Top outdoor area design ideas from Good Homes Magazines

From installing outdoor lighting to defining the space, we round up our tips and tricks for creating the perfect outdoor living room for summer. Blend the boundary between kitchen and garden with a threshold space that is truly part of you home. Read our top tips on creating an outdoor living area you will love. Be inspired by our Good Homes Roomsets and extend your kitchen with an open-air space that requires no building work. Here’s how to define a function, create a look and accessorise to make the most of that little area outside your kitchen.

Lose the boundary


Fully glazed floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall kitchen doors dispense of any visible division between outside and in so use them to your advantage.
If the floor in your kitchen is suitable for outdoors, see if you can match it beyond the boundary. Look for other design elements of your kitchen that you can continue outside.

Define your outdoor space
Look at the area outside your kitchen and how much space you have to work with. If your garden is big, decide how large the footprint of your outdoor room will be.
Note any physical boundaries that already exist and whether you would like to introduce any yourself or leave your outdoor room open to the rest of the garden. Consider part-covering some of the space with a pergola or awning for a little weather-proofing.

Decide on a function


If your kitchen is small, it makes sense to make use of an outdoor space for lounging or dining. Assess the amount of space you have, how the doors open and how the sun tracks across the area and whether you want to be able to cook outside.
Decide the best position for a sofa bench and coffee table. This space features a barbecue and you might want to allow space for it to be pulled clear of the main seating area when in use.

Choose a style
Bear in mind that this is a transition spot between kitchen and garden or courtyard so choose a decorating style with this in mind.
When choosing furniture and lighting always remember it is an outside space, even if there is an element of cover. Pick garden furniture in light wood and a retro shape and seat pads and cushions in nature-inspired prints that can be brought inside if necessary. Some furniture designs incorporate internal storage.

Reference the garden


Bring garden elements in wherever you can. Fabulous wooden slat fencing has been fitted to an adjacent wall to create a defining backdrop to this outside living area.
Hang metal planters and pick leaf-design fabrics and green glassware. Choose a refreshing colour scheme of green and yellow so that the space looks sunny whatever the weather.

Add outdoor lighting
Always make sure lighting is suitable for outdoor use, but design a lighting scheme as you would for any other room in your home.
Start with solar-powered festoon lights and then layer floor spotlights and lanterns.
Lighting around the barbecue will need to be more practical, while you will want to design more for mood and atmosphere around a seating area.  

From the Good Homes Magazine editors.

Good Homes