With the warm weather kicking in, there is nothing as relaxing or as enjoyable as spending time outside. Indeed, spending time outside comes with its benefits including creating memorable experiences and happier lives.
Interestingly, many people hardly spend any time in their outdoor spaces such as porches and patios. According to experts, this is down to technologies such as smartphones, video games, and television among others.
It is no surprise that many people invest a lot of energy in decorating, arranging and remodeling the interiors of their homes. However, given the fact that the warm weather calls for spending more time outdoors than indoors, it only makes sense to invest as much energy and time decorating and designing outdoor living spaces.
Most people misleadingly think that decorating and designing an outdoor living space is difficult and costly. On the contrary, there are some pretty easy design ideas that people could use in making their outdoor spaces more livable especially for warm seasons such as summer.
One of the most critical factors anyone must consider is the intended use of the outdoor living space. Some people want to use the space as a haven for retreating whenever they want to escape from the world and relax/rejuvenate. Conversely, others would like the space to serve as an entertaining space where barbecues and parties are the order of the day.
It is no secret that the intended use of the outdoor living space affects and determines the design ideas implemented in the space. That said, here are some trouble-free tips and design ideas for outdoor living spaces;
1. Establish a Distinct Walkway
This is one of the simplest ways to give an outdoor living space a face lift. No one wants to see people walk all over the landscape of the home. It is essential to have a paved walkway directing people to the outdoor living space and where possible, through and across it.
Walkways and paths are suitable for large outdoor spaces that include a small garden or landscape. Even redesigning existing walkways will go a long way in changing the look of the exterior living space. Zoning the outdoor living space is also a worthwhile partaking.
One of the simplest ways to do this is through different furniture, different colors for different spots and even different rugs for different floor areas. For an even more creative touch, consider incorporating mosaic or terrazzo patterns into the paths.
2. Play with the Lighting
During the warmer months, spending time outdoors is not limited to the daylight hours alone. Whether the outdoor living space is for personal relaxation or entertainment purposes, effective lighting is recommended.
Dramatic lighting is one of the best design ideas for the outdoors. Not only does it set the mood, but it also makes the outdoor living space safer and more inviting when the darkness sets in. Furthermore, lighting can draw attention to the most attractive assets of the living space while drawing it away from those assets that are less attractive. There is a wide range of lighting options for the outdoors. These include;
- Uplighting will help bring attention to trees and architectural designs among others.
- Pendant lights and sconces will do the reading and entertain at night easier.
- Landscape lights will help to light up walkways and any steps within the outdoor living space
- String lights will enchant even the smallest outdoor living space
- Lanterns emit a gentle glow and are perfect for setting a romantic scene.
3. A Blurry Line Between Indoor Living Space and Outdoor Living Space
This idea is meant to ensure that as one moves from indoors to the outdoor living space, the transition is smooth and seamless. One simple design idea to foster this is the use of the same flooring patterns and designs for the outdoor space and the indoor space directly adjacent to it. Additionally, installing sliding doors or even French doors may also help in providing the smooth transition.
4. Think of Bold Colors
One thing about nature particularly in the warmer months is that everything from the flowers to the trees burst with color. Most design experts recommend going with bold colors.
Mismatching and contrasting colors are highly welcome for outdoor living spaces. While bright hues of blue, yellow, red and even pink may look a bit overpowering for indoor living spaces they are perfect for the outdoors as they add a splash of fun and playfulness; exactly what is needed for outdoor chilling.
Even in cases where homeowners choose rustic design ideas for the outdoor spaces, spicing the rustic design with bright colors gives it a lively and charming feel.
5. Bring the Indoors Outdoor
Outdoor living areas are social spaces just like indoor living spaces are. Designing both living spaces requires one to follow the basic rules and principles of designing social spaces in the home. There are several ways to do this;
Firstly, it is necessary to add comfortable seats in the outdoor living space. While the number and type of seats used largely depend on the size of the outdoor living space, it is important to include as many seating options as possible. These may include chairs, benches, stools and outdoor sofas among others. However, it is not advisable to include too many seats as these may obstruct the traffic patterns of the outdoor space.
In addition to that, it is desirable to position seats in such a way as to encourage social activities such as conversations, table games and even sharing meals/drinks. Throw pillows also look great in outdoor living spaces and even add a significant degree of comfort.
It is important to keep in mind that any furniture kept in outdoor living spaces is likely to get overexposed to the elements regardless of weather. It is, therefore, recommendable to use furniture that is weatherproof and can withstand the repeated exposure to sunlight, wind, rain and other elements.
People rarely consider adding curtains into their outdoor living spaces. Nonetheless, the importance of adding curtains is still huge especially when talking regarding privacy and shade from the summer sun. Curtains and especially brightly colored ones are a perfect design idea for people who wish to use their outdoor living spaces for private relaxation and as a private getaway.
