If you have a deck, patio, yard, or even a small piece of outside space with fresh air, there is an opportunity to expand your living space.
Garden furniture today is much more than uncomfortable deck sets and ugly lounge chairs. Here is the most important information you need to create a whole new living area from scratch.
Bring a mirror outside. “A lot of people may not be thinking about taking traditional indoor furniture outside,” said Mikel Welch, founder of Mikel Welch Designs in New York and Chicago, design expert for Steve Harvey and contender for HGTV Design Stars. Mirrors make small spaces feel big and add a touch of elegance to a deck or conservatory, Welch said.
Stick to fabrics for outdoor use. Outdoor fabrics have been treated to withstand the elements, in addition to stains and spills, said Tiffani Stutzman, a Louisiana-based interior designer. The most popular manufacturer of outdoor fabrics is Sunbrella. Sunbrella fabrics can be found on pillows, pillows and curtains. If you want to choose your own custom made fabrics, fabric dealers like Kravet, Fabricut, Duralee, and Robert Allen have lines of fabrics made for outdoor use using proprietary technology to protect the fabric. “If you use a fabric that is specifically designed for outdoors, your colors will stay vivid for many seasons,” said Stutzman.
Choose colors wisely. Unless your patio furniture is under a covered patio, avoid very light fabric colors like white and beige, Stutzman said. “While they look great at first sight, they get dirty quickly in the elements.” If you choose a light color, you may need to replace the pillows annually. Medium shades work better and the trending colors are gray, taupe, and all shades of blue, said Stutzman.
Add a flooring. It’s the fastest way to upgrade a patio or deck, said Brooke Lang, design principal at Brooke Lang Design in Chicago. “From faux grass to synthetic outdoor rugs, you can have a soft feel under your feet while adding a creative, unique look,” she said.
Choose lighting. Year-round Christmas lights on the balcony are a thing of the past, Lang said. “Use creative methods to light your balcony, including strings of lights with cafe bulbs and lanterns hanging from spanning iron stands,” she said. “A thin tube of light glows softly, but should be installed under a ledge or behind the railing.” Having a variety of light sources compared to headlamp lighting helps make the outdoors feel more festive than dark spots, said Sean Juneja, co-founder and CEO of Decor Aid in New York. “Think of fairy lights over the dining area, votive candles on the table, and groups of metal lanterns on the floor,” said Juneja.
Accessorize. The details bring the space together, said Sasha Bikoff, CEO of Sasha Bikoff Interior Design in New York. Bikoff likes to use fun towels, shells for ashtrays and small plants in cute planters. “If you’re working with an indoor / outdoor area, the curtains are really great and give Hollywood Regency-Palm Beach an atmosphere,” said Bikoff. “It’s a very rich, Old World-themed country club that is extremely welcoming and lively.”