Outdoor Living Spaces – Just the Extra “Room” You Need
By Lea Schneider – Guest Blogger for Stagedhomes.comAdding an extra room might be just the bait you need to catch a buyer. While a brick and mortar addition may be out of your budget, creating an outdoor living space is easy and doable. The good news for sellers is interest in outdoor living spaces is increasing in all markets, even markets with limited outdoor seasons. Even better, you can take much of the investment with you to your next home. Transport all the features of your “room”—patio furniture, outdoor rugs, flower pots—and you’re ready to add that “room” to your next house. Turn your empty patio, deck or corner of the lawn into a room by following a few easy steps.
Decide On UseUnlike inside the house, where rooms are clearly defined, an outdoor space lets you create a unique vision. A plain concrete patio could easily become an outdoor dining room, a cozy fire pit hangout or a perfect spot to lounge on a hot day. To make this decision, think about what you would add if you were actually building a room. Would you want a quiet spot to chill? Try a porch swing or hammock. Do you wish you had more room to entertain guests? A big patio table would be perfect. Does it feel like your home just needs more living space? An outdoor living room can show potential buyers they’ll have room to spread out.
Measure Your AreaNo matter how small a patio you have, you can use it to build an outdoor room. A pair of rocking chairs with throw pillows or a bistro table and two chairs doesn’t take up much space but shows off lots of potential. Likewise, don’t be intimidated by a large lawn or huge deck. You don’t have to fill the entire area. Create a cozy conversation area or add a fire pit with a circle of chairs. Set the stage for buyers to imagine how they would enjoy the outdoors. Take time to measure your space before shopping for items. You want to make sure the items will fit and not overcrowd the area.
Choose FurnitureMake it your goal to choose outdoor furniture that is comfortable and inviting. If you sit down in it and want to linger, then it is probably just right. Keep in mind that it will ultimately move with you, so look for features you will enjoy long-term. Everyone has their favorite, from gliders to rockers to adjustable chaise lounge chairs or an ottoman to prop your feet on. Go for yours. If your outdoor living space can be seen through the windows of your home, you may want to stick to a similar color palette both outside and in for a smooth transition.
Add DecorAn outdoor room should have some of the decor touches you find inside your home. A good place to start is with an indoor-outdoor rug. Designed to be out in the elements, a rug placed under the dining table or in the middle of a seating group creates the illusion of a room. Accent with accessories. Begin with throw pillows. They are a fun way to make a statement or add a color. Not only that, they just invite napping or lounging. Add in a small blanket for chilly evenings. Planters are a given for a deck or patio. Blooms are always nice, but if you can also create a great look with easy to maintain potted palms or small evergreens. Add some personality with small touches such as candles on tables, lanterns, a bird bath or a garden flag.
Think About AmenitiesSpecial features of your outdoor living area will depend on the type of room you set up. If you stage a fun space out on the lawn, mosquito netting can be the perfect addition. Lights, both decorative and functional, allow you to use your “room” well after dark. On the other hand, shade is welcome on a hot, sunny day, so if your area is uncovered, a large patio umbrella can do the trick. Many people enjoy watching sports and movies outdoors. If your space allows it, hanging a TV on an exterior wall can be a terrific addition to the space. Likewise, people who love spending time outside still like to use their phones and tablets. If your wireless doesn’t reach your outside space, you might want to buy a device to boost your signal. Staging an outdoor “room” is such an easy thing to do and creates the illusion your home is bigger and offers more opportunities. Since you can pack all the furniture and decor with you when you move, it is a win-win addition. As a professional organizer, Lea Schneider writes for The Home Depot about creating organized spaces that help make your life easier. She provides great tips on arranging your patio furniture to build an outdoor living space.