By: Michelle Samar
Being comfortable in your outdoor space is just as important as indoor comfort. In order to achieve a “continuity of comfort”, there are several design ideas we can implement from our interiors.
Be sure to find the main focus of activity in your back yard. Do you need a dining table and chairs right off the main covered patio area, or is this something that could be pushed out further into the yard? Perhaps a sofa /loveseat and chair combination would be utilized more positioned directly outside the sliding glass door? Maybe a grouping of four club chairs around a fire feature would be more versatile than two loveseats? Knowing the use of a space is important to how you will furnish it.
Once you determine the function of your outdoor space, choose the style you want to emulate. For seamless design from inside to outside, make sure to keep your color scheme and furniture profile similar to what you have inside. Many homes are currently taking on a more classic or modern aesthetic and the patio furniture manufacturers are following suit. There are great collections that feature straighter arm styles, and more angular lines rather than the more traditional curved arm and scrolled metal. Fabric selection has come a long way as well with offerings such as grays, blues and oranges becoming welcome additions to the browns, reds and terracottas we have all become accustom to.
Now that you have your furniture in place, don’t forget the importance of giving the space it’s personality by adding accessories. Add heat and sun-friendly accessories to your coffee table. You should be safe with metal sculpture and heavy pottery that our unpredictable winds wouldn’t toss into the neighbor’s yard. If you don’t have a green thumb and want to add some plant life, add potted cacti and succulents in groupings of three. These look great in an empty corner or as a centerpiece on a dining table, and they just need a drink of water every now and then.
To create warmth and define a conversation area, outdoor rugs are a wonderful addition. They are easy on the feet and adding a textile with a print to an outdoor space feels incredibly civilized. Add a sprinkling of outdoor toss pillows and utilize beautifully printed pool towels as “throw blankets” slung across the arm of a sofa or chair.
Light It Up
Don’t stop with the recessed lights that came with the house. There are gorgeous outdoor lighting fixtures available whether you want a set of ornate wrought iron chandeliers or streamlined ceiling fans, there is a huge selection out there.
Adding sting lights is an excellent way to add whimsy to a space or create a festive atmosphere year round. You can string them in a tree, tie them to a pool fence, or tack them to your stucco in a zig-zag fashion under your patio roof to achieve that “outdoor restaurant” feeling.
Solar lanterns offer a soft, romantic glow and can be placed anywhere from table tops to illuminating a walking path or defining a pool or spa deck. These are a no maintenance way to get a magazine look for not a lot of money.
Use your creativity. What makes you happy inside the home will make you happy outside the home as well. Just make sure it’s desert-friendly and won’t blow away or melt!
Michelle Samar is an interior designer with more than 13 years of experience. She is the owner of Mongrel Design, an interior design and decorating company. Michelle is also a mom of two boys ages 15 and 11.