A Guide to Extending Your Living Space Outdoors

Here in the Richmond region, outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular. Our unique climate beckons to be used! A functional and serene outdoor space encourages and provides opportunities to enjoy spending time outside with family, the dogs or a good book. That’s a really good thing, because spending time outdoors is known to improve both mental and physical health. People who spend significant time outdoors are more likely to be happier and healthier throughout their lives.

Of course, there are other reasons to add an outdoor living space to your home. For one thing, it’s an affordable home improvement project in comparison to others. Plus, it increases resale value, provides additional living space, and endless potential for entertainment. If you’re looking to make the most of your square footage and create the space you always wanted, consider extending your living space outside. 

Outdoor Living Defined

“Outdoor living” means creating a space in your yard where elements of everyday life can happen. It is achieved by purposefully utilizing your outdoor area as a place to cook, eat, read, work, and spend time with family and friends. It can be as simple as a cozy corner with a porch swing and string lights, or more elaborate—featuring an outdoor kitchen for entertaining, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, or a pool to cool down during Richmond’s warmer months. 

While outdoor living spaces don’t increase the square footage of your home, furnishing them to feel like another room can make your home seem bigger and more inviting. This can help your home stand out and be more appealing to buyers if and when you decide to sell.

6 Tips For Designing Outdoor Living Spaces

1.  Consider the purpose your outdoor living space will serve. Will the space be used primarily for entertaining or will it be an area where you can relax? Will you use the space for grilling? As a private space to hang out with friends? Or maybe a spot for your kids to play? These are important considerations before you start planning.

2.  The first step begins with a layout or floor plan. There are online space planners available to help you determine the best configuration for your outdoor space. Think about the traffic patterns, view, conversation, and symmetry.

3.  Review your layout and make sure you’ve created “zones” for activities you’ll engage in on a regular basis. Do you host large family dinners? Do you enjoy laying in a hammock? Even small outdoor footprints are important to think through in terms of furniture and space. Did you know that you can create privacy by implementing screens that can be attached to the patio or balcony wall? This also creates visual impact and even can offer some sun shelter. 

4.  Connect outdoor decor to indoor color schemes. Pillows, textiles, and furniture material palette help you do this. Shop for rooms adjacent to your patio or porch and pull in accessories that could be used outside. 

5.  Use functional accessories. Think about lanterns, dishes, planters, and side tables that are built to withstand the elements. Look for accents in the same style and color palette as your home’s interior to create a cohesive look: outdoor pillows, cushions, rugs, towels, and umbrellas. The architecture of your home can dictate your choices, too. Additionally, using indoor/outdoor rugs and stain and sun resistant products are important to lessen any weather-related wear that will definitely occur. 

6.  Lighting is key to an outdoor living space. Creating a warm glow while maximizing floor space is important. String lights, a statement light fixture, or wall lights can make the space pop! 

Outdoor Possibilities

An outdoor kitchen and bar. Whether your space is small or large, outdoor bars and kitchens are customizable with options to install a pizza oven or secondary grill. 

Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits extend the time we spend outdoors. There are so many options to fit your design aesthetic—in-ground fire pits to fire bowls—that can serve as a statement for your personal outdoor space. 

An outdoor dining area can be set up anywhere. Think about the shape of the table, how many people you’ll be accommodating, and any accessories. If you desire something more permanent, maybe add a pergola or gazebo!

Pools are popular during hot Richmond summers. Depending where you live, they also may increase your home’s value. 

Patios and decks are versatile spaces that can be customized to fit your needs. Adding water features creates an added touch of serenity and elegance. There are many options ranging from a larger floor fountain, a koi pond, or a smaller tabletop fountain in a myriad of designs to fit any decor and budget.

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