Summertime at last! Lazy days by the sea or pool and long relaxing summer evenings to enjoy. But if you’ve got your mind set on being a host over the summer months, ‘stress-free’ might not be the first expression that pops into your head.
Entertaining outdoors sounds amazing, but as the organiser you have a lot of pre-planning to consider. Beating the heat. The persistence of summer bugs. New garden furniture to buy. How to get people who might not have met before to mingle easily. How to decorate and delight the crowd. It all adds up. Besides, making sure everything works out perfectly for your guests is one thing, but you should also make sure it’s enjoyable for you too.
Our professional team at Hometrends have experience in helping clients choose the right outdoor furniture and garden décor to make summer entertainment a breeze.
Here are our top 5 ideas of how to entertain in style and comfort this summer.
- Think comfort first.
Summer in Malta is great. It’s also quite uncomfortable, especially with the seemingly tireless heatwaves we’ve been experiencing lately. If the last thing you want your guests to feel is hot, consider investing in some durable and attractive outdoor side-pole umbrellas. Easy to move around and more comfortable to sit under without having your view obstructed with a pole. Pop the umbrella up early on to make sure all your furniture is out of the sun well in advance of the evening and stays cool to the touch.
Speaking of comfort, your dining and seating arrangements are equally important. If you’re set on having a sit-down meal, a strong extendable outdoor table would be ideal. That way you can downsize it for more intimate occasions and open it up when all your family or friends are over, giving them ample space to unwind. Top up your available table space with a hanging outdoor table that can fit neatly over a balcony.
Investing in durable outdoor chairs is a must. However, after spending a day on sandy rocks, or sweltering on a sunbed, your guest might prefer something with a little softness. Our stunning plaza outdoor set of garden furniture has a lovely light wood finish with cushions for sunburnt bodies.
If you’re thinking of a simpler affair such as drinks and light nibbles, then we’d definitely suggest something like a 3 to 5 seater outdoor sofa with matching armchairs. Opt for a matching garden coffee table in the centre to finish off the polished look. A couple of lounge bean bag chairs and outdoor pouffes dotted around for children to sit on (or the guest who hit the wine a little hard) and your seating should be good to go.
Finally don’t forget to purchase some citronella candles to surround the area. Mosquitos are a real concern for many people so making sure the area is protected before they arrive will make it more comfortable for everyone to enjoy their evening.
- Cook for the weather.
BBQs are synonymous with Maltese summers. They are also a great way for you to be able to stay with your guests as you grill up some tasty meat, fish or vegetarian dishes – without spending the evening back in the kitchen. If you’re planning a one-off event or mostly just evening gatherings with close family, our smaller 3 or 4 burner grill BBQ options might be more suitable. If, however you’re intending to have regular social events in your back yard, garden or roof terrace, then we’d recommend investing in a larger 6 scale burner BBQ which gives you ample room and levels on which to cook your culinary masterpieces.
Stock up on some fundamental BBQ accessories to make sure you have every requirement covered. You’ll never be more grateful to be wearing a protective BBQ apron than when hot marinated meat juices fly off the grill and hit your brand-new shirt or dress. Or making sure you don’t end up with dry steaks with a meat thermometer.
Choose some light salad dishes to go with your BBQ feast. A handy trick for keeping your food cold and fresh, is to purchase large stylish serving bowls and fill them with ice. Sprinkle a little kosher salt on top and then place your salad bowl directly on top. Helps you save some space in the fridge when your guests arrive with more food and booze in tow.
- Decorate your outdoor furniture with beautiful accessories.
Depending on the design theme you’ve chosen for your garden or outdoor area, you’ll want to include a few accessories that really give the space the finishing touch it deserves.
On the grander scale, nothing oozes style and finesse like a water feature. A fountain Buddha, or a 5-tier rock fountain are both stunning to look at and to listen to. Is there anything more relaxing than the delicate sound of running water? If you’d like something more Romanesque, the vase fountain is a statement feature worth considering.
