Make Your Patio Into a Living Space

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Spring is in the air, and we’re counting down the days until we can dust off the outdoor patio furniture and start entertaining outside. The beauty of outdoor spaces is not only their ability to bring the gathering out into some fresh air but also the increased amount of living space at your disposal. After all, what’s more fun than having a bonus space for some fun in the sun?

Turn your patio into the outdoor living area you’ve always wanted by creating an inviting scene with patio chairs, furniture, lighting and accessories. By sprucing up your furniture and maximizing livable square footage, you’ll be on your way to the outdoor living space of your dreams.

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 Patio furniture falling apart? Still using your plastic chairs from college? It might be time to invest in some high-quality outdoor furniture. Not only will this bring a fresh breath of air to your space, but it will also be a great jumping-off point for choosing the style and accents you incorporate into your outdoor living area.

Think about how you use your outdoor space, and use it to determine which pieces are necessary for your patio. Is your house a hub for gatherings? Consider an expandable outdoor dining table for when the party grows. Find yourself avoiding your unbearably uncomfortable chairs? Time to snag those beautiful lounge chairs with plush cushions you’ve been eying for ages. Aim to buy pieces you absolutely love, so that you use your patio often and with enjoyment.

 

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If you love to cook, you can turn your outdoor space into an entertainer’s oasis with just a few new introductions. A state-of-the-art grill is an easy way to live the al fresco life, and with compact, portable units becoming more popular than ever, you can bring the party out even in the smallest of urban settings.

Find yourself running inside a lot to serve food and beverages during gatherings? Go for a cute buffet near a dining set just like you would inside. A bar cart is also a perfect addition for spring gatherings in the garden or late-night soirees under the lights.

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One of our favorite things about outdoor living is how much fun you can have with accessories. There are no rules, so have fun with colors and patterns! Bold pillows made of durable outdoor fabric add just the right touch to a lounge area, while an indoor/outdoor rug is the cherry-on-top that will tie together any sitting or dining area. Mirrors or wall art are an unexpected focal point perfect for an exterior wall or a small, intimate garden fence. Decorative planters with a sleek neutral finish or a polished pattern add pop to a yard or patio corner in need of some love.

 

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Entertaining after sunset isn’t possible without sufficient lighting, so gather lanterns, outdoor candles or hire a professional landscape lighting expert to get your patio space ready for the night. A cluster of candles creates an intimate tablescape, while a fun chandelier or string of lights hung from an overhang or gazebo adds a splash of unexpected glamour and ambiance.

What ways are you adding life to your outdoor space this spring?

 

**Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is an interior designer who writes for The Home Depot. She provides advice on creating beautiful patio spaces. Visit The Home Depot to see a selection of outdoor furniture like those that Kerrie talks about in this article.

 

The Top 9 Dos and Don’ts of Outdoor Lighting

Image Provided by The Home Depot

Image Provided by The Home Depot

Most interior designers agree that lighting can really make or break a room, and the same can be said for outdoor lighting and the exterior of your home. Having a well-lit exterior not only increases safety and security, but also does wonders for your curb appeal. When your home’s façade has attractive and complementary outdoor light fixtures, you are sending a friendly and welcoming message to your guests and neighbors.

Backyard living spaces like decks and patios are no exception either. Before you buy your first lantern or sconce, read these essential do’s and don’t’s of outdoor lighting:

DO’S

  • DO opt for LED fixtures. They use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, last longer and come in a variety of color temperatures. You no longer have to stick with the cool, bluish light of the original LEDs—they now come in warmer temperatures that give off a more yellow light, if you desire that look. LEDs also come in clear finishes rather than just frosted, so you can still achieve the elegant, sparkly look of exposed bulbs while remaining energy efficient.
  • DO choose fixtures with finishes that complement your home’s exterior color scheme. Bronzes go best with earth tones and brown trim and accents. Black is appropriate with most color schemes and white fixtures work well on houses that have darker bodies and white trim.
  • DO space out the light sources on your deck or patio. Several small fixtures with low wattage will always look better and create a more welcoming ambience than one fixture with a bright bulb.
  • DO stick with a mounting height that is slightly above eye level. A general rule of thumb is 66 in. above the threshold for the front of your house.
  • DO use post lanterns near your driveway. If light from the front door or garage fixtures does not extend the length of your driveway, post lanterns offer another source to warmly greet visitors.
  • DO your homework and research to find a consistent, quality line of lighting fixtures.

If you’re looking to reinvent your home’s exterior by upgrading your outdoor fixtures, consider a line of options like Progress Lighting’s wide selection of high-quality, energy-efficient exterior solutions. Their selection includes variety of fixture styles and finishes to meet design and budget goals of any scope.

