Gone are the days of basic backyards outfitted with plastic furniture and folding lawn chairs. Today’s outdoor spaces have evolved to become true extensions of the home offering all the style, comfort and function of an interior living area. From furniture and accessories to fully-appointed outdoor kitchens, the lines between indoors and out have blurred beyond distinction.
“More and more, homeowners are taking indoor activities outside and creating true outdoor rooms,” explained Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex, a manufacturer of high-performance, wood-alternative decking. “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in demand for decks with more integrated features like built-in benches and storage components, along with accents both functional and decorative such as deck and landscape lighting, as well as railing styles and balusters similar to those found inside the home.”
Regardless of the size of your deck—or budget—there are myriad ways to get in on this timely trend. Here are some simple DIY tips for adding interior function and flair to your outdoor oasis:
Focus on furnishings
Few categories have evolved further or more beautifully than outdoor furniture. Today’s offerings span the style spectrum and feature all the comfort and performance of interior furnishings. When selecting furniture for your outdoor space, look for durable materials that will withstand the environmental elements. Trade in those flimsy folding chairs for more substantial pieces made of heavy duty frames with soft but durable cushions for optimum comfort.
When designing your outdoor space, define functional areas for different activities just as you would inside your home. Dedicate a space for grilling that affords a safe distance for guests and children from active flames and irritating smoke. Accompany large chairs with upholstered ottomans to create an inviting atmosphere and increase available seating. Finally, keep your outdoor space organized and eliminate all those pesky trips back and forth into the house with storage components similar to those you’d find indoors.
Illuminate with lighting
According to a recent Outdoor Decorating Survey conducted by “Casual Living” magazine and ApartmentTherapy.com, outdoor lighting ranks as the number one product that consumers want to add to their outdoor living spaces. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to install lighting thanks to “plug-and-play” components. Consumers can choose from a wide array of lighting options that can be easily installed into a deck, railing or landscape to significantly enhance the atmosphere and safety of any outdoor living space. Or, for entertaining, incorporate string lights into the space.
Add the accessories
To make your outdoor space truly feel like a “room” and a seamless extension of your home, incorporate interior-inspired accents such as decorative area rugs, but be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines – as some rugs react with materials like PVC. Other “indoor” accessories to consider include cushions, pillows and throw blankets made of weather-resistant fabrics. Forego paper plates and plastic cups for sturdy, stylish and eco-friendly reusable outdoor tableware. Add personality and color with plants, flowers, artwork and whimsical accessories, just as you would inside.