In furnishing your outdoor room, make it an extension of your home in terms of color and style. 

An outdoor space can add livable square footage exponentially if you furnish it correctly. Whether you live on the prairie or the beach, here are three essentials for maximizing your patio or deck from the design team at Interiors Joan and Associates.

  • Fire pit. Nothing is as mesmerizing as a crackling fire under a starry sky. A build-in or freestanding fire pit is an easy addition. Make it the focal point of your outdoor living area and the ambiance is set for hours of enjoyment from early spring through late fall. 
  • Comfortable loungers. Whether you choose sling-style or traditional upholstered cushions, loungers provide a respite from the sun when positioned under umbrellas, and a perfect spot for napping, reading or sunning.
  • End tables. You’ll need a spot for your watch, phone, glasses and Mai Tai, and there really can’t be too many little scatter tables to serve this purpose. End tables are trending in indoor design, as well. We love when form and function combine!

Q. What should I look for in outdoor furniture?

A. Choose pieces that will stand up to the elements. If you live on a windy bluff, you'll want heavy pieces that won't blow away. If you have a pool, select fabrics that are both UV and chlorine resistant. For a beach setting (sea not lake), metals and woods should be appropriate for sand and salt exposure. For minimum maintenance, choose sling-style chairs and loungers, which are designed to allow water to flow through the fabric. If you don’t mind covering or moving cushions from the pouring rain, then upholstered cushion furniture might be a good choice for you.

Q. How do you tie the outdoor space with your indoor living space?

A. Start with pieces that are weather appropriate but also functional for your lifestyle and consistent with your existing design aesthetic. Think cohesiveness. If you live in a contemporary loft, a scrolling trellis wrought iron table and chair set isn’t going to be the “look” for your outdoor space. Conversely, if you live in a traditional Tudor home, furniture pieces with ultra modern lines won’t fit your aesthetic. In selecting pieces, carry your color palette from the indoors out.

Q. How do I get the look of a "room"?

A. A designer can help create a look that is less “set” and more eclectic. Outdoor rugs, lighting, art and accessories can make a space stand out. A designer can give you a curated look that is more custom not only by design, but also by function for your particular setting and lifestyle. Designers also have access to an incredible library of fabrics and frames that you won’t find at the local big-box store. Make it yours!

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