Now more than ever our home is our oasis. Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept us cooped up inside—but now it is time to return to the outdoors.
Typically summertime reprieves are associated with long weekend getaways or carefree al fresco dining at waterfront restaurants. And while New York and states across the nation are continuing to slowly reopen, many homeowners are opting instead to relax, mask-free in their own backyards. Creating an outdoor sanctuary that mimics the comfort and luxury of indoor spaces is becoming increasingly popular, said Michael Yaraghi, the owner and president of luxury home goods retailer Safavieh.
“After being inside the house for three months during the cold season, people want to enjoy their backyards,” Yaraghi said. “They want to refresh everything because they can’t go to a friend’s house or a restaurant. They want to make their backyards as nice as they can so they feel like they’re on vacation.”
In sharp contrast to last year’s trends that favored heavy materials, such as iron accents, summer 2020 is all about contemporary home decor that emphasizes clean lines, lightness, and, most of all, comfort. That is true both in terms of color and accessories, Yaraghi noted. Airy hues like blue and white are the most apropos outdoor fabric colors of the season. The palette is prominent in Safavieh’s summer outdoors product line.
“Lifestyle is becoming more causal everywhere—inside the home and outside,” he said. “The idea is that no one can go anywhere, they can’t travel, so people are making their homes an oasis.”
The increased emphasis on the outdoor space has changed the landscape and perspective of outdoor furniture. A prime example of inviting the comfort of the indoors into the backyard is the increasing demand for outdoor sectionals. Upholstered in waterproof fabrics, such as Sunbrella, the cozy couch-like sectionals welcome relaxation and modern style.
“Sectionals are popular for outdoor seating,” Yaraghi said. “People don’t want to sit on a thin cushion, they want to sit together comfortably.”
Outdoor rugs that withstand the elements are another popular accessory when it comes to creating an outdoor living room. Ralph Lauren’s striped outdoor rugs, which come in tranquil shades of blues, greens and whites, are among the most sought-after this season. Lighter furniture finishes like light gray, stone colors and live edge wood are other elements that help create a comforting outdoor living space.
In June, Safavieh began reopening its brick-and-mortar retail locations across the region with social distancing restrictions in place. The company, which recently opened two new stores in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and in Norwalk, is supplying masks, gloves and sanitizers at the door for shoppers. Additionally, it eliminated 20 percent of indoor inventory in all of its stores to encourage social distancing.
“When people walk in it will be much more open, they will not feel crowded,” Yaraghi said. “We have different design sections so no one has to be together in one room.”
Technology also plays a part. Their designers are available via Zoom to help customers select the right furnishings for their homes without coming into the stores. In-person shoppers also have the luxury of viewing potential designs on large TV screens from a safe distance.
“The customers are very excited to be able to come in,” Yaraghi said about the reopening. “They have been waiting for months and they are finally able to create the backyard of their dreams.”
Safavieh Home Furnishings is located at 2 Channel Dr., in Port Washington.