Outdoor Rooms: Portland Interior Designer’s Top 10 Tips
Interior Design in Portland pretty much always involves making the most of available light and incorporates an appreciation of the beauty of the outdoors. Since sunny days are at a premium, making the most of them by creating an outdoor room will expand your living space and dramatically increase your enjoyment of yard, patio, deck or balcony
Here are my Top 10 Tips for creating the Perfect Outdoor Room
1. Create a furniture grouping for conversation. Just as you do in your living room, put some comfortable seating in an intimate arrangement so friends can sit close and hear each other easily. Provide side tables, a dining table or coffee table to hold drinks & snacks.
2. An outdoor area rug will give the furniture grouping a cozy look and feel nice under bare feet too.
3. If evenings are cool, one of the best additions to your grouping will be a place to have a fire. There is something very primal and comforting about sitting around a fire. You could build in a fireplace, or use a portable fire pit made of steel or copper. There are also beautiful, contemporary propane burning “fire features” that are safe to use on condominium patios, and eliminate the need to have stacks of firewood. If your space is a small condominium balcony with just enough room for a bistro set, consider using either free standing or table models of oil burning lamps to give you a flame that provides more light than candles and won’t blow out at the smallest breeze.
4. Lighting is just as important as it is indoors. If you have a covered space, consider hanging a chandelier.Manufacturers are now making table lamps and floor lamps that are specially made to use outdoors. The soft light of a lamp is much more pleasant than an outdoor flood light! Accent lighting shining on your landscaping will allow you to enjoy the scenery at night too. Don’t forget oil lamps and candles for ambience.
5. Art elevates the look of any space and this is true in your outdoor rooms also. Select pieces that can handle the elements if your space is not completely protected from rain. You can find artwork such as metal wall sculptures or paintings on metal that can be outside. A muralist can even paint directly on an outside wall for your space.
6. Water features add a lovely visual and relaxing sound. There’s a water feature in the right size for you … large or small free-standing fountains, wall hung fountains, and table top models.
7. Remember to accessorize, just like you would indoors. Candles, and colorfully glazed ceramic pieces add color and interest to the setting.
8. Defining your room and providing privacy can be very important, especially if your room is visible to neighbors. You can use outdoor fabric drapery panels that can be pulled closed to give privacy. In their open position, they provide color and texture. Free-standing, folding room dividers can be placed wherever you need them and put aside when not in use. Consider creating a wall of wood shutters that can be opened to let breezes through or closed to protect privacy.
9. Protection from sun and rain makes your room usable in less than perfect weather. Umbrellas, awnings, and gazebos are all common ways to provide shade or shelter from rain. Solar shades can be hung from your shade structure’s ceiling and lowered to protect from late afternoon sun. “Shade sails” are those large canvases suspended in the air, stretched on cables attached on at least 3 points. They are a dramatic and sculptural way to shade and define your room. If the right fabric is selected they can protect from rain too!
10. The most important element of an outdoor room? Friends of course! Once you set up your room, invite some friends over, mix up Mojitos or your favorite iced tea and enjoy the last weeks of summer! Use serving trays or a rolling serving cart to make it easy to bring refreshments outdoors.
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