You may think you have a porch, patio, deck, terrace, treehouse, shed, gazebo, or firepit, but you don’t. What you have is an “outside room”, so make it a spectacular one.
The number one thing to consider when planning an outdoor room is comfort. Face it, there is going to be a lot of lying down out there! If you’re like me, and I hope for your sake you are, then the first priority for lounging al fresco is napping. The second is reading, and the third is conversation. For all these “activities” — and I use that term loosely — comfort is key.
Unless you’re decorating your own secret garden (Mmmm… I dream of secret gardens,) then it’s important to ensure that the décor of your outdoor space compliments the décor of your indoor spaces. It’s all very well telling me “I’ve always wanted to have a purple patio” but if your sitting-room is in reds and browns then the view from the window is going to make you queazy.
In terms of color and pattern, the golden rule for outdoor decor is Stear Clear of Solids! A lot of outdoor furniture you see “off the rack” use solids; blue with a white trim, cream with a green trim, blah, blah BLAH! This is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly – your furniture is outside; it is going to get dirty, people! If you choose a solid color — Hey Presto!— One bird poop and you’re done!
Secondly – the other reason to use patterns is, simply, you can. In an outdoor space you are unhampered by walls; there is room for the eye to wander, which makes even a mixture of patterns less overwhelming.
The trick in the South here is trying to find outdoor fabric that’s NOT tropical themed. Due to the very nature of the industry, it is aimed squarely at the costal markets, and while sea shells and star fish are all very Caribbean chic, if you’re actually at the beach. Palm trees look cheap on a horse farm in land-locked Tennessee.
Cushions are a way to make any outdoor space look comfortable and inviting. It’s important to make sure that you have an outdoor form, as well as outdoor covers. Look for Quick-Dry cores that are designed to take around 45 minutes to go from downpour to dry.
When selecting fabric, the very best for outdoors is solution-dyed acrylic. This means the color was put into the fabric at the liquid stage and the pattern woven in, rather than being printed on afterwards. These fabrics will not fade nearly as quickly, and should last you a good 5 years.
All this brought to you, courtesy of moi and a little thing I like to call #RedemptiveDesign.
Check back next week for my tips on Furniture, Window Treatments and Lighting.