How to create a stylish indoor outdoor living area

Modern deck area with canopy

There’s something very special about an indoor/outdoor space. They convey an air of exclusivity. An indoor space, whether it’s a kitchen, living room or bedroom, blending seamlessly with the outdoors can be seen as a luxury allowed only to those living in exotic locations with an exotic budget. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and creating your very own indoor/outdoor slice of heaven may be easier than you think!

We’ve included a few tips below to help you create the perfect indoor/outdoor space for your home, so you can realise your al fresco dreams:

Function & features

Before getting into the design nitty-gritty, it’s vital to ask yourself a couple of very important questions.

Where will this space be? This may seem obvious, but it’s an important decision to make. In order to make your space as fluid as possible, you should choose a room that’s adjacent to your garden or balcony. This not only gives you a bigger area with which to play, but it means that you can take advantage of the natural décor that your garden gives you.

The second question you may want to consider before you start your project in earnest is for what you want this space to be used. If it’s an extension to your kitchen, then you may want to create a seamless kitchen-diner, where a meal can be prepared inside and then enjoyed on a large dining table al fresco. Or perhaps it’s a living room, so you’ll want to ensure all the electronics reside indoors whilst the outdoors provides an area for socialising and relaxing.

Whatever the room or the purpose, answering these questions will give your project focus and make many of the other decisions you need to take easier.

open plan kitchen diner with folding doors out to the garden

Doors & windows

Doors and windows are the interface between your indoor and outdoor spaces and so are key to creating a cohesive flow for your new room. Generally, the larger the window or door the better – as reducing the amount of solid wall will remove the feeling that you have a clearly defined separation between the two areas.

If your budget allows, floor to ceiling bi-folding or accordion doors are often the best option. Opening these essentially allows you to remove one side of the room and facilitates a more natural transition between the indoor and outdoor space. Of course, sliding doors or French windows can also produce this effect but may not have quite the same wow-factor.

If your room is on the corner of your house then you may also want to consider corner windows. This creates an uninterrupted view outside, even when the doors are shut, making the internal room feel part of outside.

Modern grey sitting room

Flooring & design

To create the illusion that the outside and inside areas are one and the same, it’s important to create a cohesive design throughout both spaces. The most effective way to do this is via the flooring.

Choose a floor that can be laid throughout both the inside and outside areas, making sure that your chosen style is weather resistant. Or, if you don’t want the exact same flooring, try to find two styles that complement each other. For example, paving stones come in a variety of styles and can marry well to interior wooden floors. Likewise, decking, with the lines running away from the house, can create an illusion of continued space from interior to exterior.

This same continuity of design should also be applied to your choice of décor. Decorating both areas in the same styles, i.e. colour palettes, furniture and soft furnishings will create the impression of one unified space.

Greenery is also a useful tool when linking spaces. Similar plants can be used on both the inside and outside. During the bitter winter months, this will help create the illusion of being outside even when the doors and windows are firmly shut.

Dark brown patio seating with turquoise cushions

Usability

To ensure that your new slice of paradise is practical all year round, you may want to consider some options which overcome some of the natural challenges that the outdoors present.

Ensure that the outside area is covered, so that the space can be used come rain or shine. You can invest in a sturdy, solid roof structure or go for a simpler (and cheaper) canopy.

You may also want to think about a specially designed fire pit or similar – this could provide a focal point for the outdoor space and help keep it useable for social situations even during colder months.

In association with Quickslide