Insider Solutions

Outdoors Can Flow from Indoor Style

Q: I’m planning to totally redo our patio because we spend so much time outdoors. I want it to be as comfortable and durable as possible. What can I do to create a natural flow between outside and inside?

A: I love the way you express the movement between outside and inside as “flow,? because, in warmer climates, our lives truly flow from inside to outside. Being able to be outdoors almost every day of the year, we are constantly moving between the two.

It can be rewarding to balance the style of the furniture in your home with the look of your garden environment. As you look out your windows and doors, your home can appear larger as you view the extended space. This type of continuity moves you from place to place, creating flow.

When purchasing outdoor furniture, you need to plan just as you would if you were furnishing an interior room. Think of it as building another home where you have the opportunity to create several specific living areas – places to eat, lounge, play, or just talk. You can be by yourself in a cozy area or create a larger space for entertaining. The best way to accomplish this is with several furniture groupings.

If the areas are on the same level, adding individual umbrellas can help define each area and also provide shade. Put all your umbrellas on stands so you can move them around as needed. To add interest, you can select different furniture, colors or patterns for each area. Towels in wonderful colors, and patterns, can be sewn together as slipcovers to change the look from year to year.

Outdoor furniture comes in a variety of styles, materials, finishes and fabrics. These four elements can match, blend or contrast with what you have already used in your home. The metal on the furniture comes in a variety of finishes to coordinate with the fabric. Keep in mind there is a relationship between your outer and inner spaces.

The trick to keeping your outdoor furniture looking good for many years is to keep it vacuumed and as dust free as possible. Dirt discolors fabrics and finishes more quickly than the sun.

Place plants strategically in or along your sitting areas for beauty and sun protection. Plants give life to an environment. And don’t forget to use accent lighting for evening pleasure.

Think of your outside living area as your second home and create it for your personal life’s style.

Remember, outside rooms (also) have no feelings, you do!

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