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Create your favorite outdoor living space

Where do you like to spend time relaxing, socializing and rejuvenating from the stresses of your daily life?

If you are like most people the answer is outside. So, how do you create inspirational spaces, transform a location by making it personal and all your own, or develop a comfortable place for customers to linger and enjoy the setting? The answer lies in the details.

Reflecting your own personal style or designing an outdoor living space for a larger population of people takes planning, creativity and a desire to enjoy al fresco living.

Utilize a fireplace or fire pit to extend the season, choose comfortable deep seating pieces to encourage feelings of serenity, romance, friendship, relaxation and dreams. Soft cushions, cozy throw blankets, multi-use ottomans and plenty of plush pillows to nestle between will help you express your own individual style.

Design to harmonize with the adjoining landscape or architecture. Use color for accent and accessories to initiate feelings of peace to encourage people to linger.

Recently a business meeting brought me to a new location in Orange County for lunch. Being in the design end of the casual furniture business I am always interested to see developers utilizing outdoor spaces. The creation of casual spots for relaxing outside is not only the hottest trend for homeowners, it is also spreading to other venues. These unique outdoor settings with fireplaces allow visitors a place to take a break from shopping, continue conversations after the meal has been finished in the many restaurants and allow viewing the stage for entertainment as well as the giant video walls.

This is Southern California's newest shopping center, which boasts 1 million square feet of dining, shopping and entertainment. There is a blend of specialty stores, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters and a number of other entertainment venues. This is a lifestyle destination that the developers hope to have customers coming back to again and again.

Isn't this the same hope that dealers and designers alike hope to achieve when a customer purchases casual furniture for the purpose of creating an intimate family room in the outdoor spaces of their homes? A surprising fact regarding the selection of furniture for this setting is that the furniture is not low-end, nor is it chained down in place. This center showcases JANUS et Cie two seat sofas, lounge chairs and cocktail tables. Giant commercial umbrellas in colorful hues along with standard umbrellas dot the landscape outside the restaurants in additional colors. The placement of throw pillows on the sofas and chairs pleased my designer's eye.

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