Summer-ise Your Home

Last week we dropped some hints for new outdoor items you may want to consider for your al fresco space this year if you have it. But patio furniture and tableware don’t exist in a vacuum. You may find the perfect lounger but what do you do with the space around it? And more crucially in Hong Kong, what do you do if there is no outdoor space but you want to summer-ise your home?

The usual suspects are on tap for this year: bright colours like yellow, lime and various vibrant blues, floral patterns and cool, textured fabrics. Those may be in but they’ve never really been out. But, as The Room Studio decorator Maayan Schwartz points out, “Ethnic and tribal fabrics are definitely quite popular this spring and summer, although they are no longer heavy with darker colours and have transformed into bright and summery prints. These fresh and exotic prints are fun and bright and really brighten up any room.”

Schwartz likes the look of a sophisticated black and white palette too, despite its seemingly philosophical contrast with the sunny seasonal vibe. “It’s been a staple in interior design over the years, but now we’re seeing more white rooms with black accents that takes a harsh edge off of the typical black and white contrast. The softer tones are easier on the eye and are a great pick for Hong Kong’s smaller spaces,” she says.

When the time comes to head outside, designer Stefano Tordiglione of ST Design recognises the emotional element of our spaces. “Whenever I see the products of ego Paris, I am reminded of the south of France, full of vibrant colours and mostly importantly, it is the time for holidays,” he notes. Colourful, sure but also with classically European lines according to Everything Under the Sun’s Managing Director Craig Pallister, whose newest additions to its showroom include products by serveral European brands.Pallister is also quick to note that materials and fabrics are consistently at the front of the curve for design trends and needs. “Raw material metals — aluminium, stainless steel and fibreglass — are very popular at the moment … Also tables made from metal frames with glass, High Pressure Laminate or teak tops are trendsetters,” he says. Not surprisingly weatherproof powder-coated aluminium frames, electro polished stainless steel and water- and/or weatherproof fabrics are popular. “With regular cleaning and maintenance these modern materials can last for years.” And therein lies the rub. They don’t last without proper care, which often depends only on old-fashioned soap and water. That’s crucial as our outdoors are increasingly treated as regular, everyday living spaces.

Pallister also suggests jazzing up the space with colourful planters made from lightweight fabrics that balance water, soil and air, like those by BACSAC. “The range of colours makes this product a great addition to any outdoor space” he says. And smart candles, made from wax but free of a real flame, are a rechargeable LED alternative to the real deal that provides the same ambient flicker — an ideal solution for windy evenings during typhoon season. Of course, no one is suggesting dining outdoors during a typhoon.

“When we talk about outdoor furniture, I always have the vision of colourful chairs and tables by the poolside,” says Tordiglione, despite a dearth of pools here. But who says you can fake it by incorporating the parts in a design scheme? Pallister prefers colour in bursts, suggesting light, white or neutral basics accessorised with bright throw cushions. Either way, “Summer is a time of passion, excitement and energy,” finishes Tordiglione. It’s a long season here, too. That’s potentially a lot of passion.