If you’re lucky enough to have some outside space, even if it’s a small balcony or you the front driveway, make the most of it with some cool outdoor furniture. There’s some beautiful materials and durable fabrics (that won’t go mouldy) available now – you can get it looking even better than your living room! It also creates another living space for you or the family, and in this tropical climate you know will get used most days. Here are some recommendations from our readers.
Karen and Charles Ferguson, and children Madeline and William, Chinese-American
We’d had our home redecorated a year ago and Ronnie from Retro Dec came highly recommended by the firm who did our house. He and his team did an amazing job with our indoor furniture, so we were thrilled to have Ronnie refresh our outdoor furniture as well.
Most of our outdoor pieces had been purchased from Teak & Mahogany a long ago, save for the solid teakwood coffee table, which we’d bought from an antique furniture shop in Siglap. They’re great quality and perfect to use in the outdoor area. However, with the strong sun, the pieces had slowly turned dull and become damaged, so Ronnie helped us transform them by painting, and including extra layers of protection, making the furniture look brilliant and future-proof.
We are extremely happy with Retro Dec’s services. They created a unique look for our tropical-style terrace, and their attention to detail and commitment to our satisfaction make them second to none. Ronnie is a true professional and a craftsman, and we’d highly recommend him to people who would like to recycle, re-use and protect their furniture, as well as the general redecoration of your home.
Anna Wihtol, Finnish
We already had an outdoor dining table and lounge chairs, and were looking to buy a new sofa group suitable for our balcony. I was in Tanglin Mall, chatting to a lady in a shop, and I just so happened to ask her if she knew of a place where you could buy good-quality furniture for a good price, as we were new to Singapore and looking to buy quite a few pieces of furniture for our home. She pointed me to Laura of Home Essentials, which I am really grateful for.
Laura came to have a look at our home and then we looked at her furniture together to find nice pieces that would fit. The great thing about Laura is that she can also custom-make anything, to any size and colour.
We ended up buying an L-shaped sofa for the balcony, and a glass-top table to go with it. I would usually go with white or greyish tones, but Laura convinced me to buy a dark brown sofa with turquoise fabric instead, which is more funky and colourful, and a little different from what everyone else has. It gives the balcony a bit of colour and fits well with our more neutral interior.
Jennifer Ilkiw, with daughters Halia and Georgie Marsden, Canadian
I’ve lived in Singapore for over 15 years now, and last year I finally bought an apartment. I wanted somewhere my kids could call home, rather than moving every few years. I gutted and renovated it, and while I had furnished everything inside, I hadn’t done much to the outdoor area. Usually the kids and I would get a picnic blanket to sit outside or we would use it to dry laundry, so I wanted something more. I wanted a set of furniture that was durable, provided a separate living space, and was somewhere the girls and I could sit together and read as they grew older.
I did a lot of online research, and OHMM was by far one of the best-rated stores. I read reviews that said their pieces and the cushions sat out in the elements for over eight years and still looked good, and that was important to me. I didn’t want to be forever dragging the cushions in and out of the house.
I ended up getting the Mantra collection. I chose the platinum finish as it went really well with the tiles I had installed outside. I chose the charcoal cushion covers so I didn’t have to worry about the kids staining anything. For accent pieces, I picked beige and blue – I figured I could change the blue accent cushions to something else in the future and get a new look quite easily. I appreciate someone helping me with design and colour, and the folks at OHMM were good. They showed me a number of styles in other houses in Singapore so I could get an idea of what it would look like.
We love our new furniture; it’s like having an additional living room, and when my parents were visiting recently they practically lived out there!
Cynthia Sanvicente, American, husband Daniel, Spanish-American, and daughter Emma
The outdoor furniture we had in our apartment in Shanghai was dark, so we wanted to lighten things up this time. We wanted pieces that would help merge the living room and balcony area into one comfortable space without blocking the surrounding greenery. I was determined to find an outdoor set that was contemporary yet comfortable, without competing with the interior aesthetic.
We came to know Originals during our first stint in Singapore from 2004 to 2009, so we were excited to look them up again when we moved back last summer. The company has evolved over the years and even changed location, but they have stayed true to their original style and outstanding level of customer service. It’s easy to become distracted from one’s mission while wandering through their showroom, but the welcoming and knowledgeable staff is always around to answer questions or offer new ideas and suggestions.
We chose a pair of Bromo two-seater sofas from the outdoor furniture collection, complemented by one of the store’s distressed-teak coffee tables. This furniture stood out because, while it’s contemporary in nature, the design is timeless. The sofas sit a bit lower than conventional outdoor seating, and they are armless and virtually backless, making them ideal for lounging or casually entertaining friends.
We are really happy with our new furniture, and it gives us yet another reason to spend time together outside!
Ong Chong Ching, Singaporean
We moved from an apartment with four balconies to our current house, which has a patio and outdoor space. The outdoor furniture came with us to our new home, but it wasn’t enough. We also needed help to leverage the entire outdoor space to create a functional and beautiful entertainment area where we could hang out to relax or host parties, while reusing all our existing furniture. As Arete Culture had helped us before, naturally we called them again. They designed the flow of the area and the overall concept, and they advised us on the pieces that would help us achieve our goals.
We first met with owner Caroline two and a half years ago, and hit it off straight away. She is fantastic to work with – artistic and customer-centric, and she made us feel special and looked after. She also knew instinctively what we would like in terms of style and aesthetics. Caroline was an obvious choice to go back to when we moved into this current place.
We bought quite a few pieces of outdoor furniture, but they assisted us with so much more than this. For example, the Arete Culture team helped us to position every piece of furniture and decorative item in our home in the right place, to create what you see today. If we move house again, I will call Caroline immediately for her assistance.
My advice on buying outdoor furniture would be to invest in pieces that are sturdy and weatherproof, as well as timeless in design, and don’t be afraid to accessorise; it makes the world of difference.
Want more home inspiration? See our home decor section!