It's looking like summer could be a good one this year in Aotearoa. The Met Service says that El Nino's effects could last into the beginning of 2016, making for drier and hopefully sunnier conditions across the country – though it might not always feel like it at the moment.

Homeowners are getting prepared, with the back yard being the perfect setting for daytime barbeques and night time stargazing. Of course, you'll want to be comfortable too, and bring some of your interior design preferences to those outdoor spaces.

If you're searching for design inspiration, there are a number of current and up-and-coming trends for getting your home and garden looking on point and ready for summer. Here are three to look out for.

1) Shibori

Thought to be the oldest example of tie-dye in the world, the art of shibori dates back to 8th-century Japan. Standing the test of time, the method is still used today, and is fast becoming a favourite for adding unique and colourful patterns to soft furnishings, such as outdoor cushions, throws and rugs.

We recently caught up with Lillian Baker from Furtex, who offered some advice on where to begin when adding a touch of excitement to your home using such soft furnishings.
"I would start by decluttering. I think doing that gives you a bit of space to think in the first place," she advised. "It's about celebrating the seasons, which is something soft furnishings offer really easily. It's a great way to add a little colour and vibrancy to your home or use a muted palette to add warmth."

Soft furnishings provide almost infinite ways to celebrate the seasons and, as Lillian added, they allow you to "live in that moment a little more." Shibori patterns could be just what your interior or exterior is missing.

Soft furnishings provide almost infinite ways to celebrate the seasons and, as Lillian added, they allow you to "live in that moment a little more." Shibori patterns could be just what your interior or exterior is missing.

2) Natural materials

As Kiwis, we've got an affinity with nature. While in winter it can feel like a one-way relationship, in summer it's a perfect time to bring some of those natural elements into and around your home.
Wood is a good example. As a renewable resource, it fits perfectly with our ancient cultural heritage, while being an ideal foil for designers looking for warmth and a long-lasting material. For those decorating a home, wooden furniture can add a flow between the outdoors and your house's interior, bringing nature into your home or placing outdoor furniture into your exterior spaces.

It's also good for those looking to entertain, being a lightweight and versatile material that's typically easy to move around the home as and when you need it

3) A splash of colour

While winter is a good season for greys and other muted colour choices, the summer months are your chance to add excitement around your home. A great way to do that is with a few soft furnishings.

Three good colour options are:
- Pastel blues: Giving the natural and serene impression of water. Whether you live near the coast or not, it's easy to bring a sense of the sea into your home and garden.
- Lime greens: For those wanting to be a little daring. Just like your summer cocktail, lime can add a refreshing twist to your interior and exterior design.
- Yellow: Known as the "happiest colour", there aren't many hues more summery than yellow, bringing with it a semblance of the sun.

If you're looking at textiles, you shouldn't stop at colour either, as Lillian continues to explain.
"A massive trend is in texture and taking the time to think about the three-dimensional surface and how things are made," she added. This means not only considering the look of your furniture or soft furnishings but its feel through the material it's made out of. Woven and heavily knitted designs can be as warm and welcoming in summer as they are during the colder months.