Style Guide: Outdoor Rooms

Assistant Home Editor Todd Childs shares his tips and ideas for creating welcoming outdoor rooms.


Hi. I'm Todd Childs, assistant Homes editor at Southern Living. You know, sometimes the best room in your house doesn't have to be in your house. Doesn't even have to have walls. The secret to making your outdoors beautiful and livable is defining the space and giving it an identity. Be it porch, patio, pergola, or the pastoral, everyone could use a little fresh air. And there are a million tricks to creating a great outdoor space that will make your living room jealous. The front porch is the first room your guests are going to see. Make it just as inviting as what's on the other side of the door. Remember, all the furniture doesn't have to face out. Create an intimate conversation area by grouping comfortable seating as you would in a room. I also love the way the stationary louvered shutters create a bit of privacy from the neighboring house. Trust me, you'll get more good gossip when your guests feel private. Don't be afraid to use items more typical of the indoors on porches. If the area is well protected from the elements, they can add a greater sense of comfort to the space. The bright orange lamp adds a touch of fun that coordinates with the pillows. Plus, at night the light is much nicer than harsh overhead light. [MUSIC] Always capitalize on the best view, even if it's at your feet. A traditional railing with spindles or prep work can block the view of flowerbed, and make a porch seem narrower. By using a glass paneled railing, your eye can go right out to the blooms. As for the floor of your porch, there are lots of incredible choices for indoor/outdoor carpeting on the market now, and rugs are a great way to define the seating area on a porch, and impart a greater sense of comfort. [MUSIC] Types of outdoor seating can go way beyond the bounds of rockers, wicker and Adorondack chairs. This canopy day bed is one of the coolest pieces of outdoor funiture I've seen in a while. Completely done in outdoor fabrics, the canopy provides a bit of protection from the sun. While the bank of pillows virtually insists on Al Fresco napping. For more ways to find your outdoor style, pick up a copy of Southern Living magazine and be sure to visit

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