Room by Room Interior Design Tips: Outdoor Spaces

This is the seventh article in our “Room by Room” interior design idea series You can read earlier articles about
living areas, bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, dining rooms, and entry areas.

There’s something truly relaxing about sipping a glass of wine or iced tea as you unwind on your back patio enjoying a soft breeze… possibly with a little James Taylor or Van Morrison music playing. Am I dating myself? 😉

When living in Texas, outdoor living areas are practically a requirement. I notice prospective homebuyers actively searching for this feature, as well as homeowners prioritizing this space, when renovating or redesigning their home. It truly is the 2nd living area!

After all, why not take advantage of our predominately beautiful weather to expand our living space and get in touch with nature? This is especially important if your daytime office doesn’t offer any fresh air or natural lighting an outdoor retreat at home lets you recharge your batteries after a long day’s work.

If you’ve already invested in your home’s main interior spaces, it’s also important to carry a cohesive flow to your outdoor spaces. I’m always reminding clients that you can typically see outdoors from your great room, and you don’t want to spoil the view with a slap-dash picnic table or barren patio.  Instead, I recommend particual attention to the following basics to make your outdoor area design as spectacular as the rest of your home:

Comfort Is Crucial

If your outdoor furniture is all hard edges and scratchy PVC fabric, you’ll never spend any time using it. To create an inviting outdoor room, choose comfortable chairs and sofas with plush cushions — the thicker the better. Make sure everything is upholstered in high-quality outdoor-rated fabric designed to withstand the elements.

The Sunbrella brand is a great choice, since it’s bleach cleanable, and it comes in so many amazing colors and patterns that you’re sure to find something you love. A few extra pillows, some citronella candles, and perhaps a comfy outdoor throw for cool nights are always a good idea. And, a soft outdoor rug on top of a stone patio will complete your creature comforts- especially for those of us who like to go barefoot. As designers, we have more options available to us in this outdoor living category than ever before!

Love the Lighting

It’s not unusual for outdoor spaces to lack sufficient lighting.  While it’s fine in the daytime to enjoy the sun, for those Texas summer nights (you know, the ones when you don’t even want to step outside until after 8 p.m.), additional lighting is required. Work with a designer for best results because a quality lighting plan will incorporate focused task lighting over a bar or outdoor kitchen and will also create the perfect ambiance for relaxing with friends and family. Whimsical string lights can create that casual, yet warm, atmosphere that serves as a quiet backdrop for your ambience.

Pick Your Plants

Though it’s easy to create spectacular outdoor spaces that function just as well as your indoor rooms, I like to add plants and landscape elements to remind you that you’re outside. Container plants around the perimeter of a patio are a quick way to create a lush privacy border around your seating area, and you can enhance the overall design by choosing unique pieces of pottery to hold them. These can be works of art themselves with the proper foliage combinations. Vary your heights, color, and foliage densities to create the most interest and dimension, and if you don’t have a green thumb, ask your local nursery for fail-proof recommendations.

Step Outside and Enjoy

Adding comfortable touches, appropriate lighting, and botanical elements will allow you to turn an unembellished patio into a stellar outdoor retreat. I guarantee that you’ll love what a little fresh air amidst beautiful surroundings can do for your overall quality of life!

If you’re considering outdoor area enhancements to your home, we would love to provide an on-site design consultation. Nicole Arnold Interiors is an award-winning interior design firm servicing Frisco and the entire Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.