CREATING THE PERFECT OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM
Your deck or patio can serve multiple purposes - living room, kitchen with dining room, playroom – the sky’s the limit! The key is to create a space that’s functional, stylish and livable - a space that beckons you and your guests out for an evening for conversation and relaxation.
START WITH A PLAN: Your outdoor room is no different than any other room in your home. You want the space to flow and you want the space to coordinate with the style of your home. Start with a basic sketch of your outdoor living space and then layout the space. Determine the features you want to incorporate from outdoor cooking and dining spaces to conversation areas. Determine the amount of seating you want for your dining and living areas. Determine if umbrellas or other types of shade cover need to be provided to allow comfort and protection from the sun. Remember working from a master plan will allow you to stay on budget and create a space that’s perfect for you and your family.
LIVABILITY & FUNCTIONALITY: Think about how you intend to use this valuable space. The key to enjoying your outdoor living space is to make sure that this space is livable and functional. Plan separate areas for cooking, dining, and conversation. Make sure that you incorporate multi-purpose furniture that works for serving and storage. Incorporate plenty of electric outlets that allow for outdoor lighting, music, water features, and more.
FURNITURE: Outdoor furniture is no different than the furniture in your family room, dining room, or bedroom. Select furniture that reflects your style and your lifestyle! Make sure furniture and cushions are suitable for outdoor use. Consider adding a colorful outdoor rug to tie the space together or create separate rooms within the over all space. Select furniture that is proportionate to the overall size of your deck or patio. Don’t forget to include side and coffee tables in your seating area to make sure guests have a place for drinks, magazines and more. If relaxation is important, incorporate a lounge chair or even a hammock for lazy afternoons and evenings.
COLOR: Don’t be afraid of color, textures or patterns. Your outdoor living space should flow with the interior design of your home but it’s the prefect space to have fun with vivid colors and fabrics. Remember that with outdoor decorating that it’s no different from indoor decorating – start with a good neutral on your furniture and bring in your “pizzazz” with accessories, rugs, cushions, and pillows.
AMBIANCE (LIGHTING & MUSIC): As mentioned before, make sure to include plenty of electrical outlets for your outdoor living space so you can include music, lighting, and water features that add ambiance and elegance to your space. There are so many options for music – built-in speakers that tie into your home’s central sound system, compact iPod players, etc. Outdoor lighting is like indoor lighting – the right lighting absolutely sets the tone for your activity. Planning an intimate evening for two, no need for a floodlight! Planning a fun party to celebrate your friend’s promotion, how about strands of twinkle lights intertwined in the perfect topiary. The sound of water is the ideal backdrop for casual conversations or just catching up on your reading.
ACCESSORIZING: Your accessories finish your space. They are the personal touches that say “This space is mine!” Set the mood with candles. There are great battery operated “non flame” candles on the market that are wonderful for windy or dry conditions. Add a splash of color with throw pillows. Remember when accessorizing your outdoor living space that it’s no different than accessorizing your indoor living space – size, scale, theme and color should all be taken into consideration. In my opinion, it’s better to go bigger in scale and less in quantity to create impact!
Does your deck invite you to come on out with family and friends as an extension of your home’s family room? Your outdoor living space is a valuable piece of real estate within your home! But, as with any interior design project, it’s often times a lot more difficult to create the perfect outdoor room than what we see on HGTV! At Speas Interior Design, we have a full selection of outdoor furniture, rugs and accessories. We also offer design build services for construction of your deck or patio with our partner, Sikora Creations.