Must-Have Design Elements for Indoor-Outdoor Entertaining

Must-Have Design Elements for Indoor-Outdoor Entertaining

October 30, 2018

One of the most popular trends in recent years has been the indoor-outdoor entertaining space.

One of the most popular trends in recent years has been the indoor-outdoor entertaining space. Homeowners want to treat friends and family to the enjoyment of open-air dining and outdoor amenities, while retaining access to their indoor spaces.

Architects and their clients can strategize multiple options in indoor-outdoor entertaining that take advantage of client preferences and the home’s surroundings, as well as the local climate.

Incorporate Cooking Areas into Patio Designs

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One of the most popular indoor-outdoor entertainment trends is the inclusion of a cooking area on the patio, which can become an extension of a home's open-plan concept.

Cooking amenity options can include grills or a fire pit, which nowadays can be used to prepare everything from hot dogs to three-course meals. Or for an ultimate entertaining space, you can create a full outdoor kitchen complete with a refrigerator, stove, counters and storage space.

This is ideal for a home chef that wants to be able to prepare increasingly complex meals outdoors. While grilling a simple menu of hamburgers and corn cobs will always be a staple for a midsummer picnic, today's savvy host also wants to be able to marinate Portobellos or glaze a tenderloin, if the occasion calls for it.

Aligning Outdoor Features with Indoor Design

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Historically, home chefs prepared the meal in the kitchen while the guests congregated in a separate space. Today's homeowners want a space where preparation and talk flows seamlessly – including into the outdoor spaces.

One popular solution to facilitate preparation and conversation is to design the indoor and outdoor areas close to each other, separated by large pass-through windows or sliding patio doors. This lets guests move easily between the spaces and converse through open windows and doors.

The arrangement of furniture, windows and doors around pools or patios also facilitates guests mingling between the indoor and outdoor areas.

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In this Minnesota home, for example, multi-slide patio doors were included in the design to open up the living room to the entertaining space outside. Interior furniture, art and even the color of the window frames are arranged to mimic the design and color scheme of the outdoor space on the other side of the doors.

The balance of the outdoor and indoor spaces provides a seamless experience to guests. Through open doors and windows, entertaining can flow between the patio and living room

Flexible Spaces for Varying Climates

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Increasingly, homeowners in all climates simply want to make the outdoors another room of the house. This trend builds upon long-standing practices of homes designed with large windows and patios. But the new trend takes it one step further to the creation of indoor-outdoor spaces that can still be used even if the temperature or weather changes.

Architects can bring the outdoors inside in any climate by exploring multiple options that fully or partially enclose an outdoor space, such as verandas, loggias, arcades, terraces, lanai and partially or fully enclosed nooks and porches.

Entrances, apertures and arcades can be fully open or feature windows, sliding closures or folding doors for quick and easy access to the outdoor space, while still providing protection against the elements when the weather changes.

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Blended indoor-outdoor environments admit an abundance of natural light illumination. They also provide your clients with multiple decorating options, such as emphasizing the natural light by decorating in bright whites and ivories or contrasting natural light with black or brown furnishings.

In environments where inclement weather is frequent or cold weather is a consideration, natural gas or wood fireplaces can be added for a cozy touch and to ensure year-round use.

The end result is an immersive experience in which the indoors and outdoors blend as one for