 DON’T’S

  • DON’T choose fixtures that are too small. This is the most common mistake that homeowners make. Your front door should be the focal point of your home’s façade, so it should have the largest and most ornate fixture. If you use only one light fixture by the door, aim for one that is roughly 1/3 the height of the door, and if you use two, aim for 1/4 the door’s height.
  • DON’T use light bulbs with wattage that is too high. Using bulbs with 40-75 watts or the equivalent thereof is best for outdoor fixtures. Choose the wattage based on the fixture, but never use more wattage than you need because it could create glare and daunt your guests rather than welcome them.
  • DON’T skimp on light fixtures at the back door. They should be less important than the front door’s fixtures, but they should match the rest of your home’s lighting and not be too small.

*Sarah Kellner is a writer for The Home Depot. With a background in art and design, she writes on a wide variety of home improvement and decorating topics. To shop outdoor lighting options, visit the homedepot.com selection online.

So You’re Ready to Build a Deck?

Whether you’re looking to take your outdoor space from basic to your new favorite hangout spot or just looking to revamp a little, building a deck is a great way to do so. There are many different types and features of decks, so gathering inspiration is step 1.

HGTV offers fun and innovative ideas for “out of the box decks” and numerous added touches. We like this custom deck with a cedar pergola and natural seating.

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Houzz is also a great inspiration tool for all things home, even allowing you to find local contractors for your project. Browse deck photos here.

Once you’ve found your inspiration, you will want to put together a plan to get the job done. Whether it’s calling in a professional for an estimate or scoping out the project yourself, plans are a necessity.

If you’re a DIY-er at heart, you might choose to take on the project yourself. Home Depot has a great set of guides to get you started.

For all the visual learners out there, Lowe’s has put together a series of videos on How to Build a Deck, from designing & planning to installing railings and skirting.

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Don’t forget about longterm maintenance of your new deck. Here are some great tips on cleaning and staining your deck.

Best of luck in your outdoor adventures!

Cozy Up your Home for Fall

The transition from summer to fall provides the perfect excuse to update your home with fresh accessories and hues inspired by the season. Dress your home for cool autumn weather with these simple interior and exterior decorating ideas.

M/I Homes of Chicago: Sheffield Square Grant Park - Dearborn Model

Update With New Throw Pillows
As the weather gets cooler, the family will start spending more and more time indoors. Cozy up your living room sofas and chairs with plush throw pillows in different shapes, sizes and patterns. Comfy accessories add visual interest to your living room, plus they’ll emit a warm, inviting tone perfect for the season.

Warm Up the Living Room With Plush Throws
If your blankets and throws have been stored away since last winter, run them through the washing machine before putting them back in use. Hosting a movie night with friends and family? Be sure to keep pillows and blankets handy to ensure that guests are warm and comfortable.

Layer Area Rugs
Layering area rugs is an easy way to add color and texture to your floors. Plus, the extra cushioning and warmth will ensure your feet avoid cold tile and hardwood floors during the fall and winter months. There are no set-in-stone rules when creating this look; just make sure the bottom rug pokes out below the top rug to show off the layering effect.

Prep the Fireplace for Cool Weather
Unless you’re surrounded by year-round winter weather, your fireplace probably gets a bit dusty from March to October. To prepare for cool fall nights, get your fireplace ready for its seasonal debut. Contact a contractor to check for any gas-related safety hazards, like leaks or odd smells. To keep your wood-burning fireplace safe, get a professional check and cleaning before you light the first fire. Now you’re ready for fireside relaxation!

Change Out Your Summer Shades
During the warmer months you may depend on bamboo Roman shades or breezy curtains to cover the windows. But as cool weather approaches, trade out your light and airy treatments for some that offer more insulation and natural coziness.

Light Up Candles
With fall comes cooler weather and shorter days. That means daylight instantly becomes a rare commodity until spring rolls around. Take advantage of early nightfall and embrace the darkness by lighting scented candles around the house. The candlelit ambiance will help relieve stress and anxiety after a long day at work.

Cozy Up the Patio
Don’t forget about your favorite outdoor spot when the seasons change. As summer transitions into fall, the weather becomes perfect for comfortable evenings outside. Decks and patios are often neglected as the weather cools down, but the lack of heat and humidity makes your outdoor space even more usable and enjoyable.

Swap Out Summer Bedding
It’s time to stow the summer quilt and bring back the heavy-duty down comforter and thermal blankets. If you want to save money on your utility bill during colder months, set the thermostat to 62 degrees or below while sleeping or away from home. A thick comforter will keep you warm at night while saving you money at the same time.

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Source: Kayla Kitts for HGTV

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