Outdoor Living Spaces
If you have not considered an outdoor living room, this past year with the pandemic probably had you and your family clamoring to be outside and wanting some lounge space. Your backyard provides additional living space with the open air feel that we’ve been craving. The outdoor design space has grown to provide all the amenities you would need to use your outdoor living space all year round. Consider heating elements, cooling elements, and mood lighting for entertaining. You’ll find cooking outdoors in the warm Orange County Summers will keep your home cooler and keep your cooling bill down. Creating additional living space outdoors is sure to answer plenty of your needs with the same elevated design you may find inside.
Outdoor Design Space Considerations
Before designing your space you want to review where best to place your outdoor living room. Pay attention to not only where your backyard affords you this space but also where the sign rises and sets; this will impact how you design the shade elements as well as seating positioning. Once you identify these items, you can determine where the front of your living room is and how you will get from your backdoor to your new outdoor living space. Also consider what you are using the space for. If you are planning on this being a sunning spot, be sure your day light source is facing towards the sun rising with the setting side also open. If this is a movie room, you will want it nestled in shade. Once this is all decided you can start thinking about the fun design features.
Start with the Flooring
There are so many indoor outdoor materials on trend now that this is so fun to design. And with the materials available today, you can make your outdoor space just as stunning as indoors. Be sure to check any flooring material you lare considering that it is rated for outdoor use. You can use patterned tiles, or create a custom pattern using solid tiles in varying colors. You can also get porcelain plank that looks like natural wood; you can use standard plank lay or lay it out in a chevron pattern for added interest. For more ideas on what you can do to create stunning tile designs, see our tile design blog.
Select Your Features
Now you want to select your cabinetry and determine how much cabinet space you want with how much countertop space you want. You may have cabinets with a sink and grill on it while you also have a bar with cabinets under it You will need to determine whether you are getting a beverage center, including a kegerator, a refrigerator, and any custom pull outs. Nature Kast makes weather proof cabinets that you will love. Once you configure your accessories into the cabinet puzzle piece, you will want this professionally measured and ordered by a cabinet designer or you may end up with that extra 1/8th of an inch here and there that just don’t work — and that is an expensive mistake. Hire a professional and you’ll save plenty in the end plus you will get a professional designer to show you the best items available and what is new to market and what will stand the test of time.
Add Lighting to Your Outdoor Living Room
Designing your lighting plan for your outdoor living space is just as important as designing your indoor lighting plan. You want to consider the mood and vibe you will want in this space. Lighting will be used at dusk and in the evening. You will want general lighting as you want in any space, but ensure you have a dimmer switch installed so you can control the ambiance with the flip of a switch. And if you have a cooking space then you will also want task lighting for your prep space. And lastly you may want some accent lighting under your bar or designer pendants to be used to create a vibe of their own. You may want to do something fun with your under the counter lighting and have it change colors. Regardless of your style, there are plenty of design options your designer will share with you.
Create Calm with a Water Feature
Another feature that really sets the mood is a water element. The calming sound of trickling water has shown to have relaxing effects. Whether it is a free standing waterfall, a koi pond, or recycling water wall, each of these will create a different mood. You may consider building a water feature directly into a wall in your outdoor living room. Consider colors, textures, and placement for your water feature to best be enjoyed yet not too loud to talk over. You will also want to be sure to use accent lighting on your water feature so it really stands out after dark.
Create Ambiance with a Fire Feature
Mood lighting with natural light provides a very romantic atmosphere. There are so many options to choose from here. You have fireplaces you can build right into your outdoor living room. You can also add a fire table with rocks that get heated by a gas source you can tie into your natural gas line in your home for ease of use being the flick of a switch. You can also design a fire bowl or free-standing fire pit with gas and varying options for what you are heating; lava rocks, glass, sand, etc. Tiki torches are another method of adding fire to the surround of your outdoor living space. You’re sure to create a relaxed and inviting ambiance when you add a fire element.
Add a Dining Space
Adding a dining space enables you to increase your guest list as well as enjoy meals outdoors. This also gives you and your family a scenery change with a different vibe. You also may prefer to have the kids dine outside making it easier to clean up after them with a hose off of the flooring. You can dress up your dining space with the same design elements inside; consider a fun table cloth for themed parties or seasonal changes of table cloth to fit your time of year. You also can dress this space up with candle sticks and accent pillows on the chairs. Your dining space should be covered as to not get daytime sun in your eyes while dining.
Add a Bar
Creating your outdoor bar space is so much fun with all the fun design features. Be sure your bar is in the covered space so you can have cool under shelf lighting. You can design your bar with a mirrored backdrop and floating shelves or fun wallpaper pending your style. You can have fun displays you use to store your plastic glasses. You can add a kegerator, television, smoker, grill and more. Make it a wet bar and convenience is yours for cleaning those bar cups up and tidying before and after. You may not have considered how dusty this area can get and you will want to wipe tables and countertops before each use.
Plants are another tone setter. They provide calming effects of the outdoors and remind us that we are among nature. The color livens the space up and adds texture to your textile designs. You may consider a climbing vine if you will be using an exposed trellis for your roofing. You also want to design your plants so that you have greenery at varying heights. You can have some sitting on open shelving, some tall ones in pots, and potentially end tables with pots. Remember you want these to be accents and not take over, so be sure it’s not a house of plants, rather well placed plants to offer the pop and accent you need. Your professional designer will help you with this as well.
Having additional space for our family or entertaining guests is a warm welcome after this past year of sheltering in place. The design market has been appealing to these spaces with an increase in the materials and products available for use in outdoor spaces. Be sure to check all items are graded for outdoor use and have fun designing your outdoor living room. Remember you will want to engage a professional as designing these is no small project and the details here are best left to professionals unless you have considerable construction experience. From foundation, to roofing, to electrical and plumbing, these should all be permited for your safety – as well as a designer will make this process a joy rather than a head ache.