Living Inside Out

Our brief for the outdoor area at this private villa in Marbella was to create a seamless connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces. The terrace is multi-functional and works exceptionally well as an open plan social space for entertaining. A combination of comfortable seating surrounds a bespoke coffee table where family and friends can socialise with drinks or watch TV. The screen is cleverly concealed in a bespoke kitchen unit with a motorised lift and antique brass cover plate. The outdoor kitchen houses everything needed including a fridge freezer and storage for crockery and glassware. Outdoor fabrics by Hermes, Dedar and Abbott + Boyd were used for the cushions and upholstery to create the same level of luxury as seen inside the villa. A separate area with bespoke garden furniture allows for more formal dining and features umbrellas made bespoke for Bernard Interiors by Santa Barbara Designs in the US. Carefully curated decorative accessories including lanterns, lamps and plants provide the perfect finishing touches to ensure this space feels just as welcoming as in the inside.

During lockdown it was lovely to see so many families appreciating and enjoying their outdoor spaces more and with the current lovely weather, we’re sharing some tips on how to create your very own outdoor oasis at home. Whether it’s a garden, terrace or small yard, the outdoor space of a home should flow as an extension of indoors. There are so many clever tricks to make it feel just as homely and stylish!


Define the Areas

Think about how the outdoor space will be used. If you need to create a multifunctional space that the whole family can enjoy it may be necessary to create several different zones within the area. A tranquil space for reading, an open space for children to play and separate areas for lounging and dining work really well.


Shade and Sun

If you want to maximise the sunlight, watch how the sun moves around the space before deciding where to create your different zones. A quiet zone for reading might work best in a shady, sheltered space whereas lounging and dining may work best in areas that get the sun for the longest. Umbrellas and retractable awnings can then be used to create shade in these areas if needed.



To create a stylish outdoor living room, informal lounging furniture works perfectly. Corner sofas accessorised with colourful cushions will bring texture and warmth to the area, providing the ideal space to relax outside. If space is limited, bench seats with cushions work just as well and can double up as storage units or coffee tables. Pouffes are a great addition to any outdoor area as they create flexible, moveable seating options and can also be used as side  tables and footstools.


Outdoor Rugs

The introduction of a rug will really bring the inside outdoors, creating domestic comfort in an al-fresco setting. Rugs provide a focal point and bring texture to the area as well as helping to tie your whole scheme together. Outdoor rugs also assist with creating ‘rooms’ as they act like invisible walls and can be used to define the different spaces. To brighten up a patio consider using a colourful, geometric rug to create impact – it will really help to transform the look of your outdoor space!



Adding lighting to an outdoor space will help to create ambience, ensuring the space is equally as inviting after the sun goes down. Festoon lights strung along fences or inbetween trees will bring a laidback and relaxed feel. Lanterns can be used to create atmospheric lighting for entertaining; either in clusters on the ground in lounging areas or placed on the outdoor dining table to create a warm glow. An eclectic mix of lanterns in different sizes will always be a welcome addition to any outdoor area as they are so portable and can be moved inside easily when not in use.


Planting and Greenery

At Bernard Interiors, we include greenery within every interior scheme to boost feelings of positivity and wellbeing, and the design of an outdoor space is no different! As well as having these psychological benefits, the addition of foliage and flowers will bring colour and vibrancy to the space, as well as helping with privacy as you create your own outdoor oasis. In our Marbella project, we installed a screen of olive trees to ensure the space is private and secluded as well as adding decorative greenery to the tables to create a homely and welcoming feel.

As mentioned in a previous journal piece, we were due to be fitting out a luxury Marbella apartment in April. The project is now very close to completion and we can’t wait to share the stylish design features we’ve included to make the most of the balcony – watch this space!

Whether it’s a garden, terrace or small yard, the outdoor space of a home should flow as an extension of indoors.


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Photography © Neale Smith / Kristen McCluskie