Why You Should Create an Outdoor Room: 6 Tips to Build Your Own

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Maximize every inch of your home by creating an outdoor oasis you can't wait to spend time in.

<p>Edmund Barr</p>

Edmund Barr

Outdoor rooms are the latest phenomenon in home design. Homeowners are on a mission to maximize every inch of space and are looking for ways to make their backyard as habitable as the interior. To find out about the rise in popularity of the “outdoor room," we caught up with Michelle Hendricks, category marketing manager for Deckorators, who shares must-have features of an outdoor space.

Hendricks also weighs in on trends their network of contractors are reporting, including insights on how homeowners are utilizing their spaces, factors to consider when building, and how to get the most out of your outdoor area.

Related: 8 Outdoor Furniture Trends That Will Inspire You to Use Your Patio Year-Round

What Is an Outdoor Room?

Outdoor rooms are exactly what the name suggests: Intentional spaces created outdoors for lounging, cooking, or entertaining. Like all rooms, they have a sense of enclosure, whether that’s by walls, potted plants, glass panels, or screens, and they often have some overhead protection, too.

Hendricks describes outdoor rooms as “a space that’s not quite indoors and not quite outdoors that can offer the best of both worlds.” It’s a transitional space, often created on a deck or patio, that allows you to enjoy the comfort and practicality of your home and the fresh air simultaneously.

“The amplification of this area reflects a continued desire for homeowners wanting to maximize their value of time spent at home,” Hendricks says. ”They also play to a trend we’ve seen throughout the last few years where homeowners have gone maximalist with a desire to fill the space to its full potential with integrated storage, kitchens, entertainment zones, and water features.”

Related: Conversation Coves Are the Cozy Trend Reshaping Outdoor Spaces

<p>Tria Giovan</p>

Tria Giovan

How to Build an Outdoor Room

Change how you use your backyard by creating an outdoor room. “Something to consider when laying out how this space works with your interior to exterior is how this new room flows from the inside of your home to the outside yard,” Hendricks says. “As an in-between zone, outdoor rooms call for individualized functionality and complementary features that help create harmony between the indoors and outside.” Read on to find out how to achieve this with these helpful tips.

1. Put Function First

Start by thinking about how you want your outdoor room to function. Ask yourself what you intend to use it for, who will use it, and when you will spend most of your time there. “Gone are the days of single-use spaces; making the most of an outdoor living space takes a considered approach the same way you would think about interiors,” Hendricks says. It’s all about maximizing the functionality of the space.

One way to do this is by creating zones like you would in an interior. For example, you might have a zone for lounging, a zone for cooking, and a zone for entertaining, socializing, or playing games. “This will help guide your layout and options for furniture, like outdoor rugs, sectional sofas, dining room tables, and even water features like cold plunges or hot tubs,” she adds.

Related: 32 Outdoor Kitchen Ideas Perfect for Entertaining

2. Add a Border to Define Entertaining Zones

If you plan to use your outdoor space for more than one activity (lounging and entertaining, for example) consider adding 'zones' to define each space. Think of it like an interior open concept plan that flows from kitchen to living room.

Gently guide your family and guests around the outdoor room and define the various zones using level variations and decorative features, like decking patterns and colors. If you're planning a building project, Hendricks recommends using different materials or decking patterns in each area to create a subtle border. She suggests using different deck board colors to highlight a specific area with a welcomed richness. “The contrast between color choices gives the outdoor room dimensionality and purpose,” she says.

If you're creating an outdoor room on an existing deck or patio, you can create the same effect using different outdoor rugs in each area.

<p>Courtesy of Premier Outdoor Living</p>

Courtesy of Premier Outdoor Living

3. Protect Your Space from the Elements

If you want to be able to use your outdoor room year-round, you’ll need to protect it (and yourselves) from the elements. The Premier Outdoor Living team regularly installs protective elements such as covered decks and retractable screens for all kinds of entertaining features. Not only will these items provide protection from weather, they can also prevent bugs and wildlife from joining your space, as well as provide privacy.

“As well as maximizing an outdoor room’s livability through features that suit your lifestyle, like a gourmet kitchen, entertainment center, or different conversation zones, don’t forget the practical needs like heating and cooling,” Hendricks says. Recently, the Premier Outdoor Living team added outdoor heaters around the perimeter of an outdoor building so it could be used even in the coolest of months. Depending on your climate, consider adding heaters, ceiling fans, or both.

Related: The 10 Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans of 2023

4. Streamline the Design

When creating an outdoor room, consider how the space will connect with the rest of the house. “Large accordion doors or screens on a covered deck that can disappear are a great way to make the two spaces feel like one,” Hendricks says. Pocket patio or bifold doors that stack flat against each other open the house and blur the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor space.

Another easy way to create a seamless connection between the spaces is by continuing the same floor tile indoors and outdoors. Many natural floor tiles, like stone and porcelain, are weatherproof and slip-resistant, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor living (but always check with the supplier first).

Related: 8 Small-Deck Ideas for Maximizing Your Outdoor Space

<p>Courtesy of Simcoe Decks</p>

Courtesy of Simcoe Decks

5. Create a Cohesive Design

“When bringing the vision for an outdoor room to life, always consider the style of the home and its aesthetic,” Hendricks says. “An outdoor space should feel like an extension of the home, which might mean making big design decisions to create a holistic look that feels like it’s always been there.”

You can create a cohesive feel by being intentional with your color palette, finishes, and material choices. For example, if your interior color scheme features neutrals and blues, you could continue the scheme into your outdoor room with a neutral outdoor sofa and chairs, blue cushions, and blue tableware. Likewise, if your home features chrome finishes, you might continue this outside with matching kitchen fixtures.

The same applies when putting a roof over a covered deck. “If the space is an addition, collaborate with an architect early on to understand any structural considerations and help make the space look like it was always a part of the original structure,” Hendricks says. “Holistic, intentional design helps these spaces reflect the homes they're attached to,” she concludes.

6. Add Plenty of Greenery

Accessorize your outdoor room with an abundance of plants. “When adding final touches to the space, greenery from plants either in pots or in contemporary garden beds will help connect the outdoor room to its surroundings,” Hendricks says. “This tip can also be applied to any natural materials that help connect the indoors and outdoors, such as woven rattan, natural stone, and wood tones.” These details will create a gradual transition and natural connection between the interior and exterior spaces and blur their boundaries.

Related: 10 Best Low-Maintenance Outdoor Plants for Containers in Sun or Shade

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