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Seamless Living, Modern Merging of Outdoor/Indoor Living Spaces

It's Sunny and nearly 60 Degrees here in Muncie, IN., and Starr Real Estate wants to celebrate Spring even more with some inspirational outdoor ideas for our homeowners!

Last week we discussed trending 2021 home decor and renovations for Indoors and having to create new functional spaces inside the home that may not have seemed necessary before Covid. With more ages in the home more frequently, the desire for more space (or redesigning existing space) became a necessity.

Today we want to show our readers the significance and value of prioritizing the idea of a seamless indoor to outdoor transition, as well as provide architectural design elements that can transform our mundane backyards into a comfortable, effective, and aesthetically more pleasant view!

Since increasing the number of windows inside the home is an up and coming trend for contemporarily modern homes, creating a nice view to look at outside is going to be the next project for most homeowners. Homeowners seeking to maximize their indoor-outdoor living design opportunities will want to minimize solid exterior walls that face their backyard or whichever outdoor space they want to incorporate with their indoor space. This requires features like glass walls or large windows, sliding glass doors, bi-fold and stacking doors, or French doors with large glass panes.

Basically the goal is to create a visual and spatial appearance of the backyard being just steps away from the couch.

Establishing easy flow between the interior of the home and the exterior may seem intimidating and expensive, however, there are multiple different ways that can be customized to each home owners needs and desires with some creativity and innovative ideas!

More recommended changes or updates to be made for homeowners wishing to make these kinds of changes;

Keeping indoor and outdoor entertainment areas side by side.

Patios, decks, porches, and any access to the backyard space are typically built, in most homes, off of the designated kitchen/dining area. This has allowed for the increasing interest in building luxurious and functional outdoor kitchens and dining areas.

Homeowners that like to avoid large updating costs with an entire outdoor kitchen area can invest in pizza ovens and heating lamps instead.

If the idea is to create as little division between the two spaces as possible, avoid a change in floor level between inside and out. Having steps creates not only a visual break, but a physical one that slows movement. Visually, a change in floor material will also indicate an abrupt break in the transition. Instead, go for a material that can be used for both spaces

Just as continuity for your floor is important, extending your ceiling without interruption is also a good way of ensuring flow between your indoor and outdoor spaces.

Extending your roof to cover your patio and outdoor entertainment areas will also provide protection against the elements and allow you to keep the connecting doors open even in bad weather. Keeping some outdoor space open is always a good idea, so you needn’t cover your entire patio for this strategy to be successful, but consider a roof at least over the transition space.

Retractable shade fixtures such as umbrellas, shade sails, and enclosed/ partially enclosed patios offer another form of controlled comfort outdoors without the costly expenses of building or extending roofed structures outside the home.

Lighting has a similar function in distinguishing or blending two different areas. In order for the areas to be visually registered in the same way, similar types and intensities of light should be used for both, at least in the transition space. Downlighting—fixtures mounted on the ceiling—are an effective way of doing this, as is soft, ambient light.

The three main types of backyard illumination are safety lighting to deter prowlers and improve navigation, landscape lighting to accentuate garden features, and accent lighting to put the focus on the hardscape. Ultimately, you’d want all three types in your backyard to achieve different lighting levels for different needs.

For security lighting, floodlights and high-watt, motion-sensing lights are the most effective. As far as pathway lighting goes, choose lighting that highlights the pathway design and simply guides guests- nothing too bright, but also decorative. For dining or seated entertainments areas outdoors, string lights help sectionalize the space and create an intimate and comforting ambiance. Wall lights, lanterns, and sconces can also be an effective way to light similar exterior areas, especially the spaces that are extended from the inside of the home on the patio or deck.

Using indoor style furniture outdoors—sofas, comfortable chairs, throw cushions etc. – blends the two areas together in terms of decor.

Bold and rustic wooden pieces used indoors will further enhance the crossover effect. Essentially, to enhance the effect that your indoor/outdoor spaces are one and the same, there should be no difference between them in terms style themes or decorative features.

Furniture doesn't simple have to consist of outdoor couches, chairs, or benches. Outdoor seating and relaxation can be as inventive as the design and landscaping, too! Hammocks and swinging chairs are a comfy and unique seating arrangement to add to any backyard.

As we also mentioned in last weeks blog post, bringing plants and nature indoors can improve quality of life for any space. But outside where nature blooms in all it's untamed imperfection, we can insert some design control by utilizing planters beds and ceramic potted plants next too fencing, furniture, and other exterior design pieces.

Water features; there are plenty of different types of ways to incorporate water into your outdoor space. Natural ponds, water walls, waterfalls, rain curtains, bubblers, fountains, bird baths, etc. Here is a link to the pro's and con's of each type of feature and their estimated costs

Fencing Options;

Tall, dark wooded, horizontally-placed fencing is the contemporary look that homeowners are embracing to create a more natural and rustic backyard space. Playing around with unique slat placements and adding contrasting vertical support rails, (especially black rails on red-brown wood fencing), adds a modern taste that allows for the colors and comforts of inside the home to extend to the furthest reaches of the property.

If done properly, the fencing you choose can serve at the focal point of your backyard entertainment space/ landscaping.

The best part about removing the traditional chain-linked/metal fencing and replacing it with less transparent materials is that the homeowner is creating solid privacy as well as creating opportunities for private zoning/sectioning in the yard.

One particular idea is using salvaged metal fencing/ conjugated metal and wood, or even repurposed old pallets to create a "color blocking" technique with the recycled materials. This creates an even more rustically modern look that can be done in a smaller and more affordable budget.

Definitions and clarifications of exterior design terms:

Arbor- a shady garden alcove with sides and a roof formed by trees or climbing plants trained over a wooden framework.

Cabana- a cabin, hut, or shelter, especially one at a beach or swimming pool.

Gazebo- a roofed structure that offers an open view of the surrounding area, typically used for relaxation or entertainment.

Summerhouse- a small, typically rustic building in a garden or park, used for sitting in during the summer months.

Pagoda- a Hindu or Buddhist temple or sacred building, typically a many-tiered tower, in India and East Asia/ an ornamental imitation of a Hindu or Buddhist pagoda in gardens/ backyards.

Pavilion- a summerhouse or other decorative building used as a shelter in a park or large garden.

Pergolas- an archway in a garden or park consisting of a framework covered with trained climbing or trailing plants.

Benefits to a seamless transition inside and out;

You could virtually double the floor space of your home simply by opening a sliding door or two. This allows for the owners to host more guests and enjoy the luxury of more living space. Plus, this increases the monetary value of the home without costly updates and renovations. One of the most attractive features of a home is the amount of space it has.

There are several psychological benefits of being more connected with the great outdoors. Nature is proven to improve cognition and memory, decrease stress hormones in the body, boosts energy, provides us with fresh air which is healthier for the brain and increases our oxygen intake daily. Other health benefits include better vision, immune system, focus, creativity, and even in some cases helps relieve pain.

The national average cost for landscaping ranges as low as $1,850.00 to as high as $11,000.00 but typically renovations can be done on a budget between $2,600.00 - $4,600.00.

Creating a cohesive living area both inside and out is a great way to make a small space feel bigger, flood your home with mood-enhancing natural light and let in the natural beauty of your home's outdoor spaces.


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