The outdoor trends according to interior expert Nicolas Block from King George.

'The new luxury: an outdoor space with attention to every detail'


“Since the pandemic, our garden has evolved from prince to king. In other words, we are paying more and more attention (and money) to our piece of green, no matter how small or large. A conversation with interior watcher Nicolas Block about the outdoor space in 2023.”  

Hear it from the King himself

Nicolas Block gave an interesting interview about this with Wonen Plus. Watch it here:

Interview WonenPlus and TVplus, origineel:

At the top: Mikado outdoor table and Bok outdoor chair in teak with Natural cushions from Ethnicraft. At the bottom: Fast Solaris outdoor corner sofa, coffee table, and side table at Gervi Outdoor.

What trends can we expect for the upcoming outdoor season?

Our garden is growing up. About thirty years ago, we could choose between a white and an even whiter garden chair. Today, there is a spectacular range available, both in the low and high-end segments. Outdoor lighting, side tables, high tables, lounges, sunbeds, heated and audio-equipped umbrellas, kamado BBQs, outdoor offices, speakers shaped like stones, outdoor rugs… There are endless possibilities to create a high-level experience in the garden or on the terrace throughout the year. The budget for outdoor furniture today can sometimes even be higher than that for interior furnishings. Just five years ago, that was completely unthinkable.

Top: Noviso lounge in white aluminum from Exterioo. Bottom: Zenhit 77 low chairs, Styletto low dining table, and rug 2535 from Royal Botania.

Do you see certain colors recurring often?

‘Just like in interior design, there are two to three trends for outdoor spaces. Firstly, you have the enthusiasts of black and white. This color combination often appears in both hardscaping and furniture. Others prefer natural wood, where thermowood – wood made more sustainable through a heating process – has introduced a wide range of budget-friendly options. And similar to interior design, color is on the rise in our outdoor spaces as well. It makes sense when you consider that summer and sun call for a cheerful setting.’

Left: Kamal Kamado from Barbecook. Right: Artist-pan from BEKA Cookware.

Is the summer BBQ still popular?

‘The time when the BBQ was allowed out of the shed only once a year on Father’s Day is long gone. The garden has become an absolute experience space, and that includes a well-equipped (kamado) BBQ, smoker, pizza oven, charcoal grill, griddle… Outdoor cooking has become a complete experience that we put a lot of effort into. It has even reached the point where we use charred wood instead of charcoal.’

Do we eat outdoors all year round then?

‘Certainly. We no longer only stay outside in good weather. Our gardens and terraces are equipped with heaters, retractable windows, and even blankets and sheepskins. Sitting outside is a relaxation moment for the always indoors working person. Hosting friends in a stylish outdoor space is in vogue.’

Exes 300 dining table with white coated aluminum and teak, Jive 55 chairs, and rug 2543 from Royal Botania.

How are the garden furniture manufacturers responding?

‘Garden furniture has never been as sophisticated as it is today. Spending thousands of euros on a lounge or chair is not as challenging as it used to be. The outdoor furniture industry has grown so much that even all indoor furniture manufacturers have entered this lucrative market. Even high-end Italian and Scandinavian brands. We Belgians have been one of the best garden furniture makers in the world for decades. Think of brands like Royal Botania. So, the choice from our own country is phenomenal as well. Moreover, trends in the outdoor furniture sector are developing just as quickly as those in indoor furniture. Organic shapes, color, materiality: the outdoor industry is keeping up. Today, we see more and more low lounging and dining, a trend that many restaurants both in and outside of Belgium are embracing. It’s the ultimate comfort, but very laid-back – as relaxing as our outdoor moments should be.’

Left: Tribola table in teak and Borgo-round chairs in teak and natural wicker from Exterioo. Right: Table Allure O' and chair Flair'O designed by Monica Armani for B&B Italia at Gervi Outdoor.

Which materials set the tone?

‘Wicker in all shapes and sizes. Rattan has also matured. This results in very natural and organic looks. Imitating nature in nature creates a perfect blend. What also stands out: partially or completely upholstering outdoor furniture is all the rage. This has a lot to do with the revolution of outdoor textiles that are weather-resistant. Finishing a complete lounge set with fabric is no longer a problem. So, outdoor becomes truly indoor.’

Tiny space by Systimber.

Do treehouses, pool houses, and outdoor spaces like the outdoor office still do well?

An outdoor office is something we’ve become familiar with over the past few years and is here to stay. Especially because we often work from home. Our busy lives make us crave silence, to be one with nature. In other words, a whole industry has emerged that offers possibilities in terms of luxury entities in the garden. Units that can be used year-round. Offices, kitchens, open fires, wine coolers, saunas: it’s not either/or but both.

From Ethnicraft: Jack outdoor bench and lounge chair in teak with Natural cushion, teak coffee table, Donut outdoor pouf with Marsala upholstery and cushion.

Are there outdoor accessories that are reaching a larger audience in 2023?’

‘Outdoor rugs were mostly associated with very expensive luxury brands in the past, but now they are becoming more common. The reason is simple: just like in interior design, they complete the look of the outdoor lounge area or dining table. Outdoor standing lamps have also been gaining popularity for years and contribute to creating an indoor atmosphere outdoors.’

'From Mondial Tissus: Round tablecloth with Nappage Tinto Rose fabric (303445). Yellow checkered picnic tablecloth (298730).'

‘How do you navigate through all that offer and possibilities?’

‘Indeed, there are incredibly many possibilities today, just as many as for the interior. Choosing a fabric from a sample book of 500 samples that matches the chosen type of wood is no longer an exception. You almost have to be an interior designer to navigate through the outdoor offerings and create the right atmosphere. That’s why more and more professionals are starting to design terraces and gardens. A well-designed house with a lawn behind it is no longer in vogue today. The new luxury is an outdoor space with attention to every detail.’

‘Do landscape architects and garden maintenance professionals also get more work because of this trend?’

‘Absolutely. If you want to have a consistent theme just outside your home as inside, you almost have to rely on a landscape architect who has extensive knowledge of plants, knows the range of garden furniture, and can design a lighting plan for your garden.’

The ROCK waterproof speaker from ArtSound

A lighting plan for the garden?

Certainly. Today, you can’t just place spotlights randomly under a tree. Lighting is also carefully considered, with features like dimmable modules to create the perfect atmosphere. Sound is also getting more attention. We’re going for stereo sound at the loungers, tables, or by the pool. The ‘rocks’ from Art Sound fit nicely here: outdoor speakers in the shape of a stone that blends perfectly with a flowerbed.

Cabanon by Effegibi at Gervi

Are swimming pools and wellness facilities still on the rise?

‘Our summers are getting hotter, so many people are looking for ways to cool off. This ranges from a simple outdoor shower in a designer style that connects to a garden hose to a fully heated swimming pool. Saunas, infrared cabins, or jacuzzis that we place in the garden to enjoy year-round are still experiencing tremendous growth. The more you can relax at home, the more it is considered a luxury.’

Styletto lounge, Trilux lamp, and carpet 2535 from Royal Botania.

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