When choosing your tableware like glasses, plates, cutlery and napkins, don’t be afraid of mixing and matching colours and patterns. Summer is a season for vibrancy and pops of colour really bring a happy theme to the space.
Flowers and plants are another way to bring nature into your outdoor furniture, even if it’s in a courtyard or on your roof area. You don’t need to go down the road of real plants. A few planters dotted around should be enough. If you do want to add flowers, a clear glass bowl with some flower heads (like peonies and gardenias) floating in water inside are a special touch for the dining table.
- Light it up.
Don’t leave your guests in the dark! We’re not talking about full on bright lights. Ambient lighting is the perfect way to set the mood and help guests enjoy a summer evening. Place several portable mini lanterns on the floor and tables to give the area a relaxed, subdued feel. You could consider string lights to hang over the top of your dining table for a little extra lighting when people are eating.
Solar lighting options are a great way to save on electricity bills. We have a great selection of hanging or table solar lamps. We also have similar options for the floor with deck solar lighting. Small enough to add dots of light, but practical at the same time. If you’d like a more back garden zen look, colourful hanging lanterns add a perfect Indian Summer feel. Add some colour torches for an original theme. These outdoor lamps burn in colour and don’t give off any smoke or smell. The mineral wick will burn for a solid 4 hours.
If you’d like a pop of greenery, then the Light-Up is a really unique option to consider. Hanging from the wall, this green ball of shrubbery has hidden lighting inside. Next level fairy lights.
Our Lucy Play outdoor music lamp is available in a variety of colours, and as far as parties go, the fact that it can connect to your phone via Bluetooth to play music means it answers two problems at the same time.
Carefully placed and selected lighting can influence the mood of your event, so people can enjoy a little respite from the brightness of the sun and from the florescent lighting in work environments.
- Go bold with some statement items!
Finally, if you’re out to impress, think about one or two pieces that will be sure to have everyone talking.
If you have the available space, nothing says style and luxury like the option for guests to enjoy a welcome drink or post dinner liqueur in a gorgeous spa tub. We have a variety of 4 and 6-person spa tubs available and we’ll guide you to which one would be most suitable to your budget and available space.
Love the taste of traditional pizza ovens? Then this Sol-y-Yo stone pizza oven is the answer. It’s amazingly easy to use and warms up ready to cook your Pizza within just 15 minutes of being started. Surprise your friends and start serving some healthy gourmet pizzas at your next BBQ party.
Whether it’s having family or friends over for an impromptu patio party, we hope these tips help you choose garden and outdoor furniture that will help to make your life easier, so you can sit back and enjoy summer the Hometrends way – in style.
Check out our summer catalogue for some more inspiration.
How to choose Outdoor Furniture that suits your lifestyle.
Do you ever look at your outdoor space and wonder what the possibilities for decorating it are?
Perhaps you’ve walked around a home and garden showroom like ours at Hometrends and felt a little overwhelmed with the available choice. Your garden, pool area, courtyard, roof or veranda flashing in your mind as you try to choose between this material or that, this colour or that colour. What’s durable, what’s not.
This is a situation we’ve found a lot of our clients who walk through our doors looking at outdoor furniture tend to face. Choosing your interior furniture is slightly easier because each room in a home tends to perform a particular function. But when you think about your outdoors… should it be limited to just a space for entertaining? What about a place in which the family can relax, read, sunbathe, have a quick evening snooze on or even have a swim in (assuming you don’t already have a pool of course).
We promise that choosing the right garden furniture is easy.
It simply must work in harmony with your lifestyle. Yes, it’s important to always respect the available space, but with smaller and larger garden furniture to choose from, it’s only your level of creativity holding you back.
Let’s cover some of the basics for matching lifestyles to garden furniture.
- Work out your available space.
You might have more outdoor space than you realise.
