I love living outdoors in the summer. Things I normally do inside my home move to outdoor spaces when the weather is nice. Eating entertaining, reading, cooking, playing- they all happen in my outdoor “rooms.”
Make yourself at home outdoors this summer using the following 6 steps to create an outdoor room that suits your style and your needs.
1. Consider Function
Decide how you want to use your outdoor space. Are you interested in a formal dining area to host family and friends or a quiet spot with a bistro table for two?
Do you want comfy seating for hours of conversation with guests, lounge chairs for stretching out in the sun, or a hide-away for quiet summer reading and snoozing? Your lifestyle and the activities in which you want to engage should be the first thing you consider when developing your outdoor rooms.
2. Create a Layout
After you determine what you want to do in your outdoor space, measure it. Graph paper is a quick and easy way to record the “footprint” of the space. Make sure to include doors, windows, stairs, railings, plantings, etc. on your floor plan. Your floor plan serves as a great tool when you get to the point of shopping for furniture or building features. Create to-scale-furniture on paper and move the pieces around your floor plan until you find a layout that works for all of the functions you’ve outlined for the space.
3. Determine Your Style
You may decide to continue the style of your home’s interior to your outdoor furnishings or you may decide you’re ready for something different outdoors.
If your interior is contemporary and you want it to flow into your outdoor living areas then perhaps you should select outdoor furnishings that utilize clean, linear lines.
If, however, you’re ready to do a 180 and go a whole different direction with your outdoor decorating, perhaps curvy wicker will be your outdoor choice or something very rustic.
Or maybe a combo of contemporary and traditional suits you best? Today’s available outdoor furnishings are as varied in style and materials as indoor furnishing selections so you’ll be able to find a style you love.
4. Select Your Color Scheme.
First, check out the surrounding colors that might impact your outdoor room: is the exterior color of your house highly visible? What color is your patio or deck? Is there a fence to consider? Is there a lot of green due to surrounding trees or lawn? Is there a proliferation of colorful flowers in the garden? Are you on a beach, a lake, a river, a pond or poolside so you need to consider the water color?
Look at your setting closely and decide whether you want your outdoor décor to blend or coordinate with the surrounding environment, like the photos above.
Or do you prefer decorating colors that will make your outdoor décor stand out?
5. Choose Your Materials.
You may be able to use “indoor” furnishings if your outdoor space is covered or protected.
If, however, you’re looking specifically for outdoor furniture you’ve got lots of options including: wicker or synthetic wicker;
aluminum or cast aluminum; wrought iron;
a variety of wood;
If you decide to use upholstered items, make sure the fabric is made for outdoors or, if it is not, use it where it will be protected from both moisture and sun.
Your outdoor spaces can be accessorized just like your indoor rooms. Check out the photos above and you’ll notice toss pillows, rugs, a variety of lighting, curtains, throws and table top items. Select accessories to suit the style of the space and the selected color scheme. Add your personal touches and enjoy!
Make It Yours
Whatever room, style material, furniture or accessories you select – make the space reflect you.
Don’t feel overwhelmed with the process – it’s do-able. In fact, even small changes can make a big impact – as you can certainly see by the “before” and “after” photos below. Arrangement, color, and accessories and the porch becomes a whole new space!
Live it up outdoors this summer! If you need help with color selections or plans, know that Your Decorating Hotline can help with a personal consultation -read about our three consult offerings here.