The birds are chirping, the flowers are starting to peek through, and the buds on trees are re-appearing – it’s springtime, and it’s time to start thinking about the great outdoors! Whether you have a covered porch, and open deck, or a balcony, having outdoor space that you can spend time in is important.
According to Time magazine, spending time outdoors has been shown to:
decrease blood pressure and heart rate
encouraging physical activity
improving mood and mental health
A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research shows just how little time it takes to get the benefits of being outside. As little as 20 minutes a day, even if you're not exercising, realize these benefits.
So, in the interest of improving your well-being, we’re giving you the exact items that you need to create your perfect outdoor space!
Ground your space with a rug
As with any indoor room, a rug defines the area, provides a designated space for conversational groupings. When you’re looking for a rug for the outdoors, one option that you have are rugs that are made from synthetic materials, such as polypropylene, nylon. These materials are suitable for both covered and uncovered areas, and will resist fading from the sun, and mold and mildew if they get wet. If your area is covered, you can also use a natural material like jute or sisal, but just know that they don’t stand up as well in high humidity, and aren’t resistant to mildew as synthetic materials.
Add inviting seating
The seating for your space is key to creating a space where people want to hang out. Make sure that you choose materials that are resistant to both water and sun.
For the frames, resin wicker, aluminum and teak frames are the most durable for both the heat and humidity as well as cold climates.
For your cushions, make sure to select both covers and inner cushions that are specifically designed to withstand all of the elements. Ideal fabrics include Sunbrella, Inside Out, and Olefin products.
Make sure there’s plenty of seating! Just like an indoor room, provide a grouping of seating that allows for conversation. Start with a sofa or sectional, and add a coffee table, some accent chairs and an end table or two that can easily be shifted around. Rule of thumb – everyone should have a place to put their margarita!
If you want to make your space even more usable throughout the year (for those of us in the Northeast 😉) add an outdoor heater or firepit!
Pile on the textiles
Next, decide on a color palette for your space, and add coordinating throw pillows and throws. Often, your outdoor rug can provide a great starting point for this! Pull out two colors and use them to find coordinating throw pillows or a cute little stool for a pop of color. Remember to choose outdoor-friendly fabrics and materials for resistance to fading or staining. The best materials are polyester or from manufacturers like Sunbrella or Inside Out.
Stop to smell the flowers
Even if you have gorgeous landscaping, adding in some planters filled with flowers is a great way to add color, texture and interest to your space. One tip: don’t go small here. Choose oversized pots and planters – tall ones that can hold several types or one large grouping of flowers. Why? If you have lots of little pots everywhere, your patio will feel cluttered. Large planters will give your space a more lush feeling.
Light it up!
You've probably heard the saying that “lighting is the jewelry of the home.” Chandeliers and pendant lights in particular add the finishing touch to a space, and provide another layer texture and finish to a room. When done well, and in the right scale, it can even serve as a focal point for your space. And great news – these same principles apply to your outdoor spaces!
Just make sure that you fixtures are either damp rated (for covered areas) or wet rated (for exposed areas). Do you have a covered porch? Add a gorgeous outdoor chandelier! Have an open patio? String some (wet rated!) café lights around the perimeter for a warm glow.
Now that you've got all of the elements of a gorgeous outdoor space, start to create that new patio, deck or porch! Reconnect with nature, breathe in, and enjoy!
And if you're dreaming of that new space but don't have the time to pull it all together, schedule a complimentary Design Discovery Consultation to learn more about how we can help!