Balinese Outdoor Living

I’ve been hoarding

inspirational images of outdoor Balinese architecture and design for almost a year now, and I think I’m finally ready to share a few diddies that make my travel-hungry heart go pitter-patter.

One of my favourite Balinese design books, Living In Bali, was written by Anita Lococo and published by Taschen – my favourite publisher of design reference books. The photographs by Reto Guntli are stunning – they have been the source of much inspiration when it comes to my personal design style.

In Bali, outdoor spaces are just as important as indoor spaces - a mode of thinking that is attributed to the Balinese respect for nature.

I had heard of how beautiful the architecture and landscaping in Bali is, but I had no idea the extent to which trees, shrubs, flowers and grass comprise a major chunk of the design aesthetic.

Bali has a strong understanding of outdoor living.

After a visit to Bali (which remains one of the top 5 most beautiful places in the world I’ve visited so far), I became OBSESSED with Balinese outdoor design. It’s all just SO darn pretty. No really. Imagine a community of wood and stone architecture that values nature and religion more than the typical North American community values plenty of cars in the driveway… this design utopia is Bali.

Here are some examples of Balinese outdoor living that will give you a sense of the important role that nature plays in design and architecture:

A view of nature is a vital part of Balinese architecture and culture. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

A Balinese dwelling is often surrounded by beautiful vegetation. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

Natural finishes compliment the elements in this Balinese outdoor living space. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

These spaces feature living areas that embrace nature to the fullest extent – heck, the space IS OUTSIDE. The Balinese’s profound respect and love for nature has resulted in a balanced blending of the “outside” with the “inside“.

An outdoor sitting area, even if it's just a small breakfast nook, is part of most Balinese homes. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

I will let the images speak for themselves before I go on and on about how the stunning use of natural finishes and the abundance of landscaping combine to create magical outdoor spaces (it helps that the furniture is stunning too…).

An outdoor sitting area is perfect for quiet contemplation. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

I could enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, cocktail hour, coffee time, dessert, (you get the point)...right here with this view. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

The saffron cushions looks gorgeous against the stained wood and greenery background. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

Stone statues of Hindu gods and goddess are part of most outdoor Balinese spaces. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

Often times there are day beds in a Balinese outdoor living space. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

Another day bed pictured in this photo of an outdoor living space in Bali. (Photo by Reto Guntli)

The concept behind Balinese outdoor living is very appealing to me – not only are the spaces well designed (give me wood, stone, cotton and greens and I’m happy!) but they represent and encourage practicing the Balinese ideals of quiet contemplation, self-reflection and appreciation for nature.

All the photos in this post are from my favourite Balinese design book, Living In Bali. If you’d like to purchase a copy of this fabulous book, click HERE For a direct link to

Ohh…and in case you missed out on the news, Passport To Design has been nominated for a Lovelies award! I’d love for you to vote for P2D for the win if you can spare a moment to click HERE and find the Passport To Design banner. Thanks for the support, my dear readers. It warms my travel-hungry heart to see everyone voting. xox -Tania

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  1. Usually natural sytles and designs are not my thing. Like colonial and american west decor. Ugh! But this stuff is one with nature, it fits and flows with its energy.
    When things are in phase with eachother it draws you in! It will comfort you to your very soul. I think the Balinese did it right!

  2. why do I notice the typo right when I hit send? lol

  3. Haha, no worries about the typo – no one will notice (well, that is, no one would have noticed but you went and mentioned it so everyone will look for it LOL). I agree – the Balinese did it right. I love the organic and natural state of their architecture and design. It’s been something that I always strive to do in my own work…blend the inside and the outside as much as possible. Thanks for reading, Ron :)

  4. See thats how much I care about it! I called myself out! haha! Well back to that interview I am working on :-)

  5. I too love the concept of the outdoor room. They do it with such panache in Bali though there’s quite a distinction between homes occupied by the average Balinese and the amazing villas and luxury homes built for “tamu” – guests, as the Balinese refer to those of us not born there.

    The bale – the structure shown in the first foto – is a feature common to Balinese family compounds and many a villa. Given the Aussies’ love affair with the Island of the Gods, those bales have migrated down here in a big way. That’s especially so here in Perth where the climate lends itself to outdoor living for a good part of the year and we feel such an affinity with our near northern neighbour.

    So glad you’ve found some Bali inspiration. Bring it on!

  6. Thanks for commenting, Robyn – I always think of you when I release a Bali-based post. You’re probably the only other person I know besides myself that has an obsessive love affair with Bali :) Thanks for the info in your comment!

  7. So inspiring, especially in the dead of winter here! Makes me want to finish my backyard right now! I’ve voted for you too! Good Luck!

  8. Thanks for voting, Lisa :) I am crossing my fingers that the weather turns soon – I think everyone’s just about had it with the cold!

  9. Tania – Love the images of Bali design, decor and architecture. I am going to link your blog to our facebook page – Seasonal Living. Great photos and keep blogging away – Send us more images so that we can share with customers, retailers and designers around the world – Thanks again

  10. I would love to be linked to on your facebook page, Gary! I am already a fan of “Seasonal Living” :) Please feel free to join the Passport To Design facebook page here:

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