Being able to seamlessly merge your indoor and outdoor living spaces is a widely popular trend that offers some huge benefits. Establishing easy flow between the two means that you can virtually double the floor space of your home simply by opening a sliding door or two. In doing so, you’ll be able to host more guests, enjoy the luxury of more living space, and reap the psychological benefits of being more connected with the great outdoors. Below we’ll take a look at how you can create the perfect indoor/outdoor style for your home so you too can enjoy these benefits.
Having your indoor and outdoor areas next to one another is the first and simplest step towards blurring the lines between your interior and exterior home. Having your patio detached from your home is fine, but the effect it creates is one of moving between two very distinct areas. So the illusion of flow becomes challenged. Try, if possible, to keep your indoor and outdoor spaces joined along their length as this provides wider access between the two.
Having large, sliding or concertina doors separating your indoor and outdoor areas makes it easy to remove the division between the two. Glass doors are preferable as this creates visual flow even when the doors are shut. The larger the opening between the two spaces, the better for indoor/outdoor design. This will allow you to increase the size of your entertainment area just by opening a few doors.
If the idea is to create as little division between the two spaces as possible, avoid a change in floor level between inside and out. Having steps creates not only a visual break, but a physical one that slows movement. Visually, a change in floor material will also indicate an abrupt break in the transition. Instead, go for a material that can be used for both spaces. Depending on the style of your home, Natural Stone by Unilock may be a wonderful choice for creating warm, indoor/outdoor flooring.
Just as continuity for your floor is important, extending your ceiling without interruption is also a good way of ensuring flow between your indoor and outdoor spaces. Extending your roof to cover your patio and outdoor entertainment areas will also provide protection against the elements and allow you to keep the connecting doors open even in bad weather. Keeping some outdoor space open is always a good idea, so you needn’t cover your entire patio for this strategy to be successful, but consider a roof at least over the transition space.
Lighting has a similar function in distinguishing or blending two different areas. In order for the areas to be visually registered in the same way, similar types and intensities of light should be used for both, at least in the transition space. Downlighting—fixtures mounted on the ceiling—are an effective way of doing this, as is soft, ambient light. Consider using light dimmers and keeping both areas set to the same brightness level.
One of the best contributors to the free flow between spaces is a view that draws the eye outward into the outdoor spaces. Whether that’s a view of an immaculate backyard or a sweeping vista, view matters. When adding a patio, make sure that it looks out towards the best features of your surrounds and importantly, don’t obstruct the view with unnecessary support pillars, tall trees or large fireplaces. Keep the view open to ensure that it effortlessly draws the eye from inside your home out in order to increase flow.
Another great way to blur the distinction between inside and out is with the addition of functional rooms traditionally reserved for indoors. Outdoor kitchens are great for bringing the cooking and the subsequent socializing outdoors. The aroma and sizzle of steaks on a grill is also great for creating a social atmosphere. An outdoor kitchen design will greatly benefit from increased access between your indoor and outdoor areas, resulting in an entertainment space that is guest and entertainer friendly.
Using indoor style furniture outdoors—sofas, comfortable chairs, throw cushions etc. – blends the two areas together in terms of decor. Bold and rustic wooden pieces used indoors will further enhance the crossover effect. Essentially, to enhance the effect that your indoor/outdoor spaces are one and the same, there should be no difference between them in terms style themes or decorative features.