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COMPONENTS of FABULOUS OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES (Part 1): Floorplan & Focal Point

This floorplan provides for two separate conversation areas in the one long porch space. Photo from Coastal Living Magazine.

It’s that time of year…. mid-MAY….Ahhhhh. The most perfect weather for entertaining… before it gets excruciatingly hot, and warm enough to make us never want to come inside! Sunny days and slightly cool nights provide the perfect opportunity for us all to enjoy our very own backyard retreats. We have all seen images of picture perfect “outdoor rooms” that make us want to crawl inside of them and throw a fabulous party on the spot. However, I often find that my South Carolina interior design clients are somewhat overwhelmed at the thought of how exactly to start the transformation process of their outside setting.

Simply put, the best way to begin the creation of an outdoor room is to treat it just like you would any other room in your home. Proper planning is extremely important in order to ensure the overall cohesion of the space, rather than ending up with what may appear to be a hodge podge of outdoor items.

The first step in creating your exterior room is to identify all of the main components that will be necessary to achieve your desired “look”. For me, there are a few critical components that must be present in almost all polished-looking outdoor spaces. The two elements that I would like to highlight today are: floorplan and focal point. Pictured in this blog are photos of a few rooms that really “hit the mark” in terms of these two components.

The stone fireplace of this outdoor space is the definitive focal point, and the floorplan gives it the "feel" of an interior room. Photo from Coastal Living Magazine.

This outdoor room has a spacious floorplan that encompasses several separate conversation spaces, including a dining area, lounging area (see the hanging bed behind the table), as well as a separate livingroom to the back right of the photo. The focal point is actually the tropical scenery, and all of the furniture arrangements lend themselves to enjoying the surrounding environment. Photo from Southern Accents Magazine.

Cindy Crawford's outdoor living space - featured in Elle Decor Magazine - includes several entertaining areas for guests and family members. The beautiful fireplace provides a lovely focal point for the grand area.

The focal point of this space is obviously the peaceful water by which it is surrounded. The chairs and tables all take full advantage of the view. However, there is a second focal point for anyone approaching the covered space. The flowing fabric seems as if it is "framing" the rustic wooden furniture and understated table & chairs. Photo from Coastal Living.

The focal point of this lovely outdoor space is the breathtaking view of the marsh. The understated coloring of the furniture and cushioning does not compete with the intended "star of the show". Photo from Veranda Magazine.

NOW, GO HAVE AN “It’s So Fabulous!” DAY!
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