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Outdoor living trends

Multi-use patios on-trend for 2021

The outdoor living trend continues to grow (accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic), with more US homeowners now more aware of their outdoor spaces. And the experts from heating and outdoor furniture specialists, MAD Design, say creating outdoor living spaces for year-round use is here to stay.

“Alfresco areas such as the patio have undergone massive changes in recent times,” says Stephane Thomas, Director of MAD Design Group, whose brands include EcoSmart Fire (ethanol fires), HEATSCOPE® (infrared radiant heaters), and Blinde Design (outdoor furniture).

“They’ve gone from an occasional place to entertain or unwind to become multi-use outdoor rooms with features enabling year-round usage for living, relaxing, exercising and entertaining and working. There’s a new saying that describes it well: ‘Staying in is the new going out’. And Americans want to make staying in more comfortable and enjoyable".

Stephane Thomas, Director MAD Design Group

Thomas says in recent months he’s noticed a spike in homeowners wanting upgraded heating solutions and weather-resistant furniture and accessories. “This year – and beyond – people will continue to transform their patios into inviting outdoor-indoor rooms,” he says. “The emphasis is on making these spaces comfortable, warm and attractive by incorporating functional and stylish outdoor furniture and heating.”

MAD Design's top 3 outdoor living trends for 2021

1. Weather-resistant furniture and accessories

Weather-resistant furniture

With patio furniture exposed to the elements, it needs to be durable and weather resistant. Blinde Design’s new range of furniture and accessories are made from high-performance materials including natural teak, Fluid™ Concrete, Sunbrella® Fabric and coated aluminum.

2. Versatile heating solutions

Versatile heating solutions

In recent months, MAD Design has experienced a spike in sales of its outdoor/patio heaters including its ethanol and gas EcoSmart Fires, and the award-winning and fast-heating HEATSCOPE® infrared radiant heaters, which create a sun-like warmth and are more energy-efficient than gas heaters and other electric heaters. In strong demand are EcoSmart’s clean-burning fire pits and multi-function fire pit tables – in particular the industry-exclusive teak fire tables. “They blend perfectly with our Blinde Design teak furniture,” says Thomas. “They also in a range of styles and sizes and serve a dual-purpose – ranging from coffee tables to dining tables.”

3. Integrated / seamless transition between indoors and outdoors

Seamless transition between indoors and outdoors

Blinde Design has created a range of stylish, durable outdoor/indoor furniture – chairs, tables, modular sofas, bar carts, planters – that are functional and can be easily repositioned to create a harmonious look and a seamless transition between indoors and out.

Functional and multiple statement pieces

Functional statement pieces

Statement pieces are trending in 2021! And according to the experts, multiple and functional statement pieces are in, while single, decoration-only statement pieces are ‘passé’.

Stephane Thomas, Director of MAD Design USA, whose brands include Blinde Design furniture and accessories, and fireplace brand EcoSmart Fire, says the trend this year is to “make a statement with multiple pieces without dominating a space”.

“And as we’re using our homes more, people also want them to be functional,” Thomas says. “Statement pieces create a focal point by attracting the eye with an interesting or unique design, a grand scale, or a commanding central position. Statement pieces can reflect your style and personality and are often the first thing people notice when they enter a home.

“A single statement piece can look isolated, like it doesn’t belong. A few statement pieces are just as eye-catching but anchor the other pieces of furniture and accessories and create a balanced, harmonious look. Some have likened this technique to a performance – there’s a star of the show and the supporting cast.”

All Blinde Design furniture and accessories and EcoSmart Fires are functional and stylish statement pieces. Their elegant, timeless lines are eye-catching, and they cater to any lifestyle and occasion – indoors and on the patio, as they’re crafted from strong, hardwearing weather-resistant materials, which can withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.

“And as they share complementary clean lines and subtle natural hues and textures, it’s easy to create an attractive statement using multiple pieces. Our concrete coffee tables and planter pots also have the two most popular colours of 2021 – gray and yellow – which is added with side rope stitching,” says Thomas.

To make a statement 2021-style with Blinde Design and EcoSmart Fire:

  • Position a modular sofa and coffee table in the middle of a room or patio.
  • Create a setting with three or four armchairs and a round, square or rectangle concrete coffee table.
  • Cluster three or four planters in different sizes with different or matching side rope embellishment colours and fill with living or artificial plants.
  • Add an EcoSmart fire table or fire pit to an indoor room or patio and surround with a modular sofa or armchairs.
  • For small rooms, balconies or patios, add a Blinde Design Bar Cart and fill it with interesting or colourful items such as vases, glasses, or decanter.

Trans-seasonal living

Traditionally the domain of indoor spaces, the open fireplace is ‘on the move.' And more than ever, EcoSmart Fires are being incorporated into outdoor spaces for trans-seasonal living — but not aways in the way you might think!

Think lighting, ambience or simply and effectively transforming an outdoor space to create a design statement or eye-catching focal point Whatever the use, the EcoSmart Fire is changing the paradigm.