Every small balcony to large veranda and large garden to small courtyard is an outdoor space worth exploring. Whilst you might be focused on making sure your central courtyard is ideal for entertaining, have you thought of turning your smaller bedroom balcony into a ‘zen-zone’ just for you or your partner to enjoy?
With the right tiling, shade and privacy, you could even consider attaching a hammock to the available ceiling. Turf- tiles with large beanbags or attractive deck chairs, with a small outdoor table and a multi-function light and speaker. A simple but effective feature such as fairy lights around the balcony, would give a magical feeling and a sense of relaxation. And if you currently use it for hanging the washing, well – wouldn’t it be more fun to have some additional outdoor space, using just a few outdoor furniture pieces to have some much-needed R&R in?
So, make a list of all the available spaces in your apartment, maisonette or house first. Don’t hold back. At this stage the possibilities are quite open. Besides if that smaller balcony at the back of the flat is the one with the best view, who cares if it’s only you that gets to enjoy it properly?
- Think about Maltese weather.
With sunshine almost every single one of the 365 days of the calendar year, we’re an outdoor nation. But that’s not to say we don’t have an occasional storm or two.
If you’re at work during most of the week, or perhaps you have an aversion to the midday sun in Malta during Summer, consider how you want to make the most of the space through-out all seasons. There’s no point opting for a sun- lounger if you’re a moon-bather and no point opting for outdoor tables and chairs and a huge barbeque if you’ve no intention of becoming a frequent host.
If on the other hand working on your tan is important, or you have a family addicted to the flavour of BBQ style steak at the weekend, then jot those down as well. The only suggestion we make is considering how you will store the furniture when those odd storms hit. Should you explore stackable outdoor furniture? How about multi-functioning furniture where you get the benefit of seating and storage?
- Make a list of your favourite outdoor activities.
Some of our clients adore going to the beach in their free time. Others prefer to potter around in the AC during the day and then shift to a little evening gardening. The trick? Take each space one at a time. Think about all the things you’d like to do there.
Have family dinners there in the evenings, sunbathe during the day, read a book in winter. Perhaps take your work or studying outdoors.
If you have small children and no intention of trouping off to the sea or a pool every day during summer holidays, you could choose to invest in a mini outdoor pool. And when the kids are off to bed, take a dip for yourself (you deserve it!)
Alternatively, if relaxing is number one on your list, think about investing in a Spa mono jacuzzi. Add some wood floor tiles and you’ve got yourself a little slice of heaven in your back yard.
Once you have a list of everything you would like to do in the space, prioritise it into the most frequent activities to the least frequent.
- Think about the furniture’s durability.
We offer a brilliant selection of outdoor furniture. Malta’s largest by far. That’s because we’re great believers in offering clients’ choice. We don’t think one size fits all or that one budget suits everyone’s pockets. Let’s cover the basics of types of outdoor and garden furniture.
Wood. Natural wood is often considered the most zen-inducing and beautiful material for furniture. It can make any space feel closer to nature itself. Especially when you compliment the whole look with some delightful planters. For all its beauty, wood requires some maintenance and treatment. Especially if you intend to leave the furniture outdoors for most of the year.
Rattan and Wicker. Requiring less maintenance than wood, rattan and wicker furniture is a great alternative to think about. It might not be as expensive and if you treat with a good resin finish, gives a very polished look to outdoor spaces.
Aluminium or Plastic. Materials like these, often used in construction as well, make for a very durable outdoor furniture concept. When sourced from the right supplier, they are usually rustproof, easier to move around and require little weather-treatment. Just place a note of caution if your outdoor area tends to receive a lot of sea spray which can speed up the aging.
If you’re considering purchasing one of our top branded barbeques, we always offer a free cover to make sure your cooking machine stays pristine no matter the weather.
- Use colour to express your personality.
A myriad of colour themes at your doorstep. Or just outside it at least. Choosing a colour theme is how your personality becomes infused with the space.
Neutrals for furniture are great when it’s hard to make up your mind. But the lighter the colour, the more you might find an occasional mark or two. We like clients to think about the mood they want to set in the space.
