Product imageAs summer is quickly approaching, I thought you all would be interested in creating the perfect outdoor room. Today, realtors are advising homeowners that focusing on your outdoor space can bring extra value to your home. Indeed, it is expected in  higher end homes.

But don’t jump in until you consider all of the details! An outdoor room should be considered an extension of your home. Consider both the exterior architecture and interior decor as you develop a plan. It’s important to consider scale, proportion and the exterior design aesthetics of your home in this new space so there is a consistent point of view.

Think of what you want to do in this space. This will help in deciding what amenities your will need. For example, do you want a cooking area? How elaborate do you want it to be? It could be as simple as a grill or as elaborate as a kitchen complete with cook top, under counter refrigerator , ice maker and lots of storage.

In terms of the dining area, how many people would you like to seat? Do you want the dining table to be formal or casual? What does your home dictate? It would be incongruent to place a formal dining space off a log cabin home or a casual space off a formal Georgian home. What materials are you thinking about for the table top and base? Marble can be used for a more formal space or the client may want the designer to source an interesting antique table.

An outdoor fireplace is a desirable feature that extends the living space use from the spring to the fall. The fireplace can be  simple ( think fire pit) in a casual contemporary environment or more traditional ( think full-scale fireplace with a mantle and hearth). As inside the home, the fireplace becomes a focal point and should be Viewed from the dining area and the seating area. When thinking about the design of the fireplace, think about the material the fireplace will be made of. If it is a brick home, match the brick to the brick used on your home.

Are you thinking of other improvements to the landscape?  If you want to add an in ground pool, you will need a path to the outdoor space for easy access. This affects plantings and outdoor lighting.

Like any interior room, planning the space is key to a succesful design of an outdoor room.In addition to thinking about how it functions you need to be able to visualize how it looks from the interior of your home as well as from various points in your yard. A professional designer can provide you with perspectives to help in this area. This  will influence where you place permanent accoutrements such as a kitchen and fireplace.

The final step is a lighting plan. Today many manufacturers are offering chandeliers, table lamps and floor lamps that are safe to use outdoors. There are also a whole slew of gorgeous fabrics and trims to use on the upholstery pieces. Don’t settle for the ordinary!

Hope this has given you enough to think about, as with any room, it is best to contact a professional before beginning your design process.

Jo Ann Alston, NJCID, Allied ASID