There are many reasons why outdoor living spaces are one of the top home improvement investments, but yours are unique.
Outdoor rooms have numberless lifestyle and entertainment benefits, but to discover and achieve the ones that are right for you it’s paramount to start the planning and design process right.
You will thank yourself a thousand times over for working to get that clarity. You will be happier with the result and greatly minimize unnecessary and costly mistakes.
Here’s a three-step process that is so easy even a caveman could understand it.
#1. The Outdoor Room Style Problem
Designing the inside of your home is easy because it happens in private. Nobody is watching as you experiment and make potentially embarrassing mistakes.
Outdoor rooms are different, out there for everyone to see.
This raises the stakes for getting it right and that tends to push people off balance. Depending on your personality this could mean going big to add a swimming pool or pizza oven that may be seldom used.
Ouch, that can hurt. Worse yet, it may take all the joy out of what is often the most popular place in the home.
A cautious person will have the opposite problem. He or she may get stuck in the planning process and never have the confidence for getting their project off the ground.
In addition to all of this, most of us are on a budget and need to make smart choices. You have to find a way to know what to leave in and what to leave out.
It turns out there is a way that solve both the design and planning and budgeting problems.
#2. A Theme Sets Style Boundaries
When you choose a theme for your outdoor room it sets up boundaries. Those boundaries are like guardrails that prevent your project and its budget from running off those rails.
Everything gets easier. For example, picture a tropical theme. Does the first image to come to mind include bright vibrant colors? Just like that, that visual gives you a solid take on your color palette.
Here are some theme ideas that may help you find yours.
- Places – beach house, hunting lodge, private retreat, an Irish pub
- Activities – recreation, gaming, group entertainment
- Raving Fans – Game of Thrones, college sports, golf club, winery
Any of the potential themes can and should be further refined to suit your style.
Let’s take the beach house and make it a Cape Cod-style beach house. Maybe you enjoyed a special weekend, possibly a honeymoon or wedding anniversary there and have vivid memories of that environment.
Your theme gives your space purpose. A Cape Cod beach house will be charming. The materials will most likely include cedar siding and wood plank decking.
You should be thinking in terms of abundant screening to let in the soft ocean breezes, figuratively speaking. What else? A hammock for sure.
While outdoor televisions are increasingly popular, it seems like that would spoil the Cape Cod beach house mood or feeling.
Do you see where this is going? Your materials, features, and furniture choices are effortless because they are aligned with the theme.
#3. Themes Have Specific Characteristics
Every theme is defined by its key characteristics. It tells people what belongs and what doesn’t.
Hollywood films have themes that are largely established by respecting time and place. For example, if there are automobiles in the film they must be the right make and model for the time and region of the country.
Every film has its “mistakes” that don’t quite fit but seldom get noticed. In other words, they rarely spoil the film. You can take that to heart with your outdoor room.
If you must have a television in your Cape Cod beach house then make that exception knowingly. Find ways to make it work by determining how to uniquely interpret the theme for your outdoor living space.
Consider the overall picture, with the theme being its foundation.
#4. Commit Your Style to Writing
This may seem silly, but your theme is a meaningless generality if you don’t capture its intended meaning.
You may be hundreds of miles from the nearest beach, but it’s the feeling that you want to capture.
If you like the idea of a golf club theme, you’ll have to decide if that interpretation is closer to Caddyshack, the film, or The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
One is fun and the other is for golf purists who respect and honor the origins of the game.
That distinction should be captured in writing so that your outdoor room stays true to it as it evolves.
If your outdoor living space has a winery theme, your distinction might be something like this:
The experience of enjoying great food and wines with family and friends and makes memories that last forever.
That’s a bit lengthy but you get the idea.