There’s a subtle difference between creating a nice patio and creating an outdoor living room. Small touches, usually things only seen indoors, are what transform a nice patio into an awesome patio. If you own a hanging bed swing, you know what we mean. Porch swings are nice, but a bed swing is a game-changer. When guests are over it’s more than a place to sit, it’s a conversation piece. When you’re by yourself, it’s a wonderful indulgence. Even if you have a small space, you can create an outdoor living area that extends the livable space in your home. Here are some of our favorite elements:
Just like your indoor living room needs a focal point to feel anchored, so does your outdoor living room. Indoors your focal point is likely a fireplace or a TV. Outdoors your focal point can be a beautiful view. If you don’t have a beautiful view, your focal point could be your bed swing – so make it dramatic. Tone-on-tone colors help furniture blend into the surroundings, but high contrast colors and patterns draw the idea to the star of the show.
Outdoor-friendly art is another important element of an outside living space. Choose art that can withstand the elements, so no fine art or prints. Ceramic and ceramic sculptures and wall art are the perfect weather-resistant art for patios, like this ceramic tile by artist Barbara Zech.
Encaustic, a Japanese form of art that incorporates pigmented beeswax, is another great choice for outdoor settings. Beeswax is stable to 200 degrees, and the pigments are color safe. Canvas photo prints are another great choice for areas that are sheltered from rainwater.
Strings of twinkle lights are fun, but outdoor lighting can be much more sophisticated. Floor and table lamps made specifically for use on patios go a long way toward making a space cozy. If you don’t have power outside, go for large, dramatic hurricane candles in strategic spaces.
When you think of curling up on the sofa with a good book on a rainy day, think of all the things you need: A soft pillow, a light or warm blanket, and a table to hold a cup of tea. Keep a big basket by the door, or near your bed swing, of blankets and pillows that can stay outdoors and can survive multiple washings. A big coffee table looks wonderful in front of a swing bed, but a tall, narrow side table will fit the bill if space is a premium.
It’s easy to create an outdoor living room by just bringing a few indoor elements along with you. Make your bed swing a dramatic focal point, then choose materials and accessories that can stand up to sun and rain or can be washed or cleaned as needed.