Best Outdoor Living Room Ideas for Homeowner Renovators
Having stayed at home for many months, homeowners have suddenly discovered a new pastime and for some, a new passion: home improvements. Unlike any other pastime or project, though, this one has some strong staying power, according to several reports.
With limited travel options and restrictions, as well as fewer outdoor activities and social engagement options, many are finding ways to spruce up every inch of their homes all the way to their outdoor spaces.
In the luxury sector, for instance, homeowners are adding areas to their homes that they can no longer visit with confidence, including gyms, saunas or public swimming pools. As a result, more people are choosing to either remodel their outdoor space or add outdoor elements such as decks and pergolas to their backyards.
Jesse Harrison of Harrison Design, an architectural and interior design firm based in Los Angeles, was even quoted as saying in a Wall Street Journal feature, “For homeowners and clients with two working adults and children trying to do schoolwork,” you need three or four distinct spaces.” For homeowners trying to make room, the front yard or backyard — is certainly getting more than a cursory look.
It helps that confidence is back in the home market. It was not the case last May when the NAHB-Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which depicts builder confidence in the construction of single-family houses, was only 37 points. In September, it climbed up by 48 points, reaching 83 points (the barometer is 50 points).
Todd Teta of ATTOM, a leading provider of nationwide property data in the US, said: “Homeowners saw their equity rise far and wide throughout the United States during the second quarter of this year in yet another sign of the housing market punching back against the Coronavirus pandemic.
More property owners rose into equity-rich territory and escaped the seriously underwater lane, putting more money into the average household.”
The housing market is clearly showing signs of stabilizing and for those seeking to unleash their creativity, they find that it’s well worth the effort to renovate their space. Renovating their homes keeps them busy — and at home, where they feel safer.
For Trexpert Kate Campbell, outdoor spaces are comfort zones: “When it comes to home design and outdoor spaces, comfort zones are exactly where we need to be.”
Campbell recalls the time when decks were utilitarian, even boring, but advances in outdoor living have changed all that perception. “Your deck should feel like an extension of your indoor living space and what better way to do that than creating a zone that feels completely geared toward your personal style and comfort.”
Outdoor living rooms with roofs can provide that comfort vibe. You can unwind on dry, clean and comfortable outdoor furniture that doesn’t get rained out or snowed in.
An expert should be able to map out the construction of your outdoor living room, but before he or she does that, you must have a building permit and should have already chosen the types of wood and roof that suit your personal style. Ceiling applications can be done in a variety of materials including hardwood and composite decking.
Whether the joists of your porch ceiling are exposed or if you already have a covering, a layer of plywood must be installed first. Then, the boards are nailed to the plywood and then installed using the tongue and groove method.
Learning to ask the right questions is essential? Hardwood comes in a variety of lengths and dimensions, and can be milled to fit specifications. On the other hand, composite decking boards come in standard lengths. Most composite decking companies sell 12 foot boards or 16 foot boards.
The length of the space should be considered when picking the right type of material. The most commonly used board sizes are 1×6 or 5/4 x6 boards since the broader boards give the ceiling a more ample appearance.
Another aspect of planning your outdoor living or dining room should be the flooring. The right type of material can give the area a comfort vibe. Some options include concrete pavers, stones, tiles, bricks, composite decking, wood tiles or deck tiles, or hardwood decking boards. Wood options for flooring are great for covered areas because of their easy maintenance since they are out of direct sunlight.
Choosing the right type of hardwood for your outdoor space is important and your contractor or designer should be able to help you. Hardwood deck tiles or boards made of Ipe wood or Cumaru wood are becoming increasingly popular. These hardwoods are heat- and scratch-resistant, mildew and insect resistant, and very elegant, making them ideal for any exterior project.
Here are some of the best outdoor living ideas to inspire you as you renovate your spaces:
Playing with ceiling shapes provides an open-style approach
A-LINE OR CURVED DESIGN.
