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Outdoor Rooms – Where Would You Rather Be?

Design WiseBy Shelagh Duncan

The outdoor living area has probably become one of the most important features in North American homes over the last few years. We however, have been lucky enough to enjoy our outdoor living areas ever since we arrived!

We love to spend our time outdoors – who would blame us! With the incredible beauty, and pure oxygen-rich air surrounding us, naturally  the covered terrace is where we prefer to spend most of our time. Typically that area has also become larger than our indoor living room, but how do we bring the inside out and the outside in?

Royal Palm Interiors

Seating arrangementCreate A Seamless Flow Between Areas

Blurring the divide between indoors and outdoors is a great way to open up your space, by using retractable glass doors for example. If not, you can still create a seamless flow by keeping your colour palette and style similar in both of these areas.

Lighting Adds More Than Drama

Add some landscape and mood lighting for entertaining, or when you just want to chill in the evening. If the bugs are a bother,  you could add some ‘fairy lights’ around the perimeter of your roof. That encourages the little critters to stay out of your space, especially if the other lights are less bright.


You will want this area to be every bit as comfortable, convenient and accommodating as any of your other living areas. All the comforts of home need to be at your finger tips. Plump cushy seating and lots of small, handy tables will add to your enjoyment and comfort , as well as that of your friends.

Outdoor furnitureOutdoor Entertainment

Make sure the area is device friendly with a powerful router, and the sky is the limit with the many entertainment options.

Virtually all major brands now offer home electronics that can be incorporated into an exterior entertainment system. These can include a home theater system, outdoor TV and complete sound system.

Cosy In All Weathers

Yes, I confess, I love being outside in the rain! Not necessarily standing there getting drenched – but hearing the rain beating down on the leaves all around me and the rivers getting ever louder. If you like this too, then consider adding some curtains to protect yourself and your furniture from the winds (and the sun), and to make you feel cosy and protected in any weather.

Expand Any Space With A Mirror

If your outdoor area is not very large, then use the mirror trick. Hang as large a mirror as the space allows and this will expand your space instantly. It will look like a door or window into another area! For added safety use a protective coating to prevent the glass from shattering, and add some marine grade polyurethane to protect a wood frame – unless you like the weathered look!

Outdoor diningDivide And Conquer

You can divide up your space into dining, living and even an outdoor kitchen area too. Make full use of this area to maximize your enjoyment. Using outdoor rugs will help pull an area together and make it feel more cohesive. For the kids, you could even add a chalk-painted wall or small table top for them in their own play area.

Sofas, Chairs And Other Furniture

The furniture, and especially the fabrics we choose for outdoor living need to be durable, have UV protection and perhaps most importantly, be able to deal with our humidity and blowing rains.

Sunbrella is the undisputed king of outdoor fabrics, but there are other, less expensive options.  Just stay away from natural fibers and your upholstery will last much longer.

The range of outdoor furniture itself is huge, and in this case for sure, the more you spend, the better the quality and life expectancy will be.

The Castelle brand is about the best you can buy – and one of the most expensive – however, it is virtually indestructible, so you definitely get your money’s worth!  They offer many beautiful and elegant styles, and with aluminum frames and superior powder coated finishes everything is lightweight and very durable. This brand is actually made in Costa Rica’s Free Trade Zone for international markets.

The less expensive powder coated aluminum frame furniture is readily available, and holds up pretty well as the sling seats dry fast and are very hardwearing.  They are perfect around the pool as they can be used after a swim without any problems. These are popular for pool loungers too as there is no fabric to be stained with sun or bug creams.

The synthetic rattan furniture  is very popular, but again you have to beware of the cheap and disposable options that will not last very long.  Maintenance here can be a little higher, as there are lots of nooks and crannies to keep clean and bug free. Some also have variegated colouring in the weave which makes it look more natural. As with any outdoor furniture, always ask about the guarantee.

Teak is a timeless favourite. It is expensive, but holds up well in the elements and offers a lovely natural look. Teak furniture is usually pretty heavy, so it is better to use it in an area where it will be staying put. You will need thick cushy cushions with any wood seating, so invest in a better quality product to ensure comfort.

The outdoors is already there – where are you?

Until next time,
Royal Palm Interiors – Uvita  – 2743-8323
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