“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” While it’s not quite summer yet, spring has made its presence known in a major way! I love it when the warmer temperatures begin to roll in, because for my family and friends it signals the start of all the fun outdoor activities and entertaining we get to do. Of course, one of the keys to enjoying this time of year has to be curating the right environment for the action! If you’re feeling lost on where to start, I’ll outline a few design details that will undoubtedly create the perfect outdoor living space for you and your family.
From Interior to Exterior Design
I get asked a lot about where the trends are headed when it comes to outdoor spaces. I always start by addressing the largest change I’ve seen, and that has everything to do with the frequency and fashion of usage. That’s a cool way to say that we are all designing our exterior spaces around the way we live in new and interesting ways these days. For quite some time, patios, rooftops and decks were relegated to occasional use, mostly for recreational needs. People put basic items there like chairs and maybe a table. But, clients rarely focused much of their budget in these areas. In recent years the outdoor living space has boldly moved from being an afterthought to being a home highlight. As a lover of the outdoors, I can certainly understand why.
Your patio, deck or rooftop isn’t just a random part of your house that you put on the backburner. It’s a feature that can bring great value to your property and enhance your quality of life! I suggest to my clients that they treat these spaces as an extension of their indoor living rooms. Consider the level of care you dedicate to ensuring your living room feels comfortable, inviting and accessible. That’s what we’re seeing more and more in outdoor living spaces, hence the name! Maintaining a continuity in your design style will help with that, so don’t be afraid to let your decor inside influence what you carry over into the outdoor living space.
Seating for Socializing
I see it all the time. People tend to focus much more on the aesthetic of their spaces than the utility of them. Trust me, I get it. Who doesn’t want a “wow factor” when guests come over? I’ll touch on that later. But for now, let’s tackle one of the most important parts of an outdoor living space: seating. The best way to secure satisfaction for all attendees is to provide adequate seating. But, pay special attention to the layout of the space. You want people to engage with one another and be able to talk without yelling across the patio. Group seating together with that in mind.
Maximize Convenience For Guests
Another underrated feature of a well-designed outdoor living space has to be the addition of occasional tables. I use these in and outside of my home, because they just make sense! People are usually enjoying food and beverages when they gather outside on a deck, patio or rooftop. Give them a dedicated spot to place their cups and plates. These tables are small, and they come in several different colors and materials to complement any design preference. Remember, comfort and convenience are king when you’re curating these spaces.
Do you have an outdoor kitchen? Many people are designing their homes around them, and for good reason! They not only look luxe, they help outdoor entertaining go that much more smoothly. Here’s a tip many often fail to consider: don’t forget about the cook! I have designed more kitchens than I can count. I always recommend configurations that allow the person in the kitchen to be a part of the action. A good rule of thumb is to arrange furniture in such a way that the various zones can “talk” to one another. For an outdoor living space with a kitchen, consider a bar-top or seating area that you can position close to the cook’s domain. This way that person is able to whip up delicious food while still interacting with the rest of the party.
An Aesthetically Pleasing Outdoor Living Space
How do you feel when you walk outside and stand in your outdoor living space? If it doesn’t make you want to sit and spend an abundance of time there, it might be time for a refresh! Make these spaces your own. Infuse them with your personality, and take pride in the way they appear. One of the easiest ways to do this is to incorporate accent decor items that make the area beautiful. I love brass, and outdoor spaces are perfect for large brass planters. I get mine from T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. Decorate these areas the way you would your indoor living room. Colorful cushions, patterned rugs and pretty lanterns all add attractive touches to the space that give it a cozy vibe.
But the fun shouldn’t stop there. Have you dressed your table? If not, this is one of the easiest ways to make a great impression with your outdoor living space! A textured table runner can cover a significant amount of surface and still leave room for other decorative elements. Tableware is where you can really add vibrance and intensity. Turn up the dynamism with brightly colored chargers, plates and napkins. Don’t forget the power of greenery! Small accents like these are sure to catch the eye of your guests and make for a memorable experience.
Spring and summer give us bountiful opportunities to relish in the sunshine and savor the great outdoors. Don’t miss it! Create an outdoor living space that fills you with delight and then take advantage of the amazing space you’ve designed! You’ll be glad you did.