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Outdoor Living Rooms: Fresh Ideas For Expanding Your Living Space Outdoors

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An outdoor living room is a great way to expand your living space. Image:
Be sure to have comfy seating.
Be sure to have comfy seating.
Be sure to have comfy seating.

Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.

Use an outdoor fireplace as your focal point. Image: Concrete Works

Add a heat source

Keep in mind that most seating areas are arranged around a particular focal point, or a design element that draws the eye. Where outdoor living rooms are concerned, a heat source like a small firepit or larger built-in fireplace is a particularly good choice.

Not only will this feature lend a sense of drama to the space, but it’s also incredibly utilitarian. Adding a heat source to your outdoor area will increase the amount of time you can spend enjoying it. It will allow you to weather chilly nights and seasonal changes that would otherwise render the area unusable.

That said, live flames aren’t the right fit for everyone. Families with young children or those who simply don’t want to take the risk should look into purchasing a heat lamp. They typically run off of propane and, in the past few years, have become increasingly easy to find in home improvement stores like Lowes.

Add your own heating source with these similar products:

Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.
Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.
Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.
Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.
Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.
Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.
Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.
Outdoor fireplaces can be a focal point.

A covering will expand the space's use.

Consider adding a covering to expand the outdoor living room’s use in varying weather. Image: Marylou Sobel Interior Design

Consider a covering

In addition to adding a heat source, you’ll also be able to extend the utility of your outdoor living room if you include a covering from the elements. Though the amount of coverage you’ll receive depends largely on the which type of covering you choose, it’s safe to say that you and your guests will certainly appreciate it in less-than-ideal weather. This design element will come in handy when facing everything from scorching heat to heavy winds and even rain.

When shopping for coverings, there are plenty of options to choose from. Recently, pergolas like the one shown in the picture above have seen a spike in popularity. However, umbrellas, awnings, lanais or even indoor-outdoor sunrooms are on the list of potential options.

Since coverings often require building an additional structure, your best bet is to hire a qualified contractor. Be honest with them about how you’d ideally like to use the space, as well as your budget. They’ll be able to recommend the type of covering the best suits your needs.

Find the right covering for your space with these similar products:

A covering will expand the space's use.
A covering will expand the space's use.
A covering will expand the space's use.
A covering will expand the space's use.

Mix and match different patterns and textures.

Mix pattern and texture to create visual interest. Image: Sage Outdoor Designs

Mix patterns, colors and textures

Once you have all of your desired features in place, your next task is to turn an eye to interior design. For the most part, the same rules apply to any space, regardless of whether it’s within walls or not. However, outdoor living rooms do have a few unique considerations you’ll want to be aware of as you’re bringing your vision to life.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that, since outdoor seating is often sold as a unit, it can look monotonous if left alone. You’ll need to add in other design elements with a variety of patterns, colors and textures to create visual interest.

Adding in textiles like accent pillows or an outdoor rug is a great choice because they can bring in lots of visual interest, but can be easily switched out as trends change. Incorporating different types of greenery is another …read more      

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