How To Style Your Alfresco Area

December 22, 2016
style alfresco area

Whether you’ve got a large entertaining deck or a small apartment balcony you want to make better use of, this guide will help you style your alfresco area like a pro.

The good news is that styling any outdoor area comes down to the same basic principles which you can apply on a shoestring with a bit of creativity or on a larger budget.

The first step

Before you get started, you should have a good idea of what you want to use the area for and what kind of vibe you want to create. Do you want a chilled out area where you can relax on your own with a book or a morning coffee, or do you want a chic outdoor entertaining space where your family and friends can gather for a feast? You should also be realistic with what you can do in the area you have.

The core five elements to style an alfresco area

There are five basic elements that every outdoor space should have:


The first component to add to your alfresco area is seating, and there are so many options.

You could have a porch swing, a hammock, a wooden bench, dining chairs, a sunlounge, outdoor lounges or even some cushions scattered on the floor.

If you’re on a budget you could upcycle some sturdy wooden crates or pallets and put some cushions on top.


Next is a table either to rest a drink or magazine on, or as a focal point for everyone to gather around and enjoy a meal on in a larger space.

It could be a full size outdoor dining table, a small side table or a fold up picnic table if you’re short on space.


Lighting can be a practicality if you’re planning to use your space after daylight, or a feature to enhance the atmosphere you’re trying to create.

You could incorporate floor lamps, down lighting (if the area has a roof), lanterns, pendant lights, traditional outdoor wall lighting, garden bollards, fairy lights, a fire pit or some candles.


Add some life, interest and colour to your outdoor area with some plants.

It could be a simple potted orchid on your side table, some cacti, surrounding shrubbery, potted plants, a space saving vertical garden or flower box, or some herbs on a ledge.


Living in Australia, a shade or cover is a necessity if you want to be able to use your outdoor space all year round and especially in summer.

This doesn’t mean there needs to be a solid roof or professionally installed shades – get creative with beach umbrellas, a shade sail or a handmade canopy.

The extras

Now that you have the basics in place you can leave it at that or add some extra dimension and detail to make your space a bit more unique.

Here are a few ideas:

A rug or floor covering

A rug will help mark the boundary of your outdoor area, make it feel like an intentional room, add a level of comfort and help bring the look or style theme together.

It will also help you disguise any flooring you may not love.

Make sure any rugs are outdoor friendly for easy maintenance. It could be a colourful, patterned rug, a Persian style carpet, some round beach towels, or something as a simple as a bamboo mat.

On the subject of flooring, if you are building a space from scratch or have the budget to update the floors, it’s a good idea to stick with timber decking or dark tiled pavers for ease of maintenance and versatility.


Some well-chosen accessories will add personal flair to your space and allow you to change the look up each season if you wish.

This could include cushions, table runners, vases, blankets or some art.

Water feature

If you like the idea of a water feature, there are many options that might suit your space.

You could have a simple electronic water feature on your table or go bigger with a pond, a fountain or a waterfall wall feature.

Outdoor kitchen

If you want this space to be an outdoor dining area, you could incorporate your barbecue, an outdoor bar fridge or even a drinks station.

If there is no room for this in your alfresco area, think about ease of accessibility to your actual kitchen.

Privacy curtains

Want this to be a completely private sanctuary away from the prying eyes of your neighbours?

You can rig up some privacy curtains yourself or have some professionally installed, or use hedging plants to create a wall.

Try not to completely shut yourself off though – it’s an alfresco area after all and meant to give you a connection to the outdoors.

While creating an outdoor space from scratch might seem intimidating when it’s a blank canvas, follow these tips and you’ll have your own outdoor oasis in no time.

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