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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Outdoor Rooms- The best seat in the house may not be IN the house!

Oh July, parting is such sweet sorrow, already we're saying goodbye! Dear readers, my apologies you've not heard from me in a while, it's been a crazy month! Although the summer is swiftly sailing away, I hope it's been enjoyable for you! I'm assisting some of my clients with outdoor spaces this summer, and so I thought I'd share some outdoor rooms with you! For me, little bits of downtime are enjoyed here, in my backyard, sipping coffee on a sunny Sunday morning, or unwinding with a glass of wine after dinner.

Truth be told, I had never been a fan of 'hanging in the backyard'. This changed when my husband and I decided to create an outdoor living room to be comfortable while watching our kids in the pool.
While many of us enjoy a getaway to the cottage, the decision to create a resort in the backyard is a daily pleasure that is a worthwhile investment. Whether your space is large or small, creating a lounging area beyond an umbrella table and chairs is the way to go. Here are some wonderful outdoor rooms to enjoy!

Outdoor room via Decorpad

Photo courtesy of pointclickhome.

Kriess Furniture via Design New Jersey

Outdoor room via Decorpad

Photo from Houseandhome

photo by rowhousecreative

photo from Coastal Living via Apartment Therapy

Photo from Mimi and Meg

Photo by William Waldron for Southern Accents

Photo courtesy of Southern Accents

Six Inch polyurethane outdoor furniture.

photo via RoomEnvy

photo via Country Living

photo via rowhousecreative

photo via stylebeats

photo via

Photo via Decorpad

Outdoor room from Calgary Herald

Beyond the beauty, there are definitely many practical considerations. Some essentials:

Adequate seating - there should be areas to sit and eat, and somewhere to lounge, so guests need not sit in folding lawnchairs....and for lounging, a sofa or chaise is best.

Always beautiful, the furniture of Dedon.

Outdoor furniture from Six Inch.

Outdoor Furniture from Brocade Home via Apartment Therapy

Coverage - Shelter from the elements and hot sun is imperative. Umbrellas, pergolas, vines, awnings, or an actual roof are possibilities.

Softness - cushions on hard chairs and an outdoor rug...these elements, in my opinion, make the difference: guests sit, kick off their shoes and want to stay all night! Mildew resistant fabrics are needed, such as Sunbrella. Think chair pads on the chairs around your table, as well as some larger arm chairs, ottomans, chaises, and sofas. Rugs add softness underfoot and floor cushions on the rug are another option.
Outdoor pillows from William Sonoma Home

Dining - Lots of space for putting down drinks and appetizers, as well as for dinners.

a table setting by Housewears for a local Kitchen and Garden Show

Lighting - Adequate lighting for night, and lights in the yard to add drama to landscaping, pool, or feature areas.

Water feature - a pool with a waterfall, a bubbling pond, a small water fountain, or waves of the lake add to the resort feel of a backyard.

Domino Outdoor Garden from Sara Gleeab

Fire feature - an outdoor fireplace, patio heaters, or an outdoor fire pit are wonderful for chilly nights.

Gandia Blasco Brasero Modern Outdoor Firepit by Jose A Gandia

Firepit from Cooke Furniture.

AV equipment - A flat screen tv, and a sound system with speakers around the property is ideal for entertaining.

Privacy - a fence, a private screen, a tented wall, trees and shrubs, draperies, all of these make us feel enclosed and removed from the neighbours. This is essential, as many clients of mine with new homes don't have established landscaping, and they feel uncomfortable and 'exposed'.

Room Separator by Dedon

Some other luxurious ammenities:

An Outdoor kitchen

Cheope Outdoor Kitchen via Elite Choice

A Bar
Kitchenaid's 6 cubic ft outdoor refrigerator.

A cabana keeps wet guests out of the house, and is equipped with towels and hooks for clothing.
Cabana by Ruthie Somers.

Hideaway for storage- area to house garbage, pool toys, equipment, etc.

So what do you wear to lounge in your backyard room? I love a comfortable cotton beach coverup - I add a pair of cropped yoga pants to hit the store to buy supplies for a weekend barbecue.

Echo South Beach coverup
The shoes I live in these days - some comfortable Cole Haan patent leather thongs.

Cole Haan air capri buckle thongs

Cheers to beautiful outdoor rooms! If you haven't created one already, think about it! Outdoor furniture is now on sale and there's still time to enjoy the summer in your own backyard!

Photo by Craig Lee

This week, we're hooked on outdoor rooms! Check out this Friday to find out what others are hooked on.


  1. Great post! We're debating tearing down the garage and I'm trying to convince my husband we should just turn it into an outdoor living far I'm not winning though! Maybe he needs to come read your post :)

  2. Gorgeous photos. I'm definitely going to include the post in my Sunday roundup of blog recommendations.

    Thanks for all the beautiful things you post.

  3. What a wonderful post! I love the idea of an outdoor living room as a place for the adults to hang out while watching the kids swim. I often do not like screened in porches and such as they block the light that comes into the house, but an outdoor living room by the pool - that I can handle! Who makes the furniture with the 'x' back in the first two pictures? It is beautiful.

  4. I would love an outdoor room like these but we just don't get the weather for it in the UK

  5. I am visiting via Hooked on Houses. It is such fun to see the outdoor seating.

    Have a blessed weekend!

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  7. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for the kind comments. Let your husband know that my husband often lounges outside on the sofa, watching golf...the outdoor room is perfect for this!!!

    Lesley, thanks for your kind comments and I'm honoured you consider me noteworthy for your blog!

    Things that Inspire - the x-back sofa is Restoration Hardware, and it's quite comfortable. The slips on the cushions come off and are tossed into the washer at season's end, so they are fresh for next summer!

  8. Love the post and the topic! I'm a firm believer of making the most of where you live -- indoors and out! I have posted on outdoor rooms as well here:

    Great post!

  9. Lovely. But how do all the fabrics stay clean?

  10. Wow. I like when an outdoor room has things that are unexpectedly "indoors" like paintings. Your first picture has a sofa and chandelier.

    I just put a mirror on our screened porch. Nobody believes it.

  11. what a lovely post - so thorough. is that your pool house - the first one? that is so beautiful if it is!!!!!

    thanks for your comment on the skirted roundtable too - much appreciated, to be sure.


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