How to Build Outdoor Living Spaces
10 Tips for Building an Outdoor Living Space
Choose Functional Decor
How will you use the furniture in your outdoor space? Will you be relaxing, dining, entertaining, or sunbathing? How many people will it need to accommodate? You should start by asking yourself some of these basic questions. If you only plan to use your outdoor space occasionally, a few essential items will suffice. If you plan to use it frequently, shop for furniture and decor that’s built to last. If you’ll regularly be hosting large groups, consider pieces that perform more than one function. For example, a teak storage bench can double as a table, seat, or storage for when it rains. Ottomans can also double as seats or tables as needed.
Consider the Size of the Space
Have you measured your outdoor space? If so, don’t forget to consider the shape of your space as well. Is the furniture you want scaled for the outdoor space where it will be used? Considering size and scale is a must. To better visualize things, it’s helpful to sketch out your outdoor floor plan on paper. This way you can consider different ideas and plans before you commit to your design. Make sure to account for walkways, doors, patios, and stairs, and then draw in furniture items you’re considering.
Prepare for Your Climate
Do you live in a region that is hot and dry or near the coast with constant humidity? Does it rain often? Consider your climate when furnishing your outdoor space because it will affect the amount of maintenance required and the potential lifespan of your patio pieces. Arid weather conditions may dry out wood furniture, causing it to splinter or crack, while wicker furniture doesn’t do well with heavy moisture or humidity.
Style to Your Taste
Does the style of your outdoor space integrate well with the overall look and feel of your home? Do the colors complement your home and landscaping? Besides coordinating the pieces within your outdoor space, you should consider how they work with your home and the natural elements in your yard. Use the material of your furniture, outdoor textiles, and lighting to determine the overall design style and color palette of your space.
Plan for Maintenance Requirements
How much maintenance are you willing to perform? Have you picked furniture that suits your climate, reducing the amount of upkeep needed? There’s a wide range of maintenance needs for outdoor spaces. Furniture and upholsteries need occasional washing, and outdoor rugs need to be shook out when they accumulate dirt and dust. Make sure your furniture and decor requires minimal upkeep or that you’re committed to the time needed to keep it in good shape.
Get Covers or Storable Decor
Is your outdoor space covered or do you plan on storing outdoor decor inside during the off season? Can you stack or fold the furniture if needed? If you’re able to store your patio decor inside during the winter season, it can reduce some of your furniture maintenance. If it can’t be stored inside, plan on purchasing furniture covers and durable decor that can withstand the winter weather.
Opt for Quality Materials
How long are you planning on keeping this outdoor space? Outdoor furniture and decor of excellent quality will provide countless hours of entertaining and relaxation, so choose quality items to create an outdoor space that lasts. Choose materials for furniture, rugs, and other textiles that will promote comfortable, long-term use. Olefin and acrylic tend to be the most durable, fade-resistant, and water-resistant fabrics, and can stand up to many seasons of use.
Stay on Budget
What is your budget? If your budget is limited, can you get a similar look in a less expensive material? If you’re on a budget, consider less expensive materials until you can upgrade to your ultimate patio set or think about your long-term plans and invest more now for better comfort and durability. Ultimately, think quality and buy the best you can afford.
Take Control of the Temperature
If you want to use your outdoor space in colder seasons, how will you keep your space warm and cozy? A fire pit or outdoor fireplace provides plenty of heat and doubles as the focal point of a social area. Propane-powered heating towers are another convenient way to infuse any area with warmth. During hot seasons, use ceiling or floor fans to help circulate cool air.
Light It Up
Will you be using your outdoor space at night? To keep the area well-lit after the sun has gone down, choose a lighting option that complements your decor and creates a pleasing ambiance. A string of glowing bulbs can be strung around the border of your seating area to provide a pleasing glow, while exterior lights on your home can be used to flood your entire patio with ambient light.
More Ways to Shop
- Deck & Patio Guides