Ceilings need not be flat and boring. A curved or A-line design gives a space an architectural element of interest while also adding spaciousness to a room. In exterior overhangs, this element of interest can be done by cladding the ceiling with hardwood. Playing with the length and layout of the wood boards can create such an effect. An added bonus of a wood clad ceiling is that it adds weather resistance as well as improving the appearance of the home. Ceiling design can maximize the potential of your outdoor space.
Vintage look works with modern furniture
AGED YET APPEALING. If left unoiled, hardwoods such as Ipe, Cumaru, and Garapa will turn a silver patina, which could work if you’re trying to capture a vintage or coastal shabby chic look. It is important to find the right decking material that can resist the weather and suit your aesthetic preference. To see if a sliver colored deck is right for you, go to your nearest park with hardwood benches or your local beach and walk on those aged or silvery boardwalks to find out if going vintage is appealing as aged wine. An added bonus? A weathered hardwood deck needs no yearly maintenance such as sanding or oiling, saving you time and money.
White outdoor room works against a backdrop of the ocean
CLEAN, WHITE AND CONTEMPORARY. Keeping the color palette in the neutrals such as white and beige is ideal for contemporary outdoor spaces, especially with an ocean view as a backdrop. Several materials can be used to create such a look, including hardwood floors. Hardwood floors made of Ipe or Cumaru are great because in their original color they provide a warm earth tone and left unoiled, they turn a gray color, which combines well with white furniture. White furniture can also make a semi-outdoor room look clean, classy and effortless. Nothing is as pure as white against the backdrop of an ocean with your yacht docked alongside it.
Have the best of both worlds — indoors and outdoors
INDOORS AND OUTDOORS. To create harmonious fluidity between indoor and outdoor spaces, you can incorporate elements of Mid-Century Modern design. Use the same hardwood cladding for both the interior ceilings and exterior overhangs to create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor space. This effect can also be created by using the same hardwood flooring for the decking. This is especially true when the two spaces are separated by large sliding glass windows which provide lots of natural light.
Mix and match light and dark, even the wood stains
MIX AND MATCH. When deciding on a color scheme or look for your exterior space, don’t be afraid to mix and match colors. You can go LIGHT for a more neutral feel, or DARK for a more cozy feel. Or both. Mix wood stains from your railings to your deck all the way to the color schemes of your outdoor furniture. Not sure what shade variations to choose? Consult a designer or start by incorporating less permanent elements into your design. A colorful rug, light colored throw pillows, industrial string lights or antique-looking lanterns are all ways you can upgrade from a minimalistic style.
Ipe Oil can make your deck glisten
Photo by Sergio Braga. Follow him on Instagram at myrusticdesigns
SILK AND SHINY. Going for a shiny look is also one approach you can take. Here, Sergio Braga of My Rustic Design showcases a pool with a glistening ipe deck. It’s Instagram-ready. By the way, using Ipe Oil protects and conditions the wood while maintaining a completely natural appearance.
Trellis or Pergola for an urban or industrial vibe on your roof
TRELLIS OR PERGOLA? Many landscape architects may use the term trellis as catch-all for pergola structures, which consist of at least four columns that support a latticework made up of beams, stringers or rafters. They’re usually freestanding or attached to a house. Tell your architect what you envision for your outdoor space. A pergola may have an urban or industrial vibe built alongside a commercial structure.
What hardwood to choose from
There are many selections of exotic hardwoods, North American woods and composite decking.
Exotic hardwoods such Ipe, Cumaru and Garapa are the best for your outdoor or semi-outdoor living space because they last longer and require less maintenance than North American woods. They are ideal for exterior uses as they are mildew and decay resistant. Ipe is even scratch-resistant, which makes it ideal for outdoors where it is exposed. Based on their hardness and resistance to damage, exotic hardwoods are more desirable than the most common North American hardwoods such as oak.
For those looking for other types of decking options, Trex offers many durable composite decking products that are easy to install. They can be installed over timber, steel or aluminum substructures with joist centers at maximum of 400mm apart.