Let's go outside...
Summer is here!
Okay, maybe not quite yet, but the glorious warm (well here it's more like humid) days of glowing skin and hanging out late because the days are longer season is just around the corner.
With that in mind, let's talk about your home and what your patio and porch are saying to you and everyone else. Your style doesn't end at your walls or door.
Often times the decorating stops just at the perimeter of the house walls and that's a shame. Outdoor areas help a continuation of your style and inside spaces, they can make the house seem overall much bigger. When you peer out the back door is an inviting space beckoning to you to discard your flip flops, put your feet up and sip on some sweet ice tea while enjoying the weather, or are they pushing you back into the house to hide out from the season?
If you are looking outside and aren't hearing the great outdoors calling your name, fear not...this blog can help turn your less than living space into a summer oasis. In this blog we'll look at outdoor decor for larger sized backyard spaces, but fear not...we'll touch on creating a fabulous smaller space and welcoming front door area in our next blog!
The outside is calling...big time
When your patio and outdoor space are larger in size, there is a lot you can accomplish in the way of style. For larger spaces you can have a built in fireplace (looks pretty awesome huh?), you can have drapes and comfortable furniture, or you can have a full kitchen to make dining and entertaining easier.
With larger spaces you can create a room atmosphere that draws from the inside of the house, and that creates an extension of style from the inside to the outdoor area. So now that we've explained it, let's talk a bit about what creates a stylishly useable larger sized outdoor space.
When designing for your perfect outside oasis remember 4 key elements: comfort, shade, fire, and water. While all of that may sound like a tall order it really isn't. Your already using the earthiness of the outdoors, you just need to incorporate these features to help create an overall design that blends your style to the great outdoors.
Let's get comfy
Who doesn't think grilling, being among friends and relaxing in comfort on our patio is a great idea of time well spent? Well with the right design, your outdoor living space can not only define your style, but also be a beacon for getting together or a calming space to relax alone.
Being comfortable isn't just about comfy couches or fluffy pillows, it's actually about defining the style of your space. Knowing how your seating arrangement should be, where you want a grill, or how dining will take place is the real trick to creating a comfortable feel. A good designer (we suggest the help of an award winning designer like our Debbie McCarter...I bet you saw that hint coming from a mile off huh) can help you not only decide on furniture placement, but how you want the view to look from your relaxed sitting position. Do you have an unattractive wall that needs covering up with a water feature or interesting wall art? A good designer can define the attributes of a space and downplay the less appealing ones.
You'll want to decide on a style of decor too. Are you a rustic feeling style, an elegant style, modern or shabby chic person? To figure out how your outside should look...go back to the inside. The best outdoor spaces don't stray far from the inside design and decor. If your indoor palette is neutral then continue the colors outside but try adding a touch of color for a pop of interest. If you have a taste for bold color, you should keep that motif as you move outdoors.
For the actual feel of comfort on your body, go for furniture that has softer edges but defined shape. You want furnishings that are interesting enough to carry off trhe great outdoors, and fabrics that are soft but fade resistant (we carry some fabulous choices,..sorry that was my shameless plug for our stores). Try outdoor rugs in textures and natural woods in dark or light tones as your palette dictates. Think fluffy throw blankets in case there's a chill in the evening.
Lighting is another important feature. As the sun goes down you'll need light in your space, should it be from a chandelier or more ambient lighting from lamps, candles or torches? If you know your style and stay true to the design, your lighting will serve to enhance your look even at night.
Also, think details. Like any room you need the fine details of plants and accessories to round out the look...don't forget to plan those out too. Remember that you are still planning a living space...just one that has less walls.
Throw some shade
Part of enjoying the great outdoors is getting out of the sun we enjoy so much. If you don't have a built on roof for your patio there are other options you can choose from to keep the sun at bay.
Awnings, pergolas, arbors and even a fun tarp type structure can provide stylish shade choices. You can also think curtains, planted trees that overhang, or a simple large umbrella. These types of options work very well for non attached porch areas, as often times the seated area is off the house, maybe by the pool or near a back wall.
Creating shade can be easier than it sounds since there are so many options. Check out the slideshow for some inspiration!
Relax around the fire
When you look at fire think warmth. A stone fire pit will not only add style, but it also works for those nights were the chill seeps in.
Picture yourself curled up with a cup of tea (or your favorite glass of wine) sitting in front of an outdoor heater or fire bowl, and let yourself feel how wonderful it would be to have such a relaxing space. If you are choosing a wood burning pit, you'll also be treated to the smells in conjunction to the beauty of the the flames. A fire can create alternate lighting and add to the overall design as well. Choose materials that fit your style and decor design. Rocks, slate, and brick are very common materials to build fireplaces with and they hold up to the elements well. Granite works well for mantels and decorative touches. Your style...your choice.
If you are choosing a fire pit, you'll want to always follow all safety precautions.
Fountains, ponds, or a bubbling stream will work the water element into a larger space. Studies have found that hearing the gurgling sounds of water can relieve stress and create a mental calm.
In a larger outdoor area there are tons of options to bring that fluidity to your decor. Think of a fabulous koi pond or stone elements with water cascading out.
Water features in general add sound, texture, and movement to landscaping designs, and can add a feng shui feel to the area as they are associated with abundance. They also attract other forms of nature like birds you your yard.
If you are designing a fabulous outdoor space, you don't want the atmosphere of your patio area to be abruptly cut short. Water features bring nature closer to you, and allow the natural elements to create a view you can relax and enjoy year round.
Now that we have broken down just how easy it is to create a defined outdoor space to enjoy, it's time for you to create your area and get out and enjoy it! The great outdoors are calling...go ahead and answer!!
As always...drop us a comment and let us know what you think. Until next week...
Have a stylin' day!