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Outdoor Living Takes Off

On July 24, 2012, in Posts, Uncategorized, by Warren Sheets Design

Outdoor rooms are all the rage – even more so as the weather warms up.

There are many reasons for the soaring popularity of outdoor living. With the housing market remaining stubbornly sluggish, consumers who would otherwise move to larger places are remaining in their homes – often renovating and expanding them to include ultra comfortable outdoor living spaces.

Outdoor rooms are also versatile and functional,  and can range from fully equipped spaces with sleek built-in kitchens, top=of=the-line furnishings, firepits and fireplaces, outdoor electronics and much more to simple garden areas appointed with benches, flowers and other accessories.

While the possibilities are limitless, it can be fairly simple to take a front porch, patio, back deck gazebo, garden nook, courtyard, loggia – or even a rooftop – and transform it into a hub for outdoor living and entertaining.  Adding to the possibilities are new options in outdoor fabrics – allowing homeowners to achieve a sophisticated outdoor setting with an array of appealing – yet highly durable, weather resistant materials. One of my favorite designers of outdoor textiles is Joe Ruggiero, who has created more than 500 beautiful designs for the classy yet durable Sunbrella line.

Sunbrella Fabrics - Asia II Mariner

Sunbrella - DeVille Parfait

Sunbrella - Caravan Stripe Denim

With summer heating up, following are some tips for creating a special outdoor space:

The Perfect Retreat: Carefully examine your outdoor areas and consider the possibilities. Make sure the space is accessible and that you situate it in the appropriate proximity to your home.  Covered areas such as porches are ideal, but patios, decks and garden areas can all be transformed into fabulous outdoor living spaces.

Size Matters: Before embarking on the project, very carefully measure the exact space/ dimensions of the area. An accurate measurement is key.

Define the Purpose: What will you be using it for? Entertaining? Reading? Cooking? Playing? Remember, this space has to be engaging and accessible or you won’t use it.

Photo by Brad Hagadone

Let There Be Light: Infuse depth, drama and interest through a carefully thought out lighting scheme. A combination of accent and garden lighting enhances natural landscaping, while subtle lighting in seating areas creates a warm and inviting space.

Functional Furnishings: Whether you choose simple benches or cushy sofas, make sure the pieces are ultra durable and weather-resistant and approved for outdoor use.

Think Natural: You want the space to reflect the surroundings. Blend a variety of natural materials, such as wood and stone, to create a juxtaposition of textures and colors. Colorwise, earthy shades of green and lavendars can make an outdoor space feel more natural, while flower-inspired  hues like yellow, orange and blue impart a splash of fun and color.

Kootenai Estates - Photo by Roger Wade

Accessorize: Add plenty of colorful accessories, such as outdoor pillows, rugs, curtains, lanterns, vases, plants, candles and more.

Water Features. Water elements – including fountain, pond and swimming pools – can  enhance the natural feel of the setting, and add a soothing sound.

Whether you keep it simple or go all out, the addition of an outdoor living area to your home will expand your usable living space – and ultimately improve its livability and appeal.

The Key: Approach the design of your outdoor space in the same way you would your interiors – carefully take into account style, function, colors, lighting and more – and consider it a very important extension of your existing home.




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