Bringing the indoors outside

fountain41845253.jpg Spring is finally here and one of the best ways to welcome it is to create an outdoor room for you and your family to enjoy. While many people may feel that the idea of bringing the indoors outside is to daunting or to expensive there are a number of budget -friendly ideas for planning and decorating your outdoor space. Decorating experts say the best way to create your outdoor living room is to consider each component and how they fit together. In other words whether you have a big backyard or a tiny patio, the key to designing for outdoor living is implementing your plan in steps. Remember that it does not have to happen all at once, and it doesn't have to be overwhelming or cost a fortune. So with spring's arrival start increasing your home's square footage today with our budget-friendly outdoor decorating tips. Here's how to get started-

 Where to Put Your Outdoor Room-The first step is to determine where to put your outdoor room. Start by going inside your house and check out the views looking out. If you place the room in a good relationship to the house it helps gives the feeling that your outdoor room is "an extension of your home. Above all make sure that you will have easy access to get there whether or not it's physically connected to the house. An outdoor room can include anything from an attached, screened-in porch to a gazebo to a landscaped area with a bench.
 Define what your space will be used for-Decorating experts state that the best way to define an outdoor room is by the activity that will take place in it. You will need to figure out if you need one large space or several smaller rooms, each with its own purpose. Keep in mind that you do not need a large piece of land to create a perfect indoor to outdoor space but it is important to keep in mind that an outdoor room has to be functional and engaging or you'll never use it.
 Decorate your outdoor room-Now that you have decided where your room will go and what it will be used for the fun can really begin with decorating your outdoor room. Here are the features you need to consider-
1. Water Features-Landscape designers and decorators all agree: Water is one of the most important elements in an outdoor room. The sound of water can create a tranquil and serene setting for your outdoor room. Keep in mind that you do not have to spring for an expensive pond or waterfall. A container water garden or a tabletop fountain can provide the same tranquility at a much easier price for your decorating budget.
2. Flooring-Flooring really defines a space so it is important to put down some kind of hardscaping, whether it's a deck or a stone floor or a concrete slab. Most decorating experts report that if your outdoor room has a floor of grass it will get little to no use. If cost is a problem keep in mind that concrete flooring can be stamped to resemble flagstone or brick, or stained in myriad colors and it's much less expensive than a stone floor.
3. Fireplaces-There is not a better way to bring the indoors outside than by installing a cozy fire or fireplace in your outdoor room. One of the biggest benefits is that having a hearth can extend the season of your outdoor room by several months. For a cost-saving alternative consider two-sided fireplaces or portable fire pits.
4. Plants-The use of plants will soften hard edges (such as concrete flooring) and add a sense of life, warmth and comfort. Be sure to choose plants based on the feelings you want to evoke in the space. For example, a meditative outdoor room works best in shade, surrounded with ferns and tropical plants to define the space.
5. Furniture-Finally you want your outdoor space to reflect the comfort of your indoor space. Be sure that you fill your outdoor room with furniture that is reflective of your style and will act as an extension to your indoor rooms. Large comfy sofas, ottomans, and even coffee tables can give your space that relaxed vibe to hang out in. There is also a large number of styles of tables and chairs (far beyond that traditional picnic table and hard benches) to enjoy those spring and summer (and with good weather) fall meals in the months to come.

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