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Libby Langdon: Secrets for Creating an Outdoor Living Space on a Budget

SmartMove 2014 Home Design Resources: Libby Langdon’s Secrets for Creating an Outdoor Living Space on a Budget

Part of the SmartMove 2014 Home Design Resources

Have a humdrum porch? A basic patio or a neglected deck? Some simple additions and a vintage find or two—are all it takes to transform an ordinary outdoor space into an open-air living room that adds value and comfort to your home year-round. And you can also do it without breaking the bank.It’s important to really think in terms of an outdoor “living room” rather than just your outdoor space and here are some ways to get it looking great!

To turn a basic concrete or stone pad into an inviting outdoor room, start by creating a sense of enclosure—your home's exterior walls or even a row of potted plants will do the trick—and, ideally, some overhead protection. Then use colorful accents to add personality. It’s almost the feel of establishing a wall while keeping your view.

If your outdoor area backs up to your house it’s a great idea to hang a mirror on the outdoor wall, it adds dimension, reflects the view, makes the area feel larger and creates the same sense as an indoor living space.

An outdoor rug is an inexpensive way to really pull your outdoor space together, they come in so many color combos and add a softness that again, mimics the feel of a living room indoors.

Outdoor furniture can be expensive but a bistro dining set is inexpensive and small enough to fit on a tiny patio. Choose sturdy but lightweight sets for maximum “movability.”

Buy small seat cushions to make the seating more comfortable and add pops of color.

For an industrial-chic look on a budget, a stainless steel commercial kitchen table can act as a great big dining table and doubles beautifully as an all-weather dining table. These prep tables are taller than the standard 30” table height, so be sure to pair them with counter-height stools. You can sometimes find the tables on Craigslist starting at about $50.

Lighting is so important to any space and especially an outdoor space -- I love to use outdoor lamps. The shades are made from Sunbrella fabrics, the lighting socket is covered by a glass protector and the base of the lamp is weighted so it won’t blow over.

When using candle light I like a combination of hanging lanterns, tiki torches and hurricanes on tables -- having lighting at different heights in your outdoor space makes it feel so warm and inviting.

Potted plants in large and small planters are the best accessories you can have in your outdoor room. They are inexpensive and when filled with flowers and herbs, they add color and the roundness of a planter softens the feel of your space!

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