This article was submitted by guest author Carol Ruth Weber, of Weber Life Design. Carol, an Interior Designer and Personal Life Assistant, has 27 years experience in the field of design.
With the sunshine and pleasant weather, we long to be outdoors. Expand your living space into the outside. Use your patio, deck, or porch an additional dining area and family room.
You will want to make it inviting and comfortable. If you have the space you might want to consider a gazebo. They create the feeling of a room. These are not your old fashioned gazebos. They can be purchased at a very reasonable price and are easy to assemble. Gazebos are nice because they provide shade as well as screening to keep the bugs out. You can make it your own by adding swags of drapery. Be sure to use fabric that is made for the outside elements – this way they won’t be damaged by the rain and sun. You will want to take the gazebo down after the season to store for next year.
When furnishing your outdoor area you will want to plan your space just as you do inside. An Interior Designer can plan your outside space just as they would an inside space. Check out weberlifedesign.com for assistance. Estimate your budget, space, and needs. Is a dining table the most important? Or would you rather have a comfy sitting area to chitchat? Maybe sunning is on the top of the list.
Make a floor plan. There are many materials that can be used for outdoor furniture. If you like a wicker look, use the synthetic materials. These pieces of wicker furniture look like the real thing but will not splinter and damage. They are made of resin and vinyl and can be kept out all year.
If you prefer wood, check out your choices. The most popular woods for the outdoors are teak, eucalyptus, cedar, pine and oak. Wood is durable and can be reasonably priced. Maintenance depends on the type of wood. Most woods will be low maintenance. The natural oils in woods, such as teak, protect it against rot and harsh weather, extreme temperatures and high humidity. Eucalyptus is another great and new alternative.
Wrought Iron is the Traditional and classic choice. It is a very strong material. Styles range from the Traditional pieces, remembered from years ago, to newer Contemporary pieces. It is a luxurious material.
Wrought Iron can be extremely heavy and it will not tip easily which makes it great for windy locals, such as by the sea. Wrought iron is a metal that does require some care to prevent rusting and corrosion. You can find some nice iron pieces at garage sales and thrift stores. With a little sanding and paint (make sure it is rust proof paint such as Rustoleum), and new cushions, you can have a beautiful Dining set or chaise at a low cost.
Aluminum is a great and popular choice. There are so many designs and styles, from traditional to Contemporary, available in this material. It is very lightweight, and, unlike wrought iron, can be easily moved. Aluminum is easy to maintain. It is easy to clean and resists corrosion so it can be left outside with little worries.
Blend your inside motif and colors with your new exterior furnishings by bringing the indoor elements, such as; drapes, pillows, vases, lighting, and candles, outside.
You can hang a Lighting fixture in the center of the gazebo. Run a cord down the side of the structure to your outside outlet. Make sure that this is unplugged and out of the elements when not in use. Solar lamps can be set up to be charged during the day so you will have light in the evening. Umbrellas and gazebos can be enhanced for the night time hours with solar powered LED lights strung along the spines.
Any cushions, pillows, and drapes should be made out of fabric that is specifically produced for the purposed of being used in the outdoor elements. An Interior Designer can find fabrics for you to blend with your furnishings. You can purchase these items yourself made in a variety of colors and patterns at reasonable prices at many stores like Homegoods and Target. There are area rugs made exclusively for outdoor use. Place a rug within your seating area to create your finished “room”.
Accessorize as you would do inside. Coordinate placemats, napkins, glassware, and dishes. Stores like Pier 1 Imports and Target have interesting choices. Bamboo is a fun material for placemats. Remember, you will want to use unbreakable materials outside. Many acrylic plates and glassware you find look beautiful and are hard to differentiate from the breakable choices.
Add pretty planters for some greenery and flowers. Some new planters have an integrated watering system, or bottom water reservoir which will relieve any worries you may have about making sure your plants are watered.
TV’s can be purchased and set up that are specifically made to be placed outdoors. Music can be played outside with outdoor speakers. There are even large blow-up outdoor screens if you want to have outdoor movie nights.
For a cool evening you might want to invest in a heater or fire pit. It will create a cozy place for you to relax into the fall.
Let the sun shine, invite over your friends, turn up the music and never be afraid to dance!