Outdoor living spaces are a hot trend in home decorating. When you improve your garden and patio area, you can make the most out of the warmer months while spending time with family and friends. This trend is not just for homeowners with large backyards. Even with limited space, such as a balcony or terrace, you can create the perfect place to dine, talk, and relax. Here's what you need so you can take outdoor living to the next level.
Treat an outdoor living area like you would a living room. If you want guests to feel comfortable convening outdoors, seat them on patio furniture that is similar to living room furniture. Choose outdoor sofas and patio chairs with comfortable cushions, coordinate with garden accent pieces, and tie it all together with an outdoor rug.
Use lighting to create the perfect mood. Good outdoor lighting can turn a small space into an intimate conversation area with just a wall sconce and some candles. A large deck or patio usually needs a lighting plan with a combination of sconces, deck lights, and solar-powered garden lights to make the area inviting and safe for parties. Make sure the contrast between bright areas and shadows isn't too great. Complete the lighting plan with lanterns and candle holders that double as decoration.
Dine al fresco in comfort. Leave the old picnic table for camping trips, and use stylish outdoor dining sets when entertaining at home. Whether you're seating two people or 10, bistro sets, adjustable dining tables, and cushioned chairs make the dining area inviting. If you have a large area, consider setting up several tables where people can talk in small groups.
Disguise problem spots. Don't let a less-than-perfect view keep you from enjoying your outdoor living space. The right outdoor decor can hide a less-than-perfect view. A neighbor's messy backyard can be blocked by a planter or trellis with creeping vines or by fabric shades and canopies. Direct your focal point away from problem areas by arranging your furniture around a more pleasant feature, such as a fountain or flower garden.
Design your menus around a theme. The upgrade in patio and garden design has sparked a trend in fancy outdoor parties, with upscale food and drinks to match. No longer limited to beach and BBQ themes, people are serving gourmet meals to rival the fanciest sit-down dinners. Pull out your gourmet and international cookbooks to find your inspiration. And to make the event your own, create a signature cocktail for each party.