Is your outdoor space an extension of your home? Does your balcony, patio or deck feel like another room? Well if it doesn’t we have some good advice for you. Creating that outdoor getaway isn’t too difficult but it does take a little planning and good decisions about your furniture and furnishings. Check out these great projects below and learn more about how to get the outdoor room you want this summer.
Define the type of outdoor room you want
Before you go shopping for an outdoor patio set it’s important to ask yourself what type of outdoor room you want to have. Will this be an outdoor living room or dining room (or both)? Do you want your outdoor space to be used simply to enjoy the morning newspaper and a cup of coffee? Do you want space for a couple of lounge chairs so you can relax under the sun? Understanding your needs for your outdoor space is important; it will help keep you focused, motivate you to shop smartly, and most importantly, it will give this “room” a purpose. Planning your outdoor space as you would an interior room will help make it look put together and stylish.
Uncover problems or issues
Every outdoor space has issues. It could be too much direct sun during the late afternoon, it could be an uneven flooring, or it might be an ugly view. It’s important to recognize these issues so you can solve for them. You might need to look for sun shading solutions, hire a contractor to fix uneven pavers, or add a fence to help distract from the view. If your outdoor space doesn’t allow for a lot of additions, like a privacy wall, keep in mind that plants work wonders for muffling sound, blocking unattractive views and adding shade, so use them to your advantage.
Think about layers
Just like your indoor rooms, a great outdoor room has layers that make it feel more complete and pulled together. Think about good layering this way: an outdoor bench is practical, but a layered outdoor bench will have soft cushions for comfort, color and pattern – these layers make you want to sit down and hang out for awhile. An outdoor table will look more stylish with a tablecloth or other decor like candles, a centerpiece or decorations. You might find that layering your outdoor space happens slowly as you collect the right pieces. Don’t worry about getting it right the first time; shop for your style and your budget, even if it means shopping over several summer seasons.
Add soft furnishings
Soft furnishings in an outdoor space always looks luxurious, and can provide a necessary softness to hard edges you might have outside, like concrete or wood. But soft furnishings outside can sometimes be impractical. Your outdoor space is subject to changes in temperature, dirt and soot, falling leaves, snow or ice, UV rays, and sometimes the droppings of errant birds. So although you may be envious of that outdoor patio spread in your favorite magazine or on Pinterest, having sheepskin rugs or lampshades outdoors may not be very practical for your particular region. Fortunately there are many outdoor fabrics and textiles that are designed for outdoor use and are protected against fading, spills, or mold. But even outdoor fabrics need attention: wipe off spills as they occur, regularly brush off debris, and spot treat marks from sunblock or tree sap. In the off season, store your outdoor textiles in a protected area (ideally indoors) and keep them protected from critters who may use your cushions as a nest. For special events or parties feel free to add more soft furnishings or textiles to your outdoor space. For example, you can bring a durable rug outside or bring out warm bed linens.
Add natural touches
A great outdoor room doesn’t ignore the fact that it is actually outside, so make sure you incorporate touches of nature in your plan. This is especially important for large concrete patios but also for city-dwelling balconies where nature is sometimes difficult to see. Containers and planters are an easy way to add greenery, and a mix of heights helps create a more dynamic design. Try hanging baskets of flowers up high or train a vine to grow up a piece of lattice. Small fountains bring a great, natural sound to your outdoor room, and bird feeders can help attract more nature to your outdoor space.
Choose the right furniture
One of the key ways you can transform an empty balcony or patio into an outdoor room is with your furniture choices. You’ll want to select furniture that is designed for the outdoors, as this furniture will be heavy to withstand wind, and durable in different types of weather. But aside from the usual table and chairs, great outdoor rooms employ furniture that you may not associate with the outdoors. Try hanging a mirror or wall art on an empty wall, add decorative (and durable) decor to your outdoor coffee table, or try lighting that is designed for the outdoors. If your weather permits, or if your outdoor space is protected by an overhang, you might even be able to bring other pieces of indoor furniture outside, like a daybed or vintage furniture. Little touches like these can help elevate the style of your outdoor space and make it look like an extension of your home.