A convivial, contemporary outdoor lounge is more essential than ever—here are five enviable al fresco spaces from which to take some inspiration as you plan or renovate your home

When decorated and designed thoughtfully, a beautiful outdoor area can become the pride and joy of your home, be it a cosy balcony or a spacious terrace where you can host your family and friends. Make your home beautiful inside and out, so that these exterior areas can become a place where you feel closer to nature.

Grab an iced drink, read a book or enjoy an al fresco meal outdoors and create that holiday mood in your outdoor zone; here, we pick out some stunning ideas you can cop from these stylish homes.

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1. Incorporate a Mural

Johannesburg-based designer Tristan du Plessis transformed his multilevel apartment into an extended living space spread over four floors, each zone connected to the next. The rooftop terrace area is the culmination, and it doesn’t skimp on design. A mural by Skullboy (the artist name of Louis de Villiers, a South African artist based in New York), chairs by Magis and Kartell and an Essey table give the space a dressed feel, while keeping the look lighthearted and laidback courtesy of the astroturf, bar, and outdoor shower.

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2. Colour coordinate

In the abode of Cape Town-based interior designer Simone Hirsch is this sophisticated, modern verandah—it’s situated in the new wing, and leads to a verdant garden and swimming pool. The restrained colour palette and elegant lighting give the space the sort of refined flair that is usually only seen in interior living rooms, while the easy, outdoor-style furnishings convey a more casual feel. The result is a space that’s perfect for entertaining.

Hirsch, who leads her namesake firm Simone Katherine Interiors, designed the coffee table for her abode and selected an oak couch with cushions in an outdoor navy fabric, piped in white. The wooden chairs with slatted backs are from Tribù.

3. Add plants overhead

In a Cape Town abode that’s all about seamless indoor-outdoor living, spaces suitable for enjoying family time and entertaining friends are absolutely essential. This patio runs the house’s full length, and all the doors can be flung open to connect the indoors and out.

Interior designer Simone Hirsch of Simone Katherine Interiors has created a genuinely romantic space that includes this comfortable lounge area, festooned with hanging plants and surrounded by verdant greenery. The choice of a bright blue outdoor upholstery fabric from Ralph Lauren, combined with the natural textures of the plants, rattan furniture, as well as side tables in stone and ceramic, makes for a vibrant space that also delivers warmth and understated luxury.

4. Be creative with your ceiling design

Sporting a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, this front deck of a home in Cape Town is much more like an outdoor room than a conventional verandah. It has sliding wooden shutters that can be used to partially screen it from the elements—such as strong winds or harsh sunlight—or to fully and securely enclose it.

The wooden outdoor furniture is from Bloc Outdoor and the wall decoration was picked up on the owners’ travels. Apart from the shutters, all the timber used for the house has been thoughtfully sourced—this includes the sculptural ceiling and the decking here—and is from an alien tree species that is currently being systematically removed from local forests.

5. Showcase your plants

This covered patio of a home in Johannesburg, South Africa is used as an outdoor entertainment area for dining and lounging, with separate zones created for each function. Aesthetically, the space is a considered dialogue between contemporary and traditional elements, with resolutely practical finishes—such as the polished concrete floors—softened by furnishings that include lots of natural wood as well as comfortable seats.

The wooden armchairs are from South Africa-based La Grange Interiors, and the shelf and screen at one end of the space—which holds a mix of potted plants and collectible ceramics—was custom-made by Anatomy Design.

  • PhotographyGreg Cox, Warren Heath, Elsa Young / Bureaux
  • ProductionSven Alberding
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