Outdoor Rooms— A great trend for expanding your living space
Tips for creating a dramatic, sophisticated and comfortable space outside that will draw you out and welcome your friends and family
As discussed on the Pete and Brenda radio show, 4/21/10 at 12:40 and 9:40pm. Stream from your computer: http://radiotime.com/ProgramDetails.aspx?ProgramId=225069&StationId=44871
It’s a trend and it’s a good one! Creating an outdoor room is a great way to expand your living space and enjoy the fresh air of spring and warm summer breezes. If you’re dealing with a large yard you can create areas for different functions, such as various sitting areas where guests can congregate while entertaining, an area for resting with a hammock or day bed, and area for sun bathing, a garden area, etc. Plan your space as you would plan your furniture arrangement in a room.
An outdoor room isn’t limited to an expensive outdoor kitchen area. There are many options for this space. Consider:
– Front porch
– Back deck
– Patio area
– Spot further out in your yard
– Pergola or gazebo areas
Design inspiration: Start by figuring out what your style and inspiration will be. Turn to exotic and foreign countries for inspiration. Below are some of my favorite inspirational images I gathered a while back for my own yard…
Draperies and cushions: Add drama and presence to your outdoor space with indoor/outdoor fabrics available in a variety of patterns, textures and colors. The possibilities are endless! Outdoor fabrics provide important protection from the sun and are more water-repellent than ever. They have excellent stain resistant and fade resistant qualities, and are available in a wide variety of rich solids, sophisticated textures and stunning stripes. (Tip: They are also great for indoor furniture that takes a lot of abuse as well.)
According to one of my suppliers Kravet, many designers are choosing indoor/outdoor fabrics for high traffic areas because they are highly durable, UV friendly and bleach cleanable. Outdoor fabrics have come a long way from their stiff, waxy roots and are available in a range of sophisticated patterns and textures. If the fabric is not specified for outdoor use, it can be treated with products such as Crypton or Nanotex for similar protection and durability.
Umbrellas: While useful for blocking the sun and creating shade, they can also add a great splash of color.
Awnings: Constructed out of beautiful Sunbrella outdoor fabric will also help cut back on your energy bills.
Outdoor carpets: The newer outdoor carpets are surprisingly softer and there are lots to choose from. If you don’t have the budget for a new stamped concrete patio you can cover it up in the meantime with a outdoor rug! Place your furniture in an intimate setting around the rug, and presto you have a beautiful outdoor room!
Lighting: Don’t forget your lighting as a key component, and remember lanterns/string of lights. Hanging lighting from trees can add an amazing effect!
Front and back porch/ decks: Clean and spruce up the wood decking or concrete: Oxyclean works great for this, but even easier is a power washer. Just be careful that you start out with softer settings so you don’t rip into the wood. Staining concrete can create a beautiful effect as well!
Vintage finds: Outdoor rooms are a great place to add vintage finds and the pieces can be a lot of fun to spruce up. It is amazing what a can of spray paint can do!
Pots with plants: Add texture, dimension, and greenery… Grassy plants are popular and a great natural look.
Outdoor fire pits: You can very affordably and easily build your own!
Here’s a great place for instruction: http://www.diynetwork.com/outdoors/8-easy-to-build-fire-pit-designs/pictures/index.html
Lastly, don’t forget a place for large containers for drinks on ice when entertaining…