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The Hot List: Outdoor Living Trends of 2014

We are always looking for fresh ideas to update our homes and there have never been so many ways to do it! The overall general top trend is making our homes an extension of ourselves (think style) and creating beautiful, functional spaces (inside & outside) to enjoy our homes to the fullest. The home is not just a place to give us shelter anymore; it is where we live, raise our families, and celebrate milestones (just to name a few). The top outdoor trends for 2014 certainly fall in the category to improve our lifestyle, enjoy our homes to the fullest, and inject in our own style!

photo2Multifunction Outdoor Living Area

Most people have the misconception that you need to have a huge yard to define different areas for lounging, dining, cooking, etc. WRONG! Any sized space can be maximized to include a dining area, cooking area, and lounging area while allowing for good flow and entertaining space. There are so many options and creative ways to ‘define’ each area which makes it very attainable for everyone. Here are just a few:

1. Using a structure like a pergola or pavillion

2. The installation of sitting walls

3. Changing material selection for an area. For example, one area might be large pavers and another area might have decking.

4.  A paver, stone, or brick ‘area rug’ that is installed as an insert in the patio. There are lots of ways to get creative here! This can define a dining space or lounging space.

Outdoor Kitchens

IMG_0259Yes, outdoor kitchens are still on the hot list! The demand for them has grown steadily the past couple of years and with all the available options in materials, colors, and styles they are here to stay. Again, you don’t have to go big here to make an impact. Many people incorporate a countertop with an overhang and seating to do double duty as a bar or additional eating area. Here are the basic shapes for outdoor kitchens:

1. Straight Line/ Island Type Kitchens: The name is pretty self-explanatory. This clusters the grill and any other appliances in a straight line or island.

2. U-Shape and L-Shape: For larger outdoor kitchens, these shapes are commonly used to incorporate all the appliances, cabinets, and drawers as well as entertaining areas such as a bar or counter seating.

3. Free Form Shape: Another option for larger outdoor kitchens. Using a free form shape can be used to follow the lines of the patio or just to be unique!

P1010497Pergolas & Pavilions

We touched on them briefly above as a way to define an area in your outdoor space. They are also used to create shade, shelter from the elements, as well as a focal point. Many people attach drapery to them to further define the space as well as provide a little extra privacy. There is a lot of room here to get creative and match your style; contemporary, traditional, craftsman, etc.

Fire Features

This has also been on the hot list from last year. Fire pits and fireplaces can provide a focal point for your outdoor space as well as to help define an area. Materials come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and colors so finding your perfect style is easy! A fire feature is one of the most requested features we get asked for. They are enjoyed by everyone and every age and they extend your outdoor living into the fall, as well as increase the value of your home. It’s a win-win!

Sitting Walls

Sitting walls are another way to define an area as well as provide additional seating for your guests. They are usually constructed in materials to coordinate with your patio or deck. You can really inject your personal style by adding pillows or cushions!

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Color

The trend is bold colors that POP! Color can be coordinated in many ways such as:

1. Colors and patterns in pillows or cushions.

2. An ‘area rug’ insert in the patio by changing the material for the border and/or main area of the ‘rug’; a lot of color can be used here to make it stand out.

3. A border around the whole patio with a material with a contrasting color to the patio.

4. PLANTS! Using a wide variety of plant material with bold colors to enjoy spring through fall. The mix of plant materials will not only provide bold color, but texture and depth as well. Color can be achieved through the planting of annuals, but for year after year ease, choose perennials, shrubs, and trees.

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All of these  features will enhance your outdoor living space and bring the comfort and style of indoor living to the outdoors. This will not only benefit your lifestyle but they will also increase the value of your home. Consult with a professional for help in creating and building the outdoor living space of your dreams!

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