- Are you looking for peace and quiet? Try greens and browns.
- Are you looking to relax and unwind? Blues tend to calm the mind.
- Are you more adventurous? Try going Spanish in theme and opt for bright or mismatched colours. We have a great selection of outdoors chairs in a variety of colours.
- Are you in favour of more rustic themes? Why not go for wooden furniture with farmhouse style accessories?
- Are you into a little outdoor romance? Choose blushing shades with a colour pop umbrella or a moon bed which offers both comfort and privacy.
- Think about comfort.
Speaking of comfort… this one’s a biggy. Nobody likes to be sat on an uncomfortable chair for hours while dad, or mum, battle with the heat from a BBQ as they cook up some BBQ specials.
Try and opt for materials that help to relax you, not irritate you. Opt for garden furniture with cushions included like this set of ours. So, backsides and backs can sit back and relax during your outdoor get-togethers. Selecting materials that are anti-mould and anti-fade also make sense. Strong suns can burn more than our delicate skin and Malta’s humidity is a big downer for evening meals on the terrace.
- Two birds one stone with multipurpose furniture.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have all the space in the world available in your outdoor areas? Amazing, but for many of us, just not a feasible possibility. So, making the most of the available room by choosing multipurpose furniture makes the most sense.
We have a great selection of multiuse outdoor furniture, like boxes that double as tables and as storage places for cushions or the smaller accessories. It’s worth thinking about when those winter storms crop up and we have nothing to protect our furniture and no available space inside.
- Consider the flooring.
Is there anything better than stepping outside barefoot and onto flooring that makes you feel more relaxed? If you’re fed up of standard tiles, choose something with a little more oomph and that works in synergy with the kind of lifestyle, you’re after.
Turf tiles. Nature the modern way. Add the greenery but not the hassle of real grass. Great if you have kids or you’re looking for an English back-garden theme. Also, the perfect backdrop for beautiful Instagram pictures.
Grey WPC tiles. A popular amongst many of our clients. These tiles offer a natural wood grain but combine the advantages of plastic as well. That means its less time on maintenance and more time doing the things you love.
Wood floor tiles. As always, the most popular material for raised decking areas or flooring. Our wood tiles feel simply fabulous on your feet. A little bit of Nordic luxury into your outdoor garden space in Malta. It’s also super easy to install.
If you’re more spirited and adventurous, we’ve seen some lovely ideas where you mix and match alternative tiles in different areas to create zones within your garden or outdoor space.
- Accessorise. Accessorise. Accessorise.
These are the style game changers. Accessories add one of the biggest differences to your outdoor space.
- Dot hanging solar lamps to your space to add lighting in the evening, whilst being environmentally conscious.
- Add flowers in a pot or choose a pot for real flowers to bring nature into play.
- Water features are the latest style trend and are a perfect sound and visual accompaniment when you’re sat outside unwinding with a cold beer or glass of wine at sunset on the terrace.
- Choose the right kind of Barbeque to suit your lifestyle. Bigger for the more frequent chefs, or if it’s just for a family of four one of the smaller BBQ sizes. Think about options on wheels to make it more convenient to move around your garden space.
- Add a luxurious outdoor pouffe that you can move around or bring indoors when needed.
- Colourful lanterns can really give that extra edge to your garden furniture.
- Finish off your space with some stylish planters, placed in strategic positions around your outdoor space.
- Work to a budget.
Put aside a specific amount to redecorate your outdoor space. For some furniture its worthwhile investing in better quality, simply because of the extra durability. If the space is smaller and more flexible, look for budget-friendly options like the items we have available in our clearance and sellout section online. New ideas are always just around the corner and even though you’re designing and choosing garden furniture that suits your lifestyle today, remember that how you spend your time in the future might change too.
Allow yourself the flexibility of an evolving outdoor space.
One that’s perfect for you. Your family. Your friends. And above all your personality and lifestyle.