This is undoubtedly one of the best outdoor living space design ideas for those trying to facelift an outdoor living space for summer on a limited budget. Rugs are quite versatile regarding function with some using them decoratively and others using them for purposes such as zoning the living space. Additionally, rugs go a long way in enhancing comfort and allowing barefoot walking.
-Make it Device Friendly
Research has established that the internet and digital technology such as smartphones are the reason behind many people staying most of the time indoors. In truth, there is no reason not to relax outdoors and still have the ability to use much-loved devices such as smartphones and laptops.
Wireless speakers, for example, will come in handy quite often especially for those who love listening to music. On the same note, a Wi-Fi antenna may help boost the range of the internet and allow for simpler browsing while outdoors. It is also advisable to include a few electric sockets or better still at least one solar charger to keep gadgets powered on.
6. An Outdoor Kitchen
It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. With this in mind, it is only right for an outdoor living space to have its outdoor kitchen. The size of the kitchen will depend largely on the size of the outdoor area. Either way, one is bound to benefit immensely from an outdoor kitchen regarding added convenience and the thrilling nature of cooking outdoors.
Most outdoor kitchens will feature grills while others may also feature food preparation areas, ovens, and even refrigerators. It is important to factor in seating options for the kitchen too. Outdoor kitchens will make hosting way much easier.
7. Fireplace/Fire Pit
Fire is captivating for human beings. It is possible to transform an ordinary looking outdoor living space into one that is not only warm but also inviting. On cool summer nights as well as on chilly winter nights, an outdoor fireplace will ensure that relaxing outside is a warm and cozy affair.
The simplest idea for a fireplace is a hole in the ground while more sophisticated ideas include modern fireplaces such as a marble gas-fueled fireplace (for those willing to spend a little extra). It is even possible to have a portable fire pit that one can move around through the outdoor living space with relative ease. However, before installing a fireplace, it is worth finding out about the relevant rules and regulations in regards to outdoor open fires in the locality.
8. Enclose the Outdoor Living Area
It is essential to make a clear distinction between the outdoor living space and other parts of the outdoors. A simple way to of doing this is ensuring that the flowing design is different for the living space area. This will go a long way in ensuring that people know exactly which areas of the outdoor living space are for use and which areas are better left intact.
Many modern home owners settle on using pergolas to enclose outdoor living spaces. These structures are preferred because they are open enough for people not to feel like they are in a room and secondly, they let in a lot of sunlight in summer.
9. Water Features
While many people fancy this design idea, not many people pursue it. While a fireplace will undoubtedly bring warmth to an outdoor living space, water will bring serenity to space. The sound of trickling water is considered soothing. The water can also come in handy during the warmer months due to its cooling effect.
There are different types of water features from simple home-made fountains to complex waterfall systems and down to garden ponds. In fact, one of the most popular features for an outdoor living space, particularly for those areas that enjoy warmer climates, is the Koi pond.
These small ponds are often filled with the different colors and have the effect of giving the living space an exotic touch. A water feature such as a pond will also attract as a major attraction for guests and especially for children.
10. Storage Space
Although outdoor living spaces are designed for relaxation purposes, the chances are that one may need to keep certain tools and equipment within close reach. For example, one may need to keep a broom or even a few supplies of things such as towels within reach. In such cases, having storage shelves or even storage hooks on walls or railings is highly advisable.
11. Multi-functional Furniture
Outdoor living spaces, especially those in urban areas, are relatively small and lacking in space. One way of saving on space is to use multifunctional furniture in the outdoor living area. For example, one could use a strong wooden box for storage as well as for extra functions such as serving as an extra seating area for guests or possibly even functioning as a table for drinks and food. On the same note, one may opt to incorporate storage spaces under benches.
12. Create a Central Location/Point
Just like with indoor living spaces, it is important for outdoor living spaces to provide a focal point. In truth, a focal point refers to anything that can get the attention of people. For example, some outdoor spaces may utilize a pond as a focal point; others may utilize a tree and others may even make their outdoor kitchens the focal point of the outdoor space.
The whole point of having a center of attraction is so as to ensure that furniture is arranged around it in such a way as to encourage social contact among guests. Simply put, the focal point acts as the central gathering point for guests.
13. Remember To Add Vegetation
This is, without a doubt, one of the most basic design ideas for any outdoor living space. An outdoor living space is simply incomplete without plants, flowers, and trees to compliment it and give it the outdoor feel.
A simple way of incorporating vegetation into the outdoor living space is through greenery on the walls. Having plants in unique planters such as old tires and colorful decorative flower pots among others will make the outdoor space colorful and at the same time, give it a natural feel.
Experts recommend planting low-maintenance vegetation as these are longer lasting and even more sustainable in that less water is used on the plants. Great plants to have in the outdoor living space include vines, boxwood, and the evergreen Cherry Laurel shrub.