Backyard entertainment spaces have always been around, but recently the urge to make these spaces more useable and customized has exploded. Designing an outdoor room can be as simple or intricate as you desire. From townhomes to custom homes the concept of outdoor rooms are on the minds of many homeowners. Whether it is to add some extra living space to your home or just create an escape for family and friends an outdoor room does require a fair amount of planning. To help get things started you should ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I want to use this space/room for? Cooking? Entertaining? Relaxing? A little of each?
- What is my budget?
- What kind of covering will it have? Extension of the roof on the house? Shade? Pergola?
- Will this plan require permits? Association approvals?
- Will the plan require additional plumbing? Electrical?
The answers to these questions will help you determine where to start and also the kind of help you will need. With HGTV, Houzz and Pinterest inspiring homeowners to create these types of spaces, retailers responded with a flood of new and innovative products. Trying to sort through all of the materials and gadgets in the marketplace can be overwhelming. We have come up with a list of ways you can create the outdoor oasis you have been wanting without so much of the headache.
- Start with the foundation
Does your yard already have an outdoor deck or patio? If you don’t or if you want to reconfigure and expand on the base of your existing space this is where you start. As mentioned above you will have to determine what you want to use this outdoor room for, after that is decided you can effectively begin the process. With the end goal in mind, map out the size and shape of your space along with the type of covering you are thinking about. Always consider that it may be best to talk with a professional from the very beginning to avoid any costly mistakes and to get advice from someone who has experience to pull from. They will also be able to let you know what will work best for the vision you have, regarding materials and function.
- Bells and whistles
These of course are items that are completely unique to each person. With all of the items available, you can use your outdoor space any time of the year anywhere in the country. They have everything from specialty outdoor appliances for your complete outdoor kitchen to electronics that withstand extreme heat and cold. Not to mention climate control options that can do everything from heat, to cool, to repelling insects! If you are selecting these types of items you will need to plan for plumbing, electrical and placement in the beginning of you design plan. Doing research on what you want and what will work within your budget is important. Elaborate outdoor spaces may even rival the cost of indoor rooms. Fabrics and finishes are made differently to withstand the elements of nature. It is also important to keep in mind that although investing in outdoor rooms won’t give homeowners as strong of a return on their investment, a well-designed outdoor space can still be a major selling point. Even national home builders have updated their designs to include indoor-outdoor great rooms with sliding glass walls that open up the living space on some of their models.
- Opening up
The key to opening up your space may also need to include your existing home. Chances are, while entertaining you may find yourself going in and out of the house frequently…installing a center open slider or stacked glass doors, allow the interior and exterior to flow together with ease. Even if your outdoor room isn’t attached to the house, these types of doors can make your interior feel so much larger and open. It creates a resort type feel right in your own home.
- Getting comfortable
One of the first things that will distinguish your outdoor living space from other outdoor areas is the way the furniture is arranged. Laying out the furniture like you would in an interior space is crucial; it will make your outdoor room look like a continuation of your home. Using the same style and color scheme is also important. One thing that will help make the space feel as cozy and comfortable as your indoor space is the comfort level of your furniture. Buying outdoor furniture that you would want to sink into is key to making this space well used. Look for wide chairs and sofas that allow you to curl up and get cozy. Outdoor fabrics have come a long way from the old patio furniture from years ago. With lots of choices in pattern, texture, color and style combined with all of the weather and fade resistant qualities the possibilities are endless! Rugs are also important to make this space comfortable. They anchor and define the area as a space to lounge, provide warmth and a boundary from the elements as well as softness for bare feet. The patterns and colors also help to tie in your aesthetic from inside your house. Indoor-outdoor rugs and upholstery are made to be weather resistant and are fairly easy to care for.
- Lighten up
Lighting for your outdoor space is another important factor. You will need to consider what type of entertaining you will be doing outside. If you have an outdoor kitchen you will need to be sure that the cooking and preparation areas are well lit. To get the intimacy of an interior space, nothing creates ambiance like the same overhead and tabletop lighting we use indoors. Chandeliers, pendant lighting and table lamps all have lines that are grated for outdoor use. Lighting is important in making this space functional; whether it is standard or uniquely modified it makes a definite impact in creating your outdoor atmosphere. Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces can also provide double-duty in your outdoor room by providing both warmth and ambient lighting.
- Finishing Touches
This is another area that can make your space more like the interior of your home. Draperies made out of your weather and fade resistant fabrics can create privacy and softness to your space. They can soften the hard surfaces of the building materials and also help to block sun or other weather conditions. Decorative pillows and floor pillows are also a good addition. They can be changed out inexpensively to go with the seasons and add comfort and additional seating when needed. Area rugs, as mentioned above, also add that extra touch to make the space complete. Accessories for your table tops and walls are also important. These types of details will make the area inviting and feel complete. Lastly, the outdoor surroundings can also provide a fun opportunity to do the unexpected! Hanging swings or hammocks for additional seating can be fun, unique and also give a little bit of a resort feel.
Whatever you decide to do with your outdoor space, an outdoor living room is one way to extend not only your home but also the time you spend outdoors. It can be a sanctuary and give you the feeling of a mini-vacation without having to leave the comforts of home. When setting out to begin your project, its best to remember how beneficial a professional can be in helping you get the most out of your budget. Working with a firm like Interior Affairs, turns a potentially challenging task into a stress free process. They will guide you through the process showing you many different options and ideas to achieve the look you want without the hassle and headache.