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How to Create Outdoor Living Spaces You Never Want to Leave

outdoor living spaces

Months of quarantining taught us the importance of the spaces we inhabit: if we’re stuck at home, then home needs to be functional, comfortable, and enjoyable. But a home environment includes more than the interior of your house: the yard, garage, patio or deck, pool, garden, and other outdoor spaces are yours to live in, as well. When the weather’s nice, spending time in your outdoor “rooms” is a great way to expand your options without having to leave your own space. This summer, why not invest some attention into creating outdoor rooms that are as functional, comfortable, and enjoyable as the rest of your home?

Three Keys to a Great Outdoor Room

Well, we just said it, but we’ll say it again: function, comfort, and enjoyment are essential to creating an outdoor room you want to spend time in. To create a great outdoor living area, think through these questions:

  • What’s the primary function of this outdoor space? Is it to relax? Entertain? Work? Spend time with family? Play? Exercise? Of course you can use an outdoor room for more than one function, but defining the primary use will help you to set it up in a way that makes it fun and easy to use.
  • What is needed to make this space comfortable? You may need screens to keep insects down, fans to create a breeze, or outdoor lights to provide visibility and ambiance. Consider the furnishings as well: if it’s a space for entertaining, outdoor dining, or work and study, you want to include a table and chairs. If it’s a lounging and relaxing space, consider a swing, outdoor couch, or rocking chairs instead.
  • What will make this space more enjoyable? This is where you think beyond the basics needed for functionality and the essential comforts, and have a little fun. What about outdoor Bluetooth speakers? Colorful bistro lights you can program with an app on your phone? Planters with seasonal flowers in bloom?

Define the Space

To set up an outdoor room, start with the boundaries. You may already have boundaries in place; a specific surface—such as a patio or deck—provides the edges and clearly defines the space. You can also define one part of a larger space for a particular use; for example, designate one corner of the decking around the pool as the outdoor dining area. How would you define the boundaries of this dining area, separating it from the lounging areas? Here are some ways to define the edges of an outdoor room:

  • Create a wall with a row of planters filled with seasonal flowers. For a more structural feel, use square-shaped planters that are taller and narrow (as opposed to more traditional circular planters).
  • Hang bistro lights above the area to light and define the “zone” and create a sense of being inside a room.
  • Put down an outdoor rug.
  • Lay outdoor tiles or flat stones around the edge.
  • Use pathway lights to create a perimeter that’s visible at night.

Furnish for Use and Comfort

Choose furnishings based on functionality and comfort. If you want to grill, entertain, and dine outdoors, you need more than a few chairs. Consider a small table or shelf by the grill to hold seasonings, serving trays, and grill utensils. A rolling cart could bring supplies from the kitchen or serve as a temporary outdoor bar. Adequate lighting around the table is essential so everyone can see their food. And a fan to create a breeze keeps everyone cool and comfortable while discouraging insects from attacking the food.

Being outside means dealing with a lot more variables, from temperature to noise. As you furnish the space, consider the time of day and the surroundings. A seating area for after-dinner drinks may be a great spot to enjoy morning coffee if you add a canopy or umbrella to provide shade. A lounging area may be perfect for afternoon sunbathing with the addition of privacy screening. With a little more planning, the outdoor rooms you create can be functional and comfortable for many uses and any time of day.

Stock Up on Supplies

Don’t forget about the smaller things that make an outdoor room more enjoyable and convenient. You may want to include a weatherproof storage container to keep outdoor games, sunscreen, and insect spray on hand. We’re all more likely to use things that are convenient. It’s much easier to enjoy s’mores around the fire pit when there’s dry, split wood stacked nearby and a waterproof container with kindling and a long lighter. Enjoying what we have is often just about making it easy to use what we have. Consider the small things, from sidewalk chalk and bubbles on the patio to a well-lit path leading through the garden, and see what happens.

At Outdoor Lighting Solutions, we can help bring light to the outdoor rooms for the right ambiance at the right time. Get in touch for a free estimate.

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