Take it Outside
Post-Summer Texas: Prime Time for Outdoor Living
The days are just beginning to shorten, and while the 100+ degree weather has barely given way to temperatures in the mid-90s, it’s an indication that the opressive summer heat might finally be behind us, and we can begin enjoying the cooler – or at least more tolerable – Texas fall. This should be an encouragement for us to move our social gatherings back outside, and exchange refigerated cooling for some good old fresh air.
When designing or organizing an outdoor living space, area and an open flow are both key: a surplus of natural light coming through yawning archways is the best way to highlight this living area’s best qualitites. Additionally, the openness makes the room appear larger, so you and guests will feel less confined by the architecture and much more able to relax.
The Best of Both Worlds
What makes (semi) outdoor living areas so unique is the opportunity to bring the amenities and activities that typically occur inside your house to a different location, without sacrificing comfort. Lawn chairs and umbrella-covered roundtables might be fine for a cookout, but that doesn’t quite require the creative energy that will leave your guests astonished by your outdoor paradise. As unusual as it might seem at first, don’t be afraid to give your outdoor living space a heavy dose of interior-living luxury.
Seating: Seating can be all the difference when desiging outdoor living spaces. The key is to blend the appearance of indoor living room seating with the durability of something that may take some damage from the elements. Some of the newest trends in outdoor seating are wicker patio loveseats and sofas. These seats are designed to resemble armchairs and are being used heavily in outdoor living areas. With these seats, you and your guests can sink into a puffy cushion surrounded by something that unequivocally says “outdoor”. These chairs may even allow you to completely reproduce your family living space for outdoor relaxing.
Tables/Surfaces: A great wood surface with minimal (or even no) staining can evoke images of a picnic or a beachside lunch. Dry, lightly-colored wood specimens look excellent under either an abundance of light, or in the glow of a late-night fireplace. Leave the gloss-covered stained wood for the office room – while outdoors you want to leave anything that’s reminiscent of a board room in your home’s interior.
Bridging the Indoor/Outdoor Gap
The most successful outdoor spaces are the ones that can find a balance between indoor luxury and outdoor spaciousness. Your guests shouldn’t be overwhelmed by over-the-top decoration – you want the focus to be on the size of the space as well as the scenery outside of it. Likewise, any decoration that you do decide to bring in should be used to bridge the gap between the outdoors and indoors: earth-toned vases with seasonal flowers, or even a towering bouquet of wrapped bamboo can be just the elegant touch to blend the living space with what’s just outside.