If the first glimpses of Spring sunshine are beckoning you outside, there’s no better way to enjoy it than by relaxing in your own outdoor space. Patio furniture is a big focus at the moment when it comes to trends in the home, as demonstrated in our October 2012 issue ‘Patio Pieces’ feature (page 19). We asked Alon Sachs, Director at Mobelli, for his top 10 outdoor furniture trends for the season. He gave us a sense of what we can expect… 1. Decorating A patio is no longer just a place for occasional eating or drinking. It’s an outdoor room and should be decorated as such. There’s now an emphasis on items that can survive the outdoors such as outdoor lights, accessories, beautiful furniture and outdoor fabrics. 2. Colours These are becoming bolder and more fun. Simple brown, which was the most popular colour choice for ages, is now being mixed with vibrant colours, taupes and greys. Bring out the colours with fabrics while keeping the frames more neutral and natural. 3. Materials Exposed powder coated aluminium and stainless steel frames with outdoor cushions, as well as upholstered collections are becoming more and more noticeable on patios. 4. Easy living Let’s face it – the outdoors is often a messy place. Dogs, kids running from the garden into the house, and wind carrying dust all amount to extra residues. It all results in a mess and you need furniture that can handle it and be easy to clean, easy to use. You should be able to use a hose pipe and wash away dirt without worrying that the furniture will rot. Hence, aluminium and outdoor fabrics are used extensively. 5. Illuminated accessories Multi-purpose illuminated tables, balls and squares are beginning to appear everywhere. At night, when the atmosphere is a bit more sublime, soft lights add an appealing element. Usually these lights are rechargeable and provide a nice comfortable light for entertaining. 6. Wicker furniture Wicker furniture that can withstand the weather are still the rage. Did you know that cane is hardly suitable for outdoor living and yet when we picture outdoor furniture in our minds, we tend to see cane furniture? This is because technological advances allow HDPE wicker (plastic wicker) to look so close to the real thing. Traditional vintage looking cane is making a big splash right now, and this time it is here to stay. A case in point is the Mobelli Traliccio (Trah-Li-Cho) collection. 7. Fireplaces Fireplaces have always been a feature to gather around and now days is no different. Whereas fire pits and the like are generally used in open outdoor areas, we see strong evidence of using controlled fire such as the Mobelli Falo or Dolce Vita fireplaces. In winter, they are used to heat areas when put on full flame. In summer, placing the flame on low will give off a comfortable and enchanting glow and you will find people are transfixed by it. Fire is an element that every patio should have. Moreover, even though we are currently in summer, many places in South Africa have warm days but chilly evenings well into December – a little bit of heat is good for the soul. Lastly, on a cool winter night, with patios that are designed to be protected from the rain, a heater will allow you to enjoy the outdoor air a wee bit longer. 8. Glass and aluminium Glass and aluminium tables with extensions are becoming really hot. People like glass tops because they are not messy (no food gets stuck in them) and they are ready for use within seconds (if they are dirty, just a wipe gets them ready in 15 seconds). The Mobelli Mediterranean extendable table and the Tesoro tables are very popular. Easy to use, easy to maintain and they have a phenomenal look. 9. Back to basics With outdoor living becoming all the buzz, too many new untried and untested products are coming onto the market. Stick with basics until the new technology has proven itself. At Mobelli we are presented with new materials monthly and even though the possibilities of these new materials lead us to new and exciting designs, these materials more often than not fail when placed outside. Use only proven materials that work for your area. In South Africa, with the harsh UV rays, most materials don’t last as long in direct sunlight and it is important to go back and use those materials that worked in the past, again and again. 10. Gathering of people There is nothing like eating outside, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make sure that your seats are comfortable so that you can spend hours outside. Have tables that allow social interaction – round tables are becoming popular again with a Lazy Susan in the middle to allow access to everything in the table. For more information or to find your nearest store, visit mobelli.co.za.