“Create A Room to Live in Outside”
It’s July. The days and nights have been steamy but that shouldn’t keep you from using an outside space. That daytime heat can turn into a magical summer evening.
If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space that might lend itself to become an extension of your indoor living, now’s the time to make it happen! Here are some tips on how to make your space great outdoors.
First things first:
Think about how you want to use the space. Do you want to have al fresco dinners, or just sit and read? What are you going to be doing in this space? If you love entertaining, how many people would you want to seat?
Al fresco dinners would require a table and some upright chairs. If you just want to lounge you may want to look into wonderful outdoor sofas, comfy chairs and ottomans. You may also need a coffee table and some side tables. Think about seating arrangements that would allow multiple functions.
As far as style goes, try to tie it to your indoor space. If you live in a traditional home you don’t want to attempt Mid-Century Modern in your outdoor space. Make sure your outdoor space flows from the indoor space.
Create a floor
You can create the feeling of a room using an indoor-outdoor carpet, pea gravel, pavers, etc. to place your furniture on. This will set it apart from the rest of the deck or yard. Try to make it feel like a destination!
Create a ceiling
A ceiling of some sort can make the outdoors seem cozy and, of course, it offers the all-important sun protection. The least expensive way to do this is with a tree. Umbrellas work well too. On the higher end there are awnings and pergolas, and actual structures.
For walls I like using live greenery — planters, hedges, anything visual that offers privacy and a sense of separation.
My favorite evenings are those spent with friends out on the patio after a wonderful dinner when my outdoor lights come on. I found some wonderful sparkly star lights at Terrain this past Christmas and hung them in our magnolia tree. The warm light they cast from above is so perfect for a summer night. I also use up-lighting on my planters and window boxes filled with flowers. There are side lights in our patio wall and of course on a chillier night we use our fire pit.
This is my favorite time of year to entertain and I always feel like it’s just easier and more fun outside. I highly recommend pretending you’re on vacation by having lunch and breakfast in your outside space.
The only problem with creating so much atmosphere is people never want to leave. If you haven’t seen your good friends in a while this may not be a problem at all.