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Outdoors is the New Indoors

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As a SoCal girl (small houses, small lots), my family has always embraced the backyard as part of our living space. And why not? In Los Angeles’ dry climate, so much of our life can be spent outdoors. No matter where you live, the trend to embrace outdoor spaces just keeps growing, so let’s talk about some great ways to make our patios as comfortable as our family rooms. I have to tell you I’m still amazed, even though I’ve seen its progression over the last 10 years, by the look and feel of todays outdoor fabrics and furnishings. I mean outdoor velvets??

We covered the seats of this teak outdoor sectional in gorgeous rust velvet and then added a mix of patterns.   Please, please, please, do not put the same fabric on every piece of your outdoor furniture!  Every fabric in this room is meant for the outdoors from the Roman shades to the sheers.  There are so many options that are so good!

Think of your patio areas as an extension of your indoors so your eye visually flows between the two spaces making everything seem bigger. We removed solid roofing in sections of this patio cover and added fabric shades.  In the summer, when it’s hot and shade is welcome, the fabric is pulled over the opening.  In the winter when shade is not so welcome, the shade is pulled back against the structure and the sunshine streams into the house.   I didn’t show a picture, but another trick we use to create a seamless flow between the indoors and out is to use the same tile/stone indoors and out.  Especially in rooms with large door openings to the outdoors, keeping the flooring consistent makes each space feel bigger.

It might be a hard sell to get my husband to buy off on this pink fabric, but if it was just me, I’d totally go for this.  The pink is grounded with a dark background and is so cleverly tied back into the flowers.  In the same way we pull colors around a room indoors, we need to be doing the same thing outdoors.

There are so many good outdoor rugs on the market today.  When they first came out, I wasn’t a huge fan.  The materials were coarse and the colors/patterns way too bright and flamboyant for my personal taste.  But have things ever changed!  Ellen DeGeneres by Loloi Rugs has some of my favorites.

For this client (top right photo) we mixed outdoor furniture and fabrics – and can I just say this McGuire sectional is as comfortable as what’s indoors – with light fixtures not meant specifically for outdoors.  But….we have a completely covered space, rain can’t get to the fixtures, they’re on a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) circuit, the homeowners were totally good with it and it’s located in a very dry climate.  And just as a side note, I selected fixtures with iron finishes that will continue to look great in the space even if they weather a bit.  If you know me, you know I’m in favor of a good mix 😊.  Just like window treatments in the living room, we added solar shades to block the afternoon sun that streams into this space.  You don’t want to spend the time and money creating a beautiful space that’s too hot to sit in!

Depending on your climate, or your tolerance for cold, a fireplace creates a super cozy space to enjoy fall and spring weather.  Ok – TV’s.  There will be none in my outdoor space, but there are plenty of great outdoor/weather resistant TV’s on the market.

I’m a little late getting started, but I am updating my own outdoor spaces this spring.  My patios have seen a lot of use over the years from dinners with family and friends to 20+ kids (in their 20’s but will always be kids to me) gathered around the firepit after the annual caroling truck every December 23rd.

So here’s what I’m planning for my family.

Below I have added 4 tips to help you get started in designing your dream patio.

AUTHOR - Rebecca Johnston

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