There’s nothing better than sitting outside with friends and family after a long day, having a meal or sipping a glass of wine. Now we are seeing homeowners come in looking not just for an outside dining set, but furniture for an entire outdoor living space. Gone are the days of crowding around an uncomfortable picnic table. Instead, people are creating outdoor living rooms that are arguably as comfortable and attractive as their indoor counterparts.
Creating an outdoor living room is an investment in your home and should be done with careful planning and research. At Island Lifestyles, we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners create their own patio oasis with our wide range of furniture styles. Here are a few tips we’ve offered over the years to get you started:
1. What is your outdoor living room for?
Much like designing the main living space in your home, you will need to think about how your dream outdoor living room will fit into your lifestyle. Are you looking for a quiet spot to host a few friends, or ample seating area around a fire pit where you can hold your weekly family gatherings? Think about how many people you will regularly host, its location in relation to your house and the outdoor cooking area. Consider other outdoor features, like your hot tub, swimming pool or gardens. Writing down how you hope to use your outdoor living room can help guide the design process.
2. Create a focal point
Backyard fire pits and similar fire accessories have become increasingly popular in recent years. People usually want to be around the fire, so making this the focal point is always a natural fit, whether it’s at the center of the seating arrangement or at one end of the living room setting. Even outdoor living rooms without a fire pit can have a central focal point as simple as a set of lanterns on a center coffee table, or arrangements of different levels of potted plants to create intimacy.
3. Build the walls
Every room has its boundaries, even outdoor spaces. Think about how big you want the area to be to accommodate your needs, then look for locations in your yard that will allow for that space. Once you find a spot, look to see if there are natural walls already in place, like the side of your house or garage, a row of hedges or a fence. Starting from there, create the other walls using furniture or other outdoor structures and landscaping. The illusion of the wall can often be created simply by adding items of varying levels to the corners, such as an arrangement of potted and hanging plants.
4. Add the furniture
This is where the fun begins! Homeowners today have many different styles, fabrics and materials to choose from when selecting a patio seating set. A traditional set includes a sofa, coffee table and two chairs, but there are far more combinations available, depending on your needs.
Before shopping for a set, consider where the furniture will be located. Is it sheltered? Under a canopy of trees? In full sun by the pool? Different materials and fabrics provide different levels of durability. Choosing the right one for your needs will ensure you get the longest life possible out of your investment. For instance, our Teak Comfort Seating is designed for outside use for many years while still retaining its structure and beauty. Our Resin Wicker Comfort Seating provides the look of rattan with more durability and our Aluminum Comfort Seating has the strength to withstand full sun and rain for many summer seasons.
6. Top it off with a ceiling
Whether you’d want shade or a few elegant strands of bistro lights, the area above your outdoor living room can elevate the mood of any gathering. Work first with natural features, like a pergola or tree branches. Next, consider adding an umbrella or other shading features to protect from the sun. Finally, decide on the right lights, whether it’s paper lanterns or a string of colorful Christmas lights.
5. Think about the environment
Enjoying the outdoors also means having as little impact on the outdoors as possible. Consider landscaping the area around your outdoor living room with native plants and grasses to reduce the time and money spent watering. Think about the materials of your furniture as well. Island Lifestyles has a line of furniture made with a poly lumber created from recycled milk jugs that rivals the look and durability of natural wood. Eco Furniture is a stylish and high-quality product that’s made in America in a variety of styles and colors.
6. Add the finishing touches
Adding plants and accessories to your outdoor living room help define the boundaries and the look of your space. Consider adding hanging plants, outdoor rugs, candles, even art.