Adding on to your home by creating outdoor rooms is a great way to increase the value and size of your house without a large-scale remodel. An outdoor living room can be one of the most effective uses for an outdoor space, since you can use it for entertainment, relaxation and letting the kids play. But to benefit from an outdoor living room, it must be well-used by everyone. Here are 5 ways to increase the usefulness and enjoyment of an outdoor living room.
Make It Accessible
The first thing your outdoor room needs is to be easy and logical to get to. For an outdoor living room, this probably means placing its access point from the house somewhere near the kitchen, indoor living room or family room. If you can create a large, inviting entrance using French doors, sliding doors or a bank of windows, it will help keep the outdoor room on people's minds.
Make It Permanent
If you're serious about using an outside living room, it must become part of the house's layout. You can help people think of it as 'just another room' in a few different ways, but making a permanent structure that is usable throughout all four seasons is the best way to keep it on people's minds. Work with a professional roofing company to build a structure with a permanent roof that matches and complements the home's roof. If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider building a room that can be enclosed with screened windows or a wall of movable glass doors.
Make It Match
The outdoor room should be an extension of your home's architecture, rather than something that sticks out like a sore thumb. A matching roof and beams that fit seamlessly with your house's architectural style is a good place to begin. Paint it to match the surrounding exterior of the home, then decorate the room in a style that fits with the access rooms (the points where you exit the home to enter the outdoor room).
Make It Private
To encourage people to use any outdoor space, you need to be able to show that they can enjoy private time in that space when they want to. A living room is a place for relaxation and rejuvenation, so make sure that people can feel relaxed even if you have close neighbors. You can build in a little privacy by making use of shrubs and hedges outside the borders of the room. If that's insufficient, you can use other barriers, including strategic fencing, trees (particularly for second-story neighbor views), hanging curtains or trellises with climbing vines.
Make It Cozy
Invite users to the space by making it appealing. Include a variety of seating options, including comfy, oversize sofas or chairs and soft rugs. Fire is also a big draw for most people, so look for ways to incorporate fire into your decoration. If you have the space and budget, a full fireplace is the best way to make an outdoor room cozy (especially in the winter). If you can't put in a fireplace, look into fire pits as well as torches.
Your new outdoor living room can be a great way to not only add to your house's square footage but also to make better use of the backyard. It often has a great return on investment not only in happiness now but in real dollars when you sell. So be sure you plan it correctly to get the maximum value.