Here in Virginia, we were experiencing such a mild winter, until March, that is! It certainly has come in like a lion, as the old saying goes. This snow storm has me dreaming about beautiful, sunny outdoor spaces.
I don't know about you but I love dining alfresco or sitting in a comfortable chair reading a book in the shade. Just about anything outdoors is more enjoyable when the weather is right.
Bring the Indoors Outside
Whether you have an actual porch, deck, or sunroom, or even if you simply carve out a special spot to enjoy the outdoors, the key to any well-designed outdoor space is making it look and feel like an extension of your home.
In my client’s sunroom below, I continued the cheerful orange color we sprinkled throughout her home’s interior to help create a more cohesive look. A stylish indoor/outdoor rug scaled to suit the space and throw pillows in durable Sunbrella fabrics help create a comfortable, homey feel.
When entertaining during the warmer months, nothing beats an outdoor kitchen. Equipped with sinks, stovetops, refrigerator, and plenty of counter space, an outside food prep area saves you from running back and forth from the kitchen to the grill when you'd rather be socializing with your guests. It’s no wonder outdoor kitchens are becoming a must-have for many homeowners these days.
The beautiful blue kitchen below has just about everything anyone could want, from a generously sized grill to Nantucket style cabinets for storing tableware to an abundance of Caesarstone-topped counters. There’s even statement lighting and a lovely painted ceiling to protect lucky guests from the elements as they dine.
But take a look at the next couple of photos. These kitchens prove that even if you don't have the space for a full-size kitchen, with the right planning you can create a handy area for prepping food out of doors with a much smaller footprint. All it takes is a little planning and some creativity.
A sense of privacy is vital for making any outdoor space feel like an oasis. If you live in a townhome as I do, that’s not easy to come by. When you live in close quarters with your neighbors, one of the ways you can create more privacy in your outdoor space is by adding a pretty screen like this one.
Or how about a vertical garden like this amazing edible version? Not only does it provide privacy, but if you ever want some fresh herbs on your salad...snip, snip.
Custom or pre-made drapery panels in outdoor fabrics are easy to install around a covered porch, giving more privacy and shade, all while adding a pop of color.
Who doesn't love an outdoor fire on a cool spring night? Having a fireplace allows you to extend the amount of time you can use your outdoor space and creates an ambiance like no other. Besides, it allows for s’mores on demand!
If you don't have the space for a built-in fireplace or if you’re just not ready to fully commit to one yet, check out these cool portable firepits. They’re handy, yet look special enough to suit a beautifully designed outdoor space.
via The Fire Pit
In the Shade
Any outdoor room is made more comfortable with some type of shade to protect against the glaring sun and UV rays. There are lots of ways to provide shade, including these 'shade sails.' They can be used pretty much anywhere, plus they’re fun and stylish.
Pergolas are another great way to bring shade to your outdoor space. Look how gorgeous this wisteria (one of my favorite flowering plants) looks climbing the pergola and providing shade at the same time. Who wouldn't love a view like this on a hot, sunny day?
Don’t forget the tried and true awning. While awnings have always been a classic choice, they’re available now in a range of styles and just about any color imaginable. The ones below are retractable, which is great in the winter, when you want the sun to shine in and warm up your home.
I love a water feature inside or out. The sound of water is so soothing and creates a feeling of calm. Having a source of moving water outside can even disguise sound from traffic or neighbors, giving you a greater sense of privacy. Below are a few of my favorites that can be used just about anywhere outdoors.
And if you like a more traditional look:
If entertaining to you means gathering family and friends to watch a football game or getting together for movie night, be sure to include a weatherproof TV with surround sound in your outdoor room. Just think how much installing this one item will extend the enjoyment you get from your outdoor space!
That extra touch
Just as for any room inside your home, it’s the little things that will make your outdoor space feel special and personal. Layering in items like outdoor chandeliers, candles, potted plants, and pillows (to name just a few) will help give your porch or patio the feeling that it's truly an extension of the rest of your home.
Check out all of these fabulous outdoor items...which one is your favorite?
How do you plan to go 'inside out' for spring this year?