Spring is in full swing, and the media is full of outdoor design ideas to help you get ready for summer. But in hot climates like Texas, we’re outdoors in Spring and Fall, when the weather is cooler and the air less humid. This year, outdoor spaces for dining and entertaining are more important than ever, while the latest outdoor design trends take their cues from interior design. Here are my top three trends to watch in 2019:
1. Blurring the Lines Between Indoors and Out
Creating houses that feel open, and flow easily from house to patio, is a trend that continues to grow in 2019. Spending time indoors in inclement weather isn’t so bad when your home is open to expansive views and light. Covered areas for outdoor entertaining are becoming standard in new homes, and outdoor renovations often include a pergola or pavilion to protect equipment and furniture from the elements.
Large windows that let in lots of light, and muted colors that don’t compete with the view, help to create light and airy interiors. Doors that open to a porch or deck creates a natural flow between inside and out. In this serene dining room, bleached wood tones and a chandelier of agate slices are subtle references to nature:
I love to add natural elements to an interior design scheme to create that indoor-outdoor feeling. In this dining room, the abstract art piece evokes the earth and sea, and the landscape print on the chair complements the theme. The massive live-edge dining table, with its turquoise inlay, centers the room with references to the forest and earth:
Earthy materials, like stone, help create a coherent design scheme that ties together indoor and outdoor spaces. Window walls that open wide make two spaces feel like one. In this contemporary home, a pale limestone feature wall adds natural warmth and texture. Light-colored stone is also used on the floor, the home’s exterior and the pool surround to unite the living room with the outdoors. Here, a massive seascape painting was chosen as a colorful reminder of the beach:
2. Small Homes That Maximize Outdoor Design
Our freelancing millennials and downsizing baby boomers are buying smaller homes, but they want more outdoor space for entertaining. According to a 2016 study by the National Association of Home Builders, the median desirable home size is just 2,020 square feet, with retirees wanting 1,900 square feet or less. The millennial generation loves togetherness and casual entertaining, so they want a deck, a patio, and a front porch. Outdoor living is a trend that’s here to stay. As they reduce house size, people are embracing patios, decks, and porches as extensions of the home.
In this Dallas area home, a window wall slides open to a covered patio with a fireplace, plenty of seating and even a television, essentially doubling the living area for much of the year:
Which brings me to our third trend, outdoor areas that are fully equipped.
3. Outdoor Living Rooms and Kitchens
According to the American Home Furnishings Association, 68% of people use their outdoor space several times a week, weather permitting. Fire pits and built-in fireplaces extend the outdoor season well into the fall and winter.
Photo courtesy of Outdura Fabrics
Cozy, comfortable seating offers protection from chilly air, and lets us lounge outside for hours. Outdoor kitchens make it easy to cook complete meals, so the family chef is still in the middle of the party. Add a TV, and there’s plenty of room to watch the big game.
Having a fully functioning outdoor living area has become a standard luxury for high-end, newer homes. Home renovations are extending to the yard as well. Handcrafted pergolas provide shelter for an outdoor kitchen and dining room; decks with open and shaded areas are perfect for sunbathing or working outside on a laptop. We love the trend of building a backyard studio, which can be used as a guest room, home office, party area, man-cave, or she-shed!
Photo Courtesy of Studio Shed
In recent years interior designers have become an integral part of outdoor design and decorating since our clients want the same gorgeous decor and level of quality every place they spend time. Upholstered seating, pillows and even draperies of durable outdoor fabrics create outdoor living rooms as comfortable as indoors. It’s easier than ever to source lighting, rugs, and electronics designed specifically for outdoor use.
An interior designer can help you create a home that’s the ultimate in indoor-outdoor living. I like to continue flooring like marble, travertine or ceramic tile from inside to outside, to visually tie all of the spaces together. Color schemes chosen for interior rooms are easily translated to outdoor designs. Furniture designed for outdoor use is available in high-end styles that blur the lines between inside and out. A qualified designer can help you source the right products for your outdoor living space, so everything will function perfectly and last for years. With the right plan, your outdoor rooms will be the perfect place for your family to make memories.
Photo courtesy of Fireplace & Outdoor Living