The entry and exit to your home is neither the front door nor the back door. Live outside your walls and within the fresh air with outdoor spaces that echo the easy comfort of your interiors.
The Big Idea: Add a fireplace to a porch or patio to create an outdoor living room. An open fire creates a cozy space and allows you to live outside year-round. If you don't have a good spot for a built-in fireplace, try a simple freestanding fire pit to replicate the idea on a smaller scale.
Notice the Details: The fireplace shown here was put at the corner of the covered porch so it wouldn't interrupt views into the garden and backyard. Exposed corrugated metal, used on the roof, adds a modern touch and keeps the porch dry.
The Big Idea: Don't throw out that shabby garden furniture yet. Timeless outdoor styles like Adirondack chairs, Shaker-style wooden benches, and old-fashioned wicker need only a fresh coat of paint to feel new again. When choosing a color, consider a bright shade to add modern style to a classic shape.
Notice the Details: Hammocks, another classic favorite, lure you to enjoy afternoon naps. A deck or patio that runs the length of a cottage, like the one above, may seem overwhelming to decorate, so try grouping furniture in arrangements that encourage conversation.
The Big Idea: Use the wide variety of weather-resistant fabrics available today to create outdoor curtains. This cottage looks chic with simple linen curtains framing the porch. Even a tiny garden shed can benefit from a decorative flair, like curtains.
Notice the Details: Curtain rods and rings need not be made of special materials when used outside. Galvanized steel pipes from a hardware store work great and mount easily to a wall or ceiling.
The Big Idea: Furnish your porches and patios like indoor rooms -- just choose pieces made of wood or metal that can withstand the elements but still add style. Flea markets and vintage shops are great places to find accessories that are inexpensive and unexpected when used outside.
Notice the Details: An old wooden armoire stores clay pots and garden tools on this covered porch. While it's handy, it's also quite beautiful, adding a European flavor and more inviting feel to the open-air space.
The Big Idea: Create an outdoor dining room by setting up a table and chairs on a porch, terrace, or right on the lawn. Make sure your chairs are comfortable enough that guests will linger over a meal and conversation. In the evening, the soft glow of twinkling lights or candles makes the setting even more enchanting.
Notice the Details: Ordinary concrete pavers from a home-and-garden center create a fun checkerboard floor on this patio. With alternating smooth and pebbled surfaces, the result is a textural and graphic pattern that costs far less than you might think.
• Set up a sturdy dining table and chairs for fun family dinners or casual gatherings.
• Choose outdoor furniture that feels like it belongs indoors but is made of weather-resistant wicker or durable teak so it can withstand the elements.
• Add "wet-listed," or waterproof, lamps or light fixtures to give a warm glow to an outdoor space at night. If you live in a humid area, consider installing at least one ceiling fan.
• Hang curtains made from outdoor fabric on a porch for added privacy and to frame a view.
• Accessorize outdoor rooms with pillows and cushions made of weather- and water-resistant fabric.
• Place a rug under furniture, just as you would inside, but choose one that can be hosed off for cleaning.
• Fit a wood or metal daybed with a twin-size mattress on a screened porch for afternoon naps.
• Turn an old potting bench into a bar outfitted with ice, mixers, and drinks for easy entertaining.
• Incorporate a fireplace into a patio or porch for warmth and romance.
• Decorate as you would inside, using a mix of durable accessories, mirrors, and fabric to make an exterior room look complete.
From Cottage Living