Are you looking to design an outdoor living space for you and your family? Well, you aren’t alone. According to the AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey, it’s the single most popular “special function room” among homeowners in the United States. The survey found that consumer demand for outdoor living spaces increased by 38% from 2012 to 2017, attesting to its popularity. While an outdoor living space can open the doors to new activities and entertainment for you and your family, you should avoid making the following mistakes when designing it.
1) Insufficient Lighting
If you intend to use your outdoor living space in the evening or at night, you need to design it with sufficient lighting. When the sun goes down, you should be able to illuminate this spaces so that you and your family members can use it. There are countless lighting solutions available for outdoor living spaces, including string lights, solar lamps (they work at night), pendant lights, sconce and traditional overhead fixtures. To save money on power, choose a lighting solution that uses an energy-efficient bulb like compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED). CFL and LED use a fraction of the energy of conventional incandescent bulbs, making them a smart investment for your outdoor living space.
2) Incohesive Decor
It’s important that you use a cohesive decor when designing your outdoor living space. Some homeowners make the mistake of using a half-dozen colors and multiple decor styles, only to create an eclectic eclectic design that hurts their home’s curb appeal. Stick with a single color scheme and design style to create an attractive, lively environment that reflects positively upon your home’s aesthetics.
3) Installing Non-Water-Resistant Appliances
There’s nothing wrong with installing appliances in your home’s outdoor living space, but they need to be water resistant. Even if the area is covered with a roof or awning, your appliances will still be susceptible to moisture damage from humidity exposure. It may not happen immediately, but constant exposure to high humidity will eventually damage these outdoor appliances. A simple solution, however, is to choose water-resistant appliances that are specifically designed for outdoor use. Whether it’s a refrigerator, stove, grill or even a TV, it must be designed for outdoor use.
4) Overlooking a Fire Pit
What’s the most important element for an outdoor living space? According to a survey cited by Kleber and Associates, that accolade goes to a fire pit. Unfortunately, many homeowners overlook this feature when designing their outdoor living space. Instead, they use a traditional charcoal or propane grill. Just because your outdoor living space features a grill, though, there’s no rule stating that it can’t have a fire pit. In fact, adding a fire pit will create a more attractive, entertaining area. You can use it to set a relaxing ambiance for nighttime parties, ward away mosquitoes, roast marshmallows and more. The bottom line is that all outdoor living spaces should feature a fire pit.
5) Choosing Seating Based Solely on Aesthetics
When choosing seating for your outdoor living space, consider both aesthetics and function. Even if a chair or bench is attractive and flows cohesively with the rest of your space, it might be comfortable to use. And without comfortable seating, you probably won’t use your outdoor living space very often.
6) Too Big or Small
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for an outdoor living space. Rather, you should design it according to your own needs. If you plan on hosting large outdoor parties with all your friends, family and neighbors, you should design it large to accommodate these people. But if you live by yourself, you should design it small. An appropriate size will help you get the most use out of your outdoor living space while minimizing maintenance and upkeep requirements.
Your outdoor living space needs to be easily accessible. In other words, neither you nor anyone else should be forced to walk a long ways — or through difficult terrain — to reach it. This is why many homeowners create their outdoor living space on their patio or back deck. You can still create it farther away from your home, but it’s recommended that you use pavers or stones to form a walking path.
8) Overlooking the Direction of the Sun
Don’t forget to consider the direction of the sun when designing your outdoor living space. If the sun beams directly down on your outdoor living space, you may find it unbearable to use during the “dog days” of summer. Of course, there are ways to overcome this challenge. You can build a roof or install an awning, for instance, to create shade. Another idea is to install a misting system that sprays a cool water mist over your outdoor living space.
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