Outdoor Living Spaces

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Like a mountain pygmy possum waking from hibernation, semi-frozen humans are emerging across the country, stretching, blinking, and preparing to greet a much-needed spring. Finally, we can think about spending time outside!  But, alas, many of us find that our outdoor spaces are in dire need of a spring tune-up.

Designers suggest having outdoor living spaces mirror the way you like to live indoors.  Comfortable seating, storage, a place to recline, functional cooking areas, and recreational options abound inside your house.  These are all options to consider when planning your outdoor living areas. Think about how you like to live indoors, and translate that to your outdoor spaces.

Do you favor the open concept or great room design? If so, your outdoor living space might be one open, continuous space. If you prefer to compartmentalize your living space, break up and delineate your outdoor spaces as well. Consider what you and your family enjoy doing outside, and plan the space accordingly.

Beyond the simple backyard barbecue grill, outdoor cooking and dining areas are popular and easy to create. To avoid the cost and permanence of built-in amenities, many designers suggest using furniture pieces to create an attractive environment that can be easily moved or changed. Adding outdoor paint or stain will protect your furniture and allow its use for many years. Dining room sets, bars and bar stools, baker’s cabinets, and shelving units help create a stylish outdoor kitchen/dining space that can be personalized in ways that standard outdoor furnishings never could.

For more generalized outdoor living space, consider a sofa or daybed and end tables.  Use outdoor (waterproof) fabric to cover the cushions and pillows. Add an outdoor rug to define the space and all-weather curtains to create privacy and definition. Use paint or waterproof shades on outdoor lighting for a custom look and feel. Dressers and chests can add storage space to hold games, puzzles, or extra cushions and pillows.

Your indoor space wouldn’t be complete without accessories, right? Well, the same applies to your patio. Picture frames and mirrors can be hung on walls or suspended from above with picture wire or fishing line. Consider using unique furniture items to hold potted plants, candles, lanterns, etc. Strings of lights or paper lanterns hung from above provide a festive, summery feel.

Short on space, or working on a tight budget? Beautiful, functional outdoor spaces can be accomplished inexpensively, even in tight spaces. A hinged-top bench can double as storage and seating. Folding tables and chairs are affordable options that can stow away when not in use. Adding small décor or accent pieces will provide a unique, custom feel without busting the budget or taking up too much space.

Whatever your ultimate choice for outdoor space designs, get out there and enjoy the renewal of springtime!