With the weather in many parts of our readership area becoming more temperate – however briefly, we wanted to address the backyard entertaining space trend and get tips from our experts on how to create our own. These days, more and more families are creating a seamless transition from their indoor living space to their outdoor space. Area rugs, couches, side tables, throw pillows and blankets make the great outdoors even greater. But, fabrics and creature comfort aside, you’ll also find dramatic and accent lighting, backyard Wi-Fi and TV installations.
We spoke to our friends at Frontgate and our own contributor and design expert, Max Jones, to talk trends and best practices. After all, if you are going to create a backyard entertaining space, you want it to last!
Max Jones advises, “From a design perspective, the outdoor space should truly feel like an extension of your interior spaces. My rule of thumb is to use the interior space that most closely connects to your outdoor area for your inspiration jumping-off point. If your outdoor living is visible from the adjacent interior room, the spaces should have cohesion and flow from inside to outside. For instance, at least one color from the interior design should also make its way to your outdoor room. Materials and textiles should feel connected.”
Since you’ll be clocking lots of hours in your backyard entertaining space, it’s only right you make it just as comfortable as your indoor living room. The Frontgate team says, “Whether you’re working with a wide-open space or a small, contained yard, it’s important to replicate the feeling of an indoor space by clearly outlining your ‘room.’ This will make it easier to arrange your furniture and keep an intimate feel for gatherings. If you ask us, an outdoor rug is the quickest way to define your space. Then choose your outdoor furniture. Make a list of features you’re looking for and then check out outdoor furniture collections to see which one is right for you.”
Once your furniture is selected, make it your own by mimicking the coziness of the indoors with outdoor pillows and blankets. You might also use a layer of texture to add pops of color. The variety of outdoor textiles available today is amazing. We’ve come a long way from the traditional patio furniture of the past.
Now you’re ready for the finishing touches, like outdoor lighting, tables and decorative accessories. For a low-key and intimate vibe, add string lights and torches. If you entertain often, take it up a notch with lanterns and a fire table.”
Max Jones of Jones Walker Home also recommends outdoor drapes. “Outdoor drapes are also a great way to delineate your outdoor living space. Modern advances in outdoor textiles now allow you to add fabrics that really look more like interior fabric. Drape panels offer a bit of privacy and can block the wind. The flexibility of opening and closing the curtain panels will allow you to control your level of exposure, such as blocking some of the cooler winds and incorporating a fire pit for warmth. They will truly extend your outdoor season into the spring and fall months!”
A covered space will certainly help protect your furniture and textiles from the unwavering
elements, but it’s not necessarily needed. That’s where umbrellas become the perfect solution! Whether you need one to shade a dining table or to tuck between two pool chaises, an umbrella provides the perfect respite from the heat and UV rays.
If your space is indeed entirely outdoors, though, Frontgate recommends the use of high-quality outdoor furniture covers when furniture is not in use – to help protect against exposure to the elements. And in the “off season” store your furniture.
As stated above, you’ll want to look into outdoor covers to protect your investment. Not only are they effective in “winterizing” your patio, but covers are convenient to use throughout the year during storms or while on vacation. They protect from the elements, as well as keep off dust, dirt, leaves, animals, and other debris.
If you’re looking for longevity, you’ll love want to choose fabrics that are fade- and weather-resistant, so they’ll hold up over time. Frontgate’s Sunbrella Rain cushions are 100% waterproof. Not only does this new fabric resist fading, mold and mildew, the rain simply beads up and rolls right off.
If you are fortunate enough to live in a climate where you can spend a good deal of time outdoors, an outdoor living space can add immeasurably to the pleasure you find in your home. As Max Jones says, “Make your outdoor living area as cozy and comfy as the inside and you will truly feel like you have increased the size of your home!”
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