An outdoor living space can be one of the most relaxing areas of your home, as well as one of the more popular entertaining spots in your neighborhood. Of course, having a great view and great weather helps too!
You can transform your yard to have all the coziness of the indoors with rich wood furnishings, plush fabrics, accessories and even artwork. Some even go as far as building wood-beamed ceilings and hanging light draperies. If you want to see how it's actually done, get our free step-by-step guide eBook. There are so many styles and designs from which to choose, so have fun deciding!
1. Incorporate Stone to Bring a Natural and Rustic Look
Natural stones such as slate, limestone, bluestone and flagstone are popular choices for outdoor living spaces. These are large, flat stones that will give your patio or outdoor room a rustic and natural feel. The benefits of using natural stone are that it easily blends in with the landscaping. If you lay the stones further apart, ground cover can grow in-between creating a secret garden of sorts. Using stone is a great way to add a natural element to a modern décor. You can use stone to:
- Frame a gas-burning fireplace
- Build a fire pit
- Design in-ground
Natural wood and other materials are nice, but stone finish can add a striking element to a modern outdoor living space.
You can also decorate a plain concrete exterior wall by adding a stucco finish. This provides an attractive texture. However, adding enhancements such as stones or pebbles takes it a step further. This is called pebble-dashing and is quite popular in yards where you don’t have much room to work with, but you want to bring that natural and rustic feeling.
2. Build a Space You’ll Actually Use
Don’t build an outdoor space just to have one. You want to make sure you get a good return on your investment. Construct an area that you will enjoy using and have the time to use. If you enjoy entertaining, make sure you have enough room for eating, sitting, talking and other fun activities. There’s nothing worse than running out of space to sit when company comes over!
However, if you enjoy quiet and solitude, then your outdoor space should reflect that. This type of area should be smaller and only have the items you want there when you are relaxing. Sofas, lounge chairs, fire pits and even a hot tub would be good at a spot like this.
3. Add the Bells and Whistles
Once you’ve designed the basics of your outdoor space, add a few bells and whistles to make it complete and really make it yours. In many ways, your outdoor living space is just like any other room in your home. It is an empty space waiting for the finishing touches.
You will want to select accessories and ornaments that focus on the beauty of your yard, landscaping and hardscaping. Natural additions such as stone and wood will develop character as they weather.
Some functional accessories you can use to spruce up your outdoor living space include:
- Wiring for speakers, sound system and WiFi
- Lighting fixtures
- Heating elements
- Fire pits
- Games or activities
Some decorative extras you add are:
- Fountains or waterfalls
- Aromatic garden herbs and candles
- Relaxing music
4. Go Indoor/Outdoor
When you live in a climate where you can enjoy the outdoors most of the year, then it’s great to have your indoor living space expand and blend in with your outdoor living area. The only thing that separates the two is a slide door or large window.
Your outdoor area should be the same elevation as your indoor space and have a large overhang or roof to protect you on rainy days. By building a covered outdoor space that is sheltered from the sun and rain or an indoor space that opens up to the outside with sliding glass doors or another feature, you can enjoy your indoor/outdoor living space all year-round.
If you live near the coast and dream of having an outdoor beach house, there is so much you can do to make this a reality. Start off by buying some comfy deck chairs and lounge chairs. Design an outdoor lounge with a terrace made from a gravel/sand mixture and a fireplace framed with brick or stone. Put these accessories on a covered porch that leads from your home’s kitchen, making it easy to cook inside and bring everything outside for entertaining.
Other ideas for this include:
- Creating an outdoor living room complete with a coffee table, sofa and chairs.
- Constructing a fire pit
- Extending the kitchen counter through a window to create an outdoor counter to pass food on from inside.
- If you don’t have room for a porch or patio, consider a coastal rooftop retreat complete with lounging
Outdoor living spaces are definitely one of the more popular modern design trends. These areas are extensions of your home, and they bridge the design divide between exterior and interior of the house. They also allow for self-expression helping you evoke your style and can be a place the whole neighborhood wants to enjoy.