How to Create a Comfortable Outdoor Living Space

Want to add square footage to your home without obtaining a building permit? You’ll feel like you’ve created an addition when you design a comfortable outdoor living space on your deck, patio or porch. New materials – such as woven wicker and cast aluminum – have lead to pieces that mimic your indoor style with the added benefit of allowing you to enjoy the nature just outside your door.

From sofas to sectionals, chaise lounges and cocktail tables, it’s easy to create an outside area that feels like a natural extension of your home – perfect for entertaining or just relaxing after a long day. Take a look at what we recommend:Brookstone Cushions


1. Go for the cushions. Furnishing with cushions is the foundation of building a room that feels like an indoor space. From chairs to sofas and sectionals, cushioned furniture is designed to be fade-, stain- and mildew-resistant, and you can leave these pieces outside. Group seating pieces together just like you would in your indoor living space.

Orange Sofa2. Play with the color palette. Use the tones you have inside to create a natural flow onto your deck or patio. Or go for a bold color that gives the feel of a tropical oasis. Keep in mind that earth tones might blend in a little too well with the outdoors, shrinking the look of your furnishings, and dark colors will hold the heat of the sunlight. Consider using bold, brightly colored accessories for a feeling of fun and whimsy.

Patio Floor3. Think about the “floor.” Consider using an outdoor rug. Made from a polypropylene material, it is made to stand up to the elements. And just like a rug serves in your indoor rooms, it will give the area a pulled-together feel.

Greenery4. Take advantage of greenery. Bring your landscaping onto your patio or deck by using hanging baskets, pots and planters. Choose flowers and plants that mimic those in your lawn; the cohesive materials will make your yard feel like an extension of the space.

Outdoor Walls 5. Give the illusion of walls. Create the feeling of a room by installing a pergola, lattice wall or awning. In addition to providing shade and privacy, you can use it to support climbing vines. An umbrella over a dining set will also give the feeling of enclosure.

Lighting

6. Consider the lighting. Strings of white or colored lights aren’t just for the holidays; they can create a starry effect when used outdoors during a summer night. Also consider landscape and deck lighting or torches that will softly light up the area and enhance the atmosphere. Lighting that points upward accents the architecture of the structure, while a light pointed downward creates a cozy glow.

Firepit7. Include the ambiance of a fire. Consider using a firepit. A popular outdoor accessory, you can find freestanding firepits or firepits that are incorporated in table groupings. An evening fire will instantly transform the space into an inviting gathering area as well as warm up the cool nights of Michigan summer.

Accessories8. Accessorize. Decorative items bring an indoor room to life and the serve the same purpose outside, as well. Play with decorative throw pillows, bowls and candles.

 

Speaker9. Crank up the music. Outdoor speakers bring the party outside. Relax in style with your favorite tunes. You can install outdoor speakers or use a portable speakers like our fun Cube Speakers.

Fountain

10. Add water. Complement the design and feel of your outdoor space with the calming trickle of a fountain. Its sound is soothing and will add another sense to your outdoor space. You could also choose a birdbath that will attract feathered friends.

Shopping for an Outdoor Rug

One of the best ways to turn your patio or deck into an inviting and cozy outdoor room is to add a rug. Whether it’s used inside or out, a rug brings color, texture and a sense of cohesion to a group of furnishings. When used outdoors, it also helps to protect the deck wood or patio pavers.

If you haven’t shopped for an outdoor rug recently, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by new designs and materials. In fact, today’s options are as colorful and stylish as the rugs you use inside. So how do you choose the right one? Outdoor Rug 1

Size and Shape

Outdoor rugs come in a variety of dimensions. To find the right size, consider the area you want to cover to determine the right size. Measure your patio, deck or porch and pay attention to any architectural details, like pillars or stairs. If you are adding a rug to a dining group, make sure it’s large enough to accommodate the chairs. The rule of thumb is that a rug should be at least two feet wider than all sides of the table. When using a rug with a seating group, make sure it’s large enough to allow at least the front legs of the furniture pieces to be placed on the rug.

Choose the shape by looking at how your furniture is grouped. A round patio table, for example, looks best over a round rug, while seating groups are best defined by a square or rectangular rug that mimics the layout.

Outdoor Rug 2

Material

Outdoor rugs need to hold up to a variety of weather conditions, and natural and synthetic materials are available that withstand the elements. Natural fibers, such as sisal, jute and seagrass, provide a bit of texture. They can mildew when exposed to too much moisture, so they do require extra care. Natural might be a good choice if your outdoor area is covered or if you are willing to bring the rug inside during the off-season or periodically hang it to dry. Synthetic fibers, such as polypropylene or acrylic, come in a wider range of colors than natural rugs and are extremely durable. They have the added benefit of drying quickly and are often less expensive.

Outdoor Rug 3

Color and Pattern

Outdoor rugs come in practically every color under the sun, and patterns are available that will enhance your style. When choosing a color, look to the surrounding area for inspiration. Choose a palette from your landscape, or pick shades that evoke the feeling you want to create. For example, bright yellow or orange will create a vibrant setting, while natural colors are more subdued and allow your furnishings to take center stage.

Create a unified feeling by choosing patterns that are similar to your indoor décor. For example, if your indoor style is traditional, you might go with floral patterns. Contemporary homes will look great with geometric or abstract patterns.

When you’re ready to add a rug to your patio or deck, check out all of the options available from Art Van Furniture by clicking here.

Caring For Your Deck

Lovin Woven

Summer is in full swing, and your deck is probably getting a workout. Keep the good times rolling with some maintenance. Here are three things to do this month to keep your deck in great shape:

1. Check the structure. Inspect your deck for cracks or rot, paying extra attention to areas that are close to the ground or sources of water, such as downspouts and planters.

2. If you see areas that look wet check for rot with a flat-end screwdriver. If you can push it into the wood a quarter inch or more, you probably have rot. Small areas can be removed with a chisel and treated with a wood filler and preservative. Larger areas may need to be replaced.

3. Check the railings. If any area feels loose, tighten the connections. You may need to use wider bolts if the wood has weakened and the current hardware isn’t catching into the grain.

 

Caring For a Fountain

leaffountainThere’s nothing as soothing as a backyard fountain. Not only is it beautiful to watch; the trickling sound creates a relaxing environment. Since it’s outside, this beloved accessory can also get its share of dirt and debris. Maintain its beauty by taking a few easy steps:

  1. Use a small net to remove debris, such as leaves or insects. This will help prevent clogging the pump. You can also attach a nylon stocking to the hose, to make sure debris doesn’t get inside the inner workings.
  2. Monitor the water level. On hot days, your fountain can experience evaporation. Since the pump can overheat if the water level is too low, make sure it’s full.
  3. Once a month, unplug the pump and drain the water. Remove buildup with a solution of vinegar and water and a stiff bristled scrub brush. Wipe clean and refill. Using distilled water in your fountain can help reduce mineral buildup.

 

Look Alike Market Umbrella

Look Alike Striped Umbrella

Either of these nine-foot striped market umbrellas will liven up your patio and protect you from the elements, but only one will save you some money in the process. Both have an easy crank handle and tilt mechanism, and both feature a double wind vent for stability.

One of these market umbrellas is from Ethan Allen and costs $719, and the other is a market umbrella from Art’s Backyard … and it costs just $219. Can you tell which one costs $500 less?

Don’t get burned. Click here to grab the better deal. We’ve got the look (for a lot less!)