Outstanding Outdoor Room Inspiration

Top designers share their ideas for making the most of your lawn, lanai, backyard or barbeque.

Al Fresco Fabrics

The chairs and hammocks in the backyard of designer Sherri Donghia’s summerhouse are stylish and comfortable. The views are lush and verdant, and the swimming pool, sparkling and clear. But what really makes this space sing are the fabrics — colorful patterns from Donghia, Inc. (www.donghia.com), made of waterproof, weatherproof Sunbrella.

"The lounge chairs are covered in our Sombrero line, inspired by the textiles of Central America," says the designer, "and the arm chair is covered in an African-inspired print. Using the different patterns — and including all the different colorways of the Sombrero — really adds a touch of magic."

Bold color was especially important on this lawn, says Donghia, author of Donghia: The Artistry of Luxury and Style, and is something you should consider when placing seating near a grove of trees. "The trees are all green," she notes, "and our house is grayed shingle. Against that backdrop, the fabrics give you this amazing burst of color."

Whatever fabrics you select, says Donghia, make sure there is a variety of seating available in various parts of the outdoor space. "Not everyone is comfortable in a lounge chair," she says, "and there are always people who prefer to be in the shade."

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