Outdoor decorating at its finest

Bringing the Indoors to Your Outdoor World

by Barbara Jennings


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Summertime is in full effect. This is the time of year when minds turn to thoughts of outdoor sports, gardening, and, of course, decorating. And as you begin to think of what you can do to the exterior of your home, new possibilities in technology and style may just give you that refreshing edge you've been looking for.

Experts say that adding to the exterior of your home may increase the value of your home as much as 30%. Therefore, if being just as comfortable inside is possible to attain outside, and you can increase the value of your property at the same time, then bringing decorating sense to the outdoors may just be the decorator's wildest fantasy come true.

Because many of us have already remodeled the bathroom, refinished the kitchen cabinets, and redecorated every bedroom and every living room five or six times, it's time to bring the artful touch to our front and back yards.

Experience the Outdoors

People these days are more interested in experiencing the outdoors and all that it has to offer, with desires of not only entertaining outside, but just enjoying the atmosphere and the fresh air. Because of this increased desire for people to spend time outside, investments are being made on such lush landscapes as waterfall features, pavilions, fireplaces, and even full kitchens with grills, refrigerators, and the kitchen sink.

Combine those more classic additions to the outside world with stylish furniture and inventive accessories, and you will have virtually created another home within your home (or should I say, with-out your home!).

To get a little bit of history, spacing of the outdoors around living quarters dates back to the Victorian's who lived luxurious lives enjoying summer rooms and screened porches. Bringing the indoors out, however, was not as effortless as it may seem.

Style and technological advancement had to join together to create materials, fabrics, and all the trimmings that can be protected from such outdoor hardships as mildew, chipping, scratching, corrosion, and of course fading.

Bringing Technology and Style Together

Designers have become so good at combining technology with style, that these days it may be difficult to choose whether you want the decorations to go inside or outside. If decorating is to be an extension of how we live and what we like, then it is natural that we should desire to extend our decorating and self-expression not only inside but out as well.

If ambience is what you're after, then a built in fireplace or a freestanding one may just be the thing for you. Keeping in line with the outdoor patio heaters, outdoor fireplaces are beautiful and more elaborate extension of this form of generating heat.

Try grouping a sofa and chairs around the hearth. A beautiful area rug adorned with a stylish coffee table will also add life to this special place, and it is a great way to set a mood. Also try candles and outdoor table lamps and floor lamps for extra mood in the evening.

Keeping Things Intimate

To create a more intimate space, try using sheer or opaque curtains hung around your space, or use them to create an imaginary room, as if to extend the architecture of your home out to your front or back yard.

Also, in going along with extending the architecture of your home, designers of outdoor furniture and accessories have taken to making their pieces heftier, in order to better accentuate the larger scale architecture. Cushions are generally fuller, and seats have been deepened and widened. Also try a tented daybed and double chaises for that extra cozy summer nap.

Inside Rules Apply Outside Too

Switching to the subject of color schemes, fabrics for the exterior are displaying bold stripes, paisleys, polka dots, and a wide array of those playful and tantalizing color combinations such as chocolate and baby blue, pink, and sea green.

Don't forget, the same principles used to accentuate your fabrics and patterns inside your home, apply to the outside of your home as well. Finishing touches with simple stripes, eye-catching patterns, and fringe act as the ultimate grand finale to any outdoor decoration. Also try certain items such as beads, piping, tassels and the ever-flirty table umbrella.

Got an old couch or a dining room table set? Don't forget the ever-convenient slipcovers made in a broad assortment of colors patterns and textures that can spice up an old furnishing and be placed outside.

And if you're planning to entertain outside, then comfort and convenience should be a priority for you. Mobil serving carts are now available that have stationery counterparts to store all of your glasses, dishes and assorted evening wear, and can also make an elegant way to serve your guests.

Keep Your Options Open

While glass top tables are still an option, remember to think about painted ceramic, mosaic tile and stone tables as well.

So whether you are just relaxing after a day's work in a comfy lounge chair by the fireplace, or enjoying a romantic dinner by candlelight, you just might find that your outdoor home is more comfortable than your indoor one.


Barbara Jennings is a well-known author and interior decorator in Southern California. She is also a published artist. She teaches rearrangement design and how to do it as a home based business. Visit her website at www.decorate-redecorate.com. Used by permission.

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