Outdoor Style Comes Indoors as Inside Style Moves Outside

April 28, 2009

The landscape of the American single family home is changing rapidly. For many years the classic template consisted of a formal living room followed by a formal dining room as you entered the well-appointed home. Most people today live and entertain in a much more informal atmosphere. Guests and hosts gravitate toward the great room, which blends into the kitchen and outdoor living spaces. Newer homes are attempting to draw people away from the front rooms by designing multiple outdoor areas and larger informal spaces.

These outdoor living spaces should reflect the informal yet stylish design of the interior great rooms. Express yourself inside and out by bringing the outside in with natural elements and by bringing the inside out by reflecting the interior style. 

How do you bring outdoor style inside? Two ways to bring the outside in are with bamboo and woven furniture. The use of greens and browns, indoor plants and garden accessories stacked along a sideboard assist in adding outdoor touches. If you truly want to step out of the box and inject outdoor color inside, the easiest way is by utilizing colors that resemble bouquets of flowers. Think soft like nature; soft greens such as celadon paired with creams and pinks of petals will create a European style rather than tropical atmosphere. Warm wood tones and the use of bamboo and woven materials balance out the color yet keep the feeling fresh. Freely utilize outdoor furniture pieces and fabrics indoors for that special outdoor charm and spirit.

How do you bring inside style out?

Create an outdoor retreat that allows you and your guests to spill outside from the interior great room. Don?t be afraid to mix chandeliers and old antiques outdoors especially in outdoor dining areas. Utilize a touch of indoor style and unify the space by adding outdoor drapes, pillows and rugs to complete the look. Don?t be afraid to select fabric for the patio cushions that reflect the indoor appearance, the use of color, pattern and texture in fabrics is an excellent way to reflect the indoor space.

Accessorize the exterior in many different ways. One way is to create a focal point, use an outdoor fountain, fireplace or fire pit. Create a great place to entertain by encouraging guests to stay awhile: strategically place comfortable deep seating around the focal point. Add colorful elements by choosing flowering plants to accent containers scattered throughout the outdoor living space. These containers can sit on the dining table, coffee table, next to a club chair, lounge chair or sofa.

Relaxing and communing with nature is as easy as creating a piece of art out of plants and flowers. Take an existing pot or container, add a couple of colorful flowering plants, some green plants, potting soil and voila! You have created a masterpiece. Purposefully place these pots around your patio furniture, along an existing wall or table, and see the difference you can make. You don?t have to be an artist, nor do you have to love gardening, but I can assure you that creating a living piece of art will make you feel good and the people who see the finished product will receive a lot of joy. Next select a unique outdoor rug to lie under the table and chairs; round, rectangular and square rugs in a variety of colors and patterns allow you to design a space of your own.

Another example of bringing the inside out is in the use of multiple coordinating fabrics and trims on the drapes that hang from the pavilion or separate the living and dining spaces. Don?t be afraid to use color and texture outside, choose fabrics that make you feel good and reflect the inside décor. Line the drapes with sheers so they look wonderful from both views. Create custom pillows with the use of trims and coordinating fabrics and sprinkle them around the seating area. Lanterns with candles illuminate these outdoor living spaces along with the chandeliers and fire features. Mix and match materials in these outdoor settings, juxtapose wrought iron with glass, steel with terra cotta, wood against woven components, soft chenille textures and linear lines to get a new twist on an Old World style.

Outdoor living is at its best when nature dazzles the eye and nurtures the soul. Create your perfect casual environment inside and out.

These are my outside views…Marcia Blake

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