Luxury Living in the Great Outdoors: PART 2

May 31, 2014 by

IMG_6613Luxury isn’t limited by walls. As discussed in part 1, there are several elements to creating opulent outdoor living spaces. In addition to those, let’s take a look at other must-dos in order to create your creative space au natural.

Lighting

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My lighting philosophy for outdoors is the opposite to indoors: No lamps, overhead lighting where possible.

You don’t want lamps outside as the shades get dirty quickly and they can blow over, and who wants their deck to look like Cracker Barrel? (Okay, I realize that is a loaded question in the South, but please hear me: That was entirely rhetorical! You DONT want your deck to look like a Cracker Barrel.)

The most important piece here is accent lighting to create a welcoming ambiance: feature lighting around a fire place or sconces on a wall, and plenty of candles – in hurricane lamps if it’s windy.

For covered porches I also use ceiling lights or recessed cans.  These give light for reading or eating, and keeps the light-attracted bugs far above head-height.

With un-covered areas it’s a little harder, but with the surge in popularity of outdoor rooms, top quality restaurant or “Italian wedding” lights are now much more readily available to string up.

Window Treatments

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I LOVE outdoor window treatments.  They soften up the ambience immeasurably and can make a blah space really look like an outdoor ROOM, not just a place for smokers to be banished.

The rules of using curtains outdoors are to make sure the face and the back of the fabric look equally good as they won’t be lined.

The fabric is also going to move a lot more with the wind, so you need extra weights in the base to prevent being whipped by your curtains!

Finally, tie them suckers back! Swag them or tie them, but keep them out of the way.  Nobody needs to fight through 10ft of fabric to get to the garden.

Furniture

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When it comes to furniture, I love bringing interior pieces outdoors – particularly if it’s a covered area.  Just as with a traditional room, it’s good to mix up the materials and pieces so you don’t look like you’ve just bought a cheap set off the back of a truck at Trees & Trends. Ugh!

The best materials for outdoor furniture are those specially designed for the job, like faux wicker and vinyl, but it’s really good to bring in solid wood (like teak) and ceramic items.  Drift-wood pieces are also great, and if it’s good quality wood it won’t warp; it may crack over time, but that only adds to the aged look.

Care & Cleaning

This may seem strange, but cleaning is almost MORE important for outdoor rooms than indoor!

Porch and patio furniture needs to be cleaned roughly every other day.  Dust, bugs, pollen and birds are the enemies of fabric and furniture alike.  Vacuum your outdoor rugs, shake your soft furnishings, and wipe down your hardware.

Your chairs and cushions may be mildew resistant, honey, but if you leave pollen alone it will grow mold all on its very own.  That stuff is NASTY, so get a duster already and throw those covers in the washing mashine!

Finally, if you know it’s going to storm for a couple of days – and definitely at the end of the season – take as much as you can indoors. It will give your belongings a much longer life, and then you have the joy of making a fresh outdoor nest next spring.

All this brought to you complements of moi and a little thing I like to call #redemptivedesign.