM of StruXure, tells TZR. “Cozier seating and outdoor kitchens were immediately on the uptick, but protecting that furniture and making those outdoor spaces usable year-round is more in demand than ever before.” In other words, many of 2022’s outdoor furniture trends have simply carried over from last year, reflecting the continued importance of exterior spaces. Fortunately, though, they seem to have had an infusion of creativity, sustainability, and a little more fun.
That makes sense — after all, in 2021, people were still in scramble mode to make their patios and backyards livable at all. Now that they’re functional, we want them to continue to be. However, it’s also possible to start being thoughtful in these areas as well. And that’s exactly the story that this year’s trends tell. From indoor-outdoor spaces to versatile designs, find out what’s changing (and what’s staying the same) this summer from the designer predictions, ahead.
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Bringing The Indoors Out
If there’s one thing you can count on this summer, it’s that the indoor-outdoor trend will continue to reign. “Outdoor spaces are quickly becoming an extension of the interiors,” says Jeremy Graef, principal of Connate Design. “We are creating more outdoor living rooms and dining rooms that really blur the lines and carry the interior style to the exterior spaces.”
Fortunately, Paige Gray, co-founder and principal designer of Parker&Harlow, has an easy suggestion for trying this furniture trend at home. “Replace the typical lounge chairs with an outdoor couch,” she explains. It’ll hep you make the most of the summer days and provide a comfortable nook for lounging or for entertaining. According to Graef, you can build on this even more by adding area rugs, tabletop decor, vases, and outdoor sculptures.
In 2022, people expect more from their outdoor spaces than ever before. Because of that, Terry Lin, Outer's co-founder and Chief Design Officer, says that versatility is key. The solution? Modular seating, which allows you to reconfigure your outdoor space depending on your needs. “Looking to snuggle up with your family on a weeknight? Configure five chairs into one, long sofa,” says Lin. “Having friends over and want to create a bit more distance? Use your same set to create a three-piece sofa and two armless accent chairs.”
Though she doesn’t mention modularity, Gray echoes Lin’s prediction, emphasizing pieces with versatility. “We'll be seeing a rise in multifunctional outdoor furniture that can be arranged in a multitude of ways or serve different purposes,” she notes. “Think of adding benches, ottomans, and side tables to make your outdoor space adaptable to your lifestyle and to accommodate guests and entertain.”
As with many categories, Lin says sustainability is taking on “an increasingly important role in home furnishings” — outdoor items included. “‘Fast furniture’ has major environmental consequences; poorly made pieces end up in the landfill after only one season and a handful of uses,” he explains. Selzer shares similar thoughts, noting that he’s seeing “a greater understanding of the ramifications of wasteful purchases.” Thus, he warns against buying cheap items that only last one season or products that are harmful to the environment. Rather, focus on pieces made from responsibly sourced or recycled materials and that will last for years to come.
If you’ve collected several different sets of outdoor furniture over the years, you’re in luck. According to Heather Wise, lead interior designer at Spacejoy, one of this summer’s biggest trends will be mixing materials. “Think wood, wicker, and cement accents all coming together to work harmoniously,” she says. While that can be a daunting thought for those who like matching, it’s actually an easy one to integrate. In fact, Wise says it simply comes down to finding commonality in the pieces you like. “For example, pieces that share colors, shapes, or style will help the mixed materials feel intentional.”
This look can also be a way to bring in another 2022 trend: light wood tones, which Maria Castillero, lead interior designer at Spacejoy, says she’s seen more and more of throughout the year. “They’re the perfect backdrop for a neutral space or you can use them as a building block for a really colorful design,” she explains.