Why the Oudoor Living Room is Every Southerner's Favorite Space
The outdoor room is the epitome of a low-cost living space extension—without the effort and expense of a full-blown renovation or home addition. This is especially true in the South, where the outdoors can be enjoyed for much of the year. Turning your eye outside—whether it be to a patio, a porch, a side yard, or a tiny balcony—will expand your living space, offer a little breathing room, and create an ideal spot for entertaining.
Create Distinct Areas
Similar to an open-concept floor plan, an outdoor living space can be separated into specific “areas”—including one for alfresco dining, one for covered dining, and one for relaxing. Here, the homeowners used a simple gravel patio and split their space using weather-friendly curtains and grouped seating areas.
Blur the Line Between Indoors and Out
An old-school architectural element—the Southern dogtrot—was designed to bring much-needed cross-breezes into a southern home during the hottest parts of the year. While your home probably doesn’t offer this feature, you can create a similar concept by installing French or Dutch doors to catch the occasional breeze, as well as offer a flood of sunlight and easy access to your outdoor space.
Play Up Your Patio
If you’re lucky enough to have a patio, add comfy lounge furniture that fits the style of your home. Be sure to choose easy-clean outdoor fabrics, plenty of plush pillows and cushions, and a variety of seating options for your family and guests.
Treat a Screened Porch Like a Room
Screened-in porches are a natural extension of the home—they’ll stay relatively protected from the elements, and they can be customized with standing fixtures (like this outdoor kitchen) to make them more room-like—perfect for entertaining.
2016 Idea House: Outdoor Spaces
Welcome to our 2016 Idea House! With the choice of a corner lot in the community of Mt Laurel, Birmingham-based architect Bill Ingram decided on a stunning wraparound porch that faces both streets. With such woodsy, beautiful surroundings, it was also natural that additional outdoor spaces, such as a dining terrace designed by Margaret Kirkland, were created for entertaining.
Add Interior Accessories
Incorporating accessories traditionally used inside in the home—like lamps, soft textiles, rugs, and throws—will make your outdoor area feel like a natural extension of your personal space.
Create a Dedicated Work Zone
Designing an outdoor spot specifically for tackling messy tasks—such as a potting bench for an avid container gardener, or an oversized sink to wash outdoor toys and sporting equipment for a busy family—makes better use of your outdoor space and keeps your interiors that much cleaner on a daily basis.
Plan to Dine Alfresco
Outfit an outdoor space—whether it be a covered porch, a grassy lawn, or a simple patio—with a comfortable outdoor dining set for taking your meals outside when the weather is nice.
Add a Fire Pit
Incorporating a fire pit surrounded by relaxed seating offers a cozy place to congregate when the weather turns chilly; it’s also a relatively inexpensive way to create an outdoor space with minimal time and effort.