Outdoor living spaces designed by lou brown design

I often get asked, “Do you do outside areas, too?” Of course, I do. Outdoor living spaces are just an extension of a home’s interior and require the same rules and requirements, such as balance, grouping, layering, and focal points.

By sprucing up your exterior, you gain extra living space, and when done right, you can use this extra space almost year-round. Sure, this requires some higher-ticket items, such as shelter from wind and rain and a heat source, which may be on the long-term want list. However, you can do many things in the interim to take your outdoor living spaces to the next level.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Furniture Placement

outdoor living spaces designed by lou brown design

Make sure your existing furniture is positioned correctly. Configure relaxed seating in a square or U-shape, facing each other to encourage conversation, creating inviting outdoor living spaces. Pull furniture away from exterior walls to make the area look spacious. If space is tight, opt for smaller pieces like occasional chairs, ottomans, bench seats, and narrow daybeds.

To elevate your outdoor living spaces, anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug. This transformation blurs the lines between interior and exterior. Outdoor rugs are inexpensive, durable, and fantastic looking, providing structure, balance, and warmth underfoot.


I’m available for 3x in-home interior design consults per month.

My popular in-home interior consult is a game changer!

It’s a working meeting where we ACTUALLY get stuff done. I answer all of your questions, show you what to do and where to go for suppliers and trades.

Get INSTANT results and receive a customised design plan that you can work through at your own pace.

You can achieve the home you deserve. With the right advice.

Enhancing Outdoor Living Spaces: Creative Lighting Ideas

Another critical aspect often overlooked is outdoor lighting in outdoor living spaces. Candles and lanterns add warmth inexpensively. An oversized pendant above the coffee or dining table anchors the furniture and creates a gorgeous, warm glow at night. This light source could be as simple as a bundle of rusty wire, an old chandelier frame with seed lights, or a hanging group of lanterns with candles.

Think about the surrounding landscape; positioning a few uplights in your garden will create magic and expand the sense of space in the evening.

outdoor living spaces designed by lou brown design pool area

Outdoor Living Spaces: Planters, Plants And Maintenance

Outdoor Living Spaces: Planters, Plants, and Maintenance.

One of the most common mistakes I see is the wrong-sized planters. Go large with a few planters rather than many small pots dotted around, which clutter the space. A thin layer of coarse white lime chip on the soil dresses the planters nicely. Trim back any overly vigorous vines and trees blocking views or sunlight. Fill gaps below larger plants with ground covers and seasonal colour.

Give your deck, outdoor upholstery, and teak furniture a good clean. I recently gave my outdoor teak table and bench seats a quick sand and applied a product called Instant Grey. They look fantastic! I highly recommend it.

Outdoor fabrics

Outdoor fabrics have come a long way! You can even get outdoor velvet these days that are divine!

Refreshing scatter cushions is a sure way to reinject life into your outdoor living spaces. Have at least three different fabrics and seek patterns that evoke fond memories and make you happy. Muster the confidence to throw in something incoordinate and unexpected; you might be surprised how much it enlivens the space.

When selecting upholstered seating for your outdoor living spaces, think carefully about the colour. Black fabric heats up quickly and shows marks and animal hair as much as white does. However, white can be pretty glary and shows mildew. I try to opt for a mid-tone, or if I go with a lighter colour, I will opt for a two-toned fabric with a salt-and-pepper-like texture.

If you have kids and need extra seating, large outdoor floor cushions (approx. 750 x 750mm) that can be placed in the corner of the room and pulled out when needed are a great way to inject colour and functionality. Bean bags (or my personal preference, bean chairs) are also an affordable way to add extra seating.

Get your interior design journey started with Auckland Interior Designer Hayley by heading over to the Strategy Session booking page.

Hayley x


A word from our clients…

I worked with Hayley after buying a small house in rather a dreary state. On a limited budget, the place has been transformed with Hayley’s help. It was a collaborative process and Hayley was happy to listen. She came up with a comprehensive plan which I felt comfortable with at all times.

Angela Coddington
We needed help after living in our home for a year and still undecided on what to do. She is extremely talented at adding colour and texture and blending it with features we already had in our rooms. Hayley is professional; we love the new look she gave to our home. All our friends agree – she did a fantastic job.
Jane Sparnon

We’re thrilled to bits with how things came together. The whole point was about making this place feel like it really belonged to us, and that home felt like a place where we really wanted to be. We’re enjoying chipping away, collecting artwork, and finishing off little bits and pieces, confident in knowing what will work in our space.

Grace Brebner