Creating an Outdoor Room – Part 1 An Extension to Your Interiors
There is a lot to consider when you are creating an outdoor “room/rooms.” First of all, how much space do you have? You may have a Juliet balcony on your condo, or an expansive patio in your back yard, or a covered wrap-around deck. One way or another, it’s pretty much defined by what’s under your feet: either concrete (perhaps covered with tile) or wood.
You need to decide upon this before moving forward with your plan. How will you use this space?
- If yours is a Juliet balcony, then there’s likely one purpose: (most commonly) a place for two to dine or a place to sit and relax outside.
- If yours is a 10’x12’ slab of concrete, then there’s likely 1-2 roles: barbecue, an outside space to dine, an outdoor place to sit and relax, or a space to entertain another couple of people.
- If yours is larger, then there might be multiple uses, such as barbecuing dinner, cooking, an outdoor dining room, entertaining guests in a garden environment, sit and relax, etc.
A ceiling, even if it’s a pergola can protect you.
- If you live in Western Washington, a covered area can allow you to sit outside even if it’s raining, which occurs reasonably often in the spring and autumn.
- A veranda or covered porch (attached to the house) can offer at least partial protection from the elements: too much sun (and therefore heat), or rain.
- A pergola or gazebo (detached from the house) offering both shade and shelter is also a consideration.
Defining the space:
- Furniture placement or fixtures can help define the purpose of the space, and tell the eye what to focus upon.
- An outdoor rug can also serve to define the “interior” and “exterior” of a given open space, just like it does on the interior of a room.
Even when placed on the lawn, the space is defined.
- If you want to make your space as functional as possible for as many hours in the day, then consider outdoor lighting. You might choose an outdoor chandelier, sconces, recessed LED lighting in the ceiling of your covered porch, semi-flush ceiling lights, or at a minimum, string lights that are available everywhere. All need to be rated for outdoor use, however.
Plants can add that important feeling of nature, whether it’s providing greenery or color through the addition of perennials or annuals. They automatically calm us down. Decide upon your colors based on the style, as well as the color scheme of your adjacent interiors.
Metals, woods, and wicker look-alikes have now replaced those nylon slats or plastic chairs & tables. They are not only monumentally better looking, but they’ll last from year to year with a little maintenance and are far more comfortable to sit on. It is truly like bringing the indoors outside. There are styles that can reflect your tastes, whether you love modern or Spanish Revival, and anything in between.
There are lots of choices in outdoor furniture that are made of durable, stain resistant fabrics that make it easy for you to maintain for summer season after season. Some you can literally hose off regardless of the spill, some you can remove and throw in the washing machine. Sunbrella has come out with a whole new line of beautiful fabrics you should check out if you’re thinking about new cushions for your outdoor furniture. Think about selecting colors that will look good during the seasons you’re most likely to use them, and will look their best when considering the exterior hue of your home.
Okay, it’s your move: Queen to rook? You CAN create a fabulous outdoor entertaining space! On April 25, we’ll add more considerations for outdoor entertaining. Check out the rest of this website at if you need help with your space. We’d love to help, and we always make time for our readers.