There is something very special about an indoor/outdoor space. They convey an air of exclusivity. An indoor space, whether it is 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 exotic budget. But this could not be further from the truth and creating your very own indoor/outdoor slice of heaven may be easier than you think!
Here are a few tips to help you create the perfect indoor/outdoor space for your home, so you can realise your alfresco dreams.
Function & Features
Before getting in to the design nitty gritty, it is vital to ask yourself a couple of very important questions.
Where will this space be? This may seem obvious but it is an important decision to make. In order to make your space as fluid as possible, you should choose a room that is adjacent to your garden/balcony. This not only gives you a bigger area to play with, but 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 what you want this space to be used for? If it is 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 is a living room, so you will 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.
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, then 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.
Flooring & Design
To create the illusion that the outside and inside areas are one and the same, it is 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 do not 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.
To ensure that your new slice of paradise is practical all year round then you may want to consider some options which overcome some of the natural challenges the outdoors presents.
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 usable for social situations even in the colder months.
This post is in association with Quickslide