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Expand Your Living Space

 

When we buy or build a new home, we often focus primarily on the interior. How many square feet does it have? Will there be enough room for entertaining? How much natural sunlight will come into the home? While all these things are important, the trend is now to also expand and focus our attention on our outside living space, taking full advantage of nature and the additional space our lawns and patios provide. And the options are endless.
 

Whether it’s outdoor furniture, appliances or lighting, there are an abundance of choices now readily available to allow consumers to optimize their outdoor living space while also increasing the value of their homes.
 

With busy schedules and on-the-go lifestyles, outdoor living spaces offer a chance to relax, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and connect with friends and family. With all of the latest designs and the superior quality of outdoor products, our outdoor living spaces are coming to rival the convenience, comfort and design of our homes’ interiors.

 

As the heart of the home shifts outdoors, here are some of the top trends that will dominate the outdoor living landscape this upcoming season.
 

Televisions

 

It’s not only restaurants and bars that are placing TVs outdoors for entertainment pleasure; more and more homeowners are opting for the specialized TVs made specifically for the outdoor elements. When purchasing one, make sure the TV is rated for outdoor use; these TVs have extra bright panels to resist glare and can stand the elements. TV mounts and cables also need to be rated for outdoor use with UV protection. When deciding just where to place the TV, a spot that is protected from the elements and where there is not direct sunlight is optimal—under a pergola, a gazebo or a covered deck will be your best option!
 

Outdoor Kitchens

 

It’s frequently said that people tend to gather in the kitchen. Well, what better place to gather on a beautiful day than in an outdoor kitchen! When creating a kitchen on the exterior of your home, you can make it as basic or elaborate as you like depending upon your space and budget. Typically, you will need both a cooking area and an area for prep (if it is in your budget, opt for granite for ease of cleaning and durability) as well as some storage. If you don’t want to extend a gas line from your home to your cooking area, propane tanks or charcoal are a good way to go. These very basic elements don’t require utilities, which makes them a good option for those on a lower scale budget.
 

Fireplaces

 

Who doesn’t enjoy the warmth and beauty of a fireplace? By bringing this typically indoor feature to the outdoors, we can enjoy our outdoor living space significantly longer over the course of the year. While it is not only functional, fireplaces can become the focal point of your outdoor living space; a place where family and friends gather and make memories. Some of the things to consider when implementing an outdoor fireplace to your home are how the outdoor fireplace complements your home design. What purpose will your fireplace serve—provide warmth or be an aesthetically inviting place? Whether you want the fireplace to be the focal point of your outdoor living space or simply a feature that accentuates the natural surroundings, be sure it is scaled correctly and proportional to your home and surroundings.
 

Outdoor Dining Spaces

 

No longer does outdoor dining mean paper plates and cups. Creative ideas for outdoor dining spaces, from casual to elegant, are abundant. After all, who doesn’t love dining al fresco?

 

As you take out the furniture from storage, it is likely you will notice that it has become a bit weathered over time. It’s easy to revive certain pieces of furniture with a fresh coat of paint! And don’t be afraid to be a bit creative in the colors you choose.

 

If you have a bar cart, be sure to keep that accessible near your dining table. Accessorize with colorful ice buckets and dinnerware to change things up a bit.

 

Bouquets of flowers can be beautiful to place on your outdoor dining table, but it is not always practical or affordable. Instead, go for something long lasting and use potted succulents. They are low maintenance yet will add beauty to your table for a long time to come.
 

Hot Tubs

 

Whether you want to relax and take in a beautiful view or soak some tired muscles after a workout, a hot tub can add much to your outdoor living space. The perfect spa in the perfect setting will create an ideal sanctuary.

 

The key to creating this perfect backyard escape is to optimize your space. You will want to install your hot tub for maximum accessibility, the best views and for optimal usability.

 

Depending upon the layout of your outdoor living space, you can either incorporate the hot tub into a deck or simply have it on a concrete patio. Be sure to take into consideration just how the structure, design and accessibility will enhance the aesthetics and utility of the hot tub, home and yard. Experts state that sunken decks, if not structured correctly, can create additional stress you don’t want. When installing a hot tub in your deck, ensure the structure is stable to support the weight of a completely filled hot tub safely without shifting.

 

Lastly, perhaps you want to protect it from some of the elements during the colder months. Designing a pergola over it will help add to the cozy feeling and will also be functional as well.
 

Outdoor Bar

 

Who doesn’t love a cold beverage while enjoying a sunny day? Outdoor bars, like outdoor kitchens, don’t have to be extravagant. You can choose from a permanent structure or a simple pop-up, depending upon your needs and budget. If you have French or sliding glass doors, you can place a bar in a corner of the patio and access it from the inside through your French doors, making it a convenient extension of your living space when the weather is good!

If you don’t have a lot of money to invest or have a small yard, portable bars and bar stools are a great option! (Plus, you can take the party with you wherever you decide to go!)

Comfort is Key

Adding plush cushions and throws to furniture under cozy pergolas will go far to making your outdoor space evoke a feeling of serenity and peace.

Be careful not to overdo it, though, as the “minimalist” look is becoming increasingly popular. In outdoor spaces, this trend is manifesting in sleek lines, simple styles and a preference for long-lasting products.
 

Lighting

 

The right lighting can help make your outdoor space inviting, even on a gloomy day. Depending upon your budget, you can utilize anything from torches to fireplaces to integrated fixtures. Do you want to highlight a specific area? Using spotlights can help you do so. And it’s not just about fixtures. You can also incorporate lighting into a bar top, railing or stairs. Decide what outdoor elements you want to highlight and go from there. And don’t forget to utilize hurricane lanterns, a popular go-to item for outdoor living. They can be easily moved from tabletop to patio to your outside bar. To add some creativity, stagger ones of various heights or colors.

Remember no matter how large or small of an area, there are many things you can do to expand your living space and optimize the beauty of the outdoors. Ideas are abundant and the opportunities to be creative are endless.
 

And when it’s all done raise a glass, pull up a chair and relax!

 

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