What was once just a backyard has become an outdoor room. As comfortable and well-equipped as any room inside your home, this is the new buzz in home decoration. Planning your outdoor living room requires thought and consideration if you want it to be well-used and enjoyed.
When designing your outdoor room, consider your lifestyle. Do you want to combine dining and comfortable seating? Is a weekend afternoon nap high on your priority list? If so, you will want to consider a sofa or at least an ottoman with a comfortable lounge chair- something with a back high enough to support your head. Are you hoping to have a comfortable and quiet place to read? An ottoman is a must, as is an outdoor lamp. It is very important to use a lamp that is made as an outdoor lamp. These lamps are UL listed for use in wet areas.
Furniture, accessories, appliances and building materials used for an outdoor room need to be evaluated for appropriateness for use in the weather and sunlight.
Qualities to Consider for Outdoor Use
- Will the product stand up to moisture?
- Will the product stand up to UV rays?
- What will months and/or years of exposure do to the construction materials?
- Can this product be cleaned easily?
- Are replacement parts available?
Outdoor Furniture Materials
All-weather wicker, aluminum, wrought iron, wood, and recycled products are good choices for outdoor living areas. Sturdy frames and weather resistant materials used in the frame, finishes, cushions and fabrics are easily serviced. Products designed for outdoor use will be constructed of materials which have been selected for their resistance to moisture and sunlight.
A Word of Caution
Not all outdoor furniture is created equal. It is often difficult to see the differences between products. Do your homework and consult with trained, experienced outdoor product professionals to make the best choices to suit your needs.
Covered Outdoor Room
Covered or screened porches and sun rooms most closely resemble an indoor room. With a ceiling, floor, walls and doors, these types of areas offer the most protection from the elements. With a roof overhead, issues of rain, direct sun, and, to some degree, wind are minimized. Covered areas allow us to use the most comfortable outdoor furniture complete with thick cushions, without having to deal with wet cushions and drying time.
Uncovered Outdoor Room
Outdoor rooms can be created without a ceiling overhead, or walls to contain and define them. Direct rain and sun will be more of an issue, but with good quality outdoor materials having no roof overhead is not a barrier to a complete outdoor room. Outdoor furniture, fabrics, lamps, area rugs and many accessories are designed for complete exposure. In addition, protective covers are available to cover outdoor furniture when not in use, or during those times of the year when Mother Nature makes a mess. A small investment in protective covers will keep your furniture looking new longer, not to mention the time you will save in clean up.
Defining Your Outdoor Room
There are many ways to help define a space and create the feeling of a room in outdoor spaces. Hedges and shrubs, an allée of trees, or potted plants can create a wall effect. A trellis can give the effect of a window or doorway. Pathways define and separate areas in the same way as walls do in a structure. Another way to define areas within an outdoor room is to use area rugs. Furniture placement is yet another way to help delineate areas.
Many people have multiple outdoor rooms created throughout their yards by utilizing terrain and natural elements. These “rooms” can function for different activities: socializing, dining, games, or quiet reflection, to name a few. What fun to move through the yard, from “room” to “room” and to enjoy them all at different times.
You may want to include a swing, glider or rocking chair in your outdoor room as many people find the easy motion of these pieces very relaxing. Spend a little time in one of these “action” pieces and you will feel stress and tension melt away. Be careful, however, when selecting any “action” outdoor furniture. You want to be sure that the quality of the frame and action mechanisms are sturdy and can support repeated use by people of all sizes and shapes.
Have questions on the essentials of outdoor furniture and accessories? Just ask we'd be glad to help.