"We continually transform our designs to suit the ever-changing needs of consumers and design professionals."

Stephane Thomas, Director of MAD Design Group

"For us its all about solutions — enabling homeowners and design professionals to create bespoke fireplaces and fireplace settings — all underpinned by the uniquely versatile EcoSmart Fire.

"Who said EcoSmart Fires are just for the cooler months? Apart from providing warmth, they have numerous other benefits."

Whether it be incorporating EcoSmart Fires versatile burner kits or fireboxes into tailored settings or choosing from the vast outdoor fireplace range, it's that easy to add instant style and substance to pool decks, patios, rooftops, terraces, balconies and courtyards.

Capturing the same elements you would normally find inside the home — imagine warmth, comfort and luxury — fireplaces are now seen as a living, breathing extension of our personalities and lifestyles.

Light up your life

Light up your life

Creatively illuminating garden, pool and alfresco areas is one of the most effective ways to bring them to life. EcoSmart Fires can bring an outdoor area alive at night. Light up these spaces with a soft, alluring glow — easily and efficiently, without any connections.

Using an EcoSmart fireplace as a feature also creates an enticing 'desire line' or vista when viewed from inside the home, drawing people outside to enjoy the nighttime ambiance once the sun has set.

On the move

On the move

EcoSmart Fireplaces do not require a chimney or a flue, and because the liquid bioethanol is housed in a purpose-built tank, there are no restrictive cables or gas connections. This means that EcoSmart fireplaces can be installed just about anywhere.

With no need for a utility connection, EcoSmart Fire's are fully portable and can be moved on a whim or left in a permanent location.

Heart of the garden

Heart of the garden

Not only do EcoSmart Fires create a stunning focal point when used as a key design feature — or the main focal point of a garden — they also create cosy entertaining spaces that can be utilised year round.

Trans-seasonal heating

Trans-seasonal heating

Akin to the kitchen being the heart of the home, a fireplace is widely considered the centrepiece of an outdoor room. It's the ultimate drawcard, adding a comfort factor much like plush cushions and furnishings do indoors.

When it comes to setting a scene and drawing people to outdoor areas, an EcoSmart outdoor fire provides a solution that's smart, easy to use, and really makes a statement.

Timeless, streamlined designs

Timeless, streamlined designs

EcoSmart Fires' signature clean lines are designed to fit within a modern architectural space, while enhancing the contemporary aesthetics of today's living environments. They are also easy to keep clean; ensuring they not only stay looking great for years to come but burn cleanly and efficiently.

Friendly fire

Friendly fire

Unlike wood-fired models, EcoSmart Fires are fuelled by bioethanol fuel, a readily available, environmentally friendly, renewable energy with no smoke, no mess and no fuss. Its the cleanest, most efficient fuel source on the market.

Tips for transforming your patio for summer

Tips for transforming your patio for summer

Summer’s fast approaching and patio improvement is on the top of many to-do lists! In fact, over half of Americans are planning to improve their outdoor living spaces during the ‘Year of the Yard’. And although a recent national survey revealed 90% of Americans consider their outdoor living areas more valuable than ever, a whopping 88% are dissatisfied with their lack of comfort, function and style.

However, this can be easily rectified – and the team at MAD Design USA have some simple tips to help transform your outdoor space.

“Durable, comfortable, versatile outdoor furniture with complementary designs, textures and hues, combined with heating solutions that effectively warm the entire patio to create an inviting ambiance can simply and dramatically alter the space,” says Stephane Thomas, Director MAD Design USA, whose brands include Blinde Design, EcoSmart Fire and radiant heating solution HEATSCOPE®.

Every piece of Blinde Design’s indoor-outdoor furniture range has been designed to make patios of any size more comfortable, functional and stylish. “Comfort-wise, all our generous-size armchairs, sturdy bar stools and multi-configuration modular sofas have soft supportive seating and optional scatter cushions. And as every piece is crafted from hard-wearing weather-resistant materials, like natural teak and steel with high-performance outdoor Sunbrella® fabric, they retain their good looks for years,” says Thomas.

To further improve the function of any patio, Thomas recommends flexible settings with pieces that can be easily repositioned to suit your needs and each occasion, whether it’s a family get-together or entertaining friends. Thomas recommends creating settings with any combination of Blinde Design’s chairs, sofa modules, and durable lightweight Fluid™ Concrete coffee tables, which come in a variety of shapes, heights and sizes.

Next step is heating. According to Thomas, while most people know heating is essential for creating comfortable and inviting patios, many find it difficult knowing which heater to invest in. “Combining an eco-friendly, clean-burning EcoSmart fire table or fire pits with a HEATSCOPE® radiant heater means you enjoy the warmth and visual appeal of gently flickering flames and a consistent soft sun-like warmth throughout your patio. This is because radiant heaters discretely and quietly heat people and surfaces on the patio, not the surrounding air, which also makes them effective and energy efficient.”

And for a finishing style touch? Bring the garden onto your patio with unique and stylish Blind Design Fluid™ Concrete planter pots with rope embellishment to create cool, fresh green vistas.

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