Guest Author - Donna Coogan
Do you have outdoor spaces like a porch, patio or deck? These areas are ideal for extending your home’s living possibilities. Whether you entertain or just want a spot to curl up in a chair and soak in the weather, outdoor spaces shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to decorating.
The problem most people make with outdoor spaces is they think of them as an after thought. As a result, they just put out some lawn furniture and a barbecue grill and they are done. It’s no wonder that these spaces go unused with such lack of attention.
But what if you approached these outdoor spaces as “rooms” and decorated them like you would an interior room? Incorporating furnishings, accessories and lighting can easily transform these spaces into charming, livable areas to enjoy throughout the year.
Because outdoor rooms tend to butt up against the exterior walls of the home, use a color scheme that complements your home’s color. It’s also a good idea to choose colors that coordinate with the outdoor environment, since nature tends to stand in as the other “walls.”
Create intimate and useable areas. One part of your patio might be arranged with sofas to create a conversation area while another part can be set up with table and chairs for dining or playing a game of cards.
When deciding on furniture, pick pieces that you don’t mind keeping outdoors. It’s okay if they become a bit weathered over the years – that will only add character to the space. For example, use an old hutch to store barbecue utensils or gardening supplies. One with open shelving can display colorful potted plants. These will also add a decorative element to the space.
Include some built-in pieces like benches or container gardens to create a more permanent feeling to your space. When you anchor a space with built-ins, it doesn’t feel like an after-thought.
There are lots of beautiful weatherproof fabrics available for your seating areas. If you live in mild climates feel free to use cushions and throw pillows made from other fabrics. They might bleach a bit over time from the sun, but such touches accentuate the coziness of an outdoor room. You can also provide outdoor storage to tuck away pillows and seat cushions during inclement weather. Look for a cabinet or storage trunk that can do double duty as a coffee table.
Include art in your outdoor rooms by hanging items on the exterior walls of your house. Bring in sculptural pieces, too. Even something as simple as a wooden ladder leaning against the house can have a decorative element to it. Other outdoor items like gazing balls, wheelbarrows potted with flowers, or shutters hinged together to create privacy screens are complementary to outdoor spaces.
Decorate your floors, too. A painted trellis pattern or canvas floorcloth add personality to the space. But, there are also many colorful transitional area rugs that are ideal for outdoor rooms. It really just depends on your personal preference.
Just like indoor rooms, be sure to include lighting. Freestanding torch lights are a nice touch, but you can also run LED ropes along stairs and railings. For a down-home southern feel, add breezy ceiling fan lights on covered porches to extend the comfort of your outdoor space during warm weather. For a wonderfully, unexpected element hang a chandelier from your porch ceiling.
As you can see, there’s no reason for your porch, deck or patio to be a boring after-thought. In no time at all you can transform these areas into outdoor rooms that are as personable and inviting as the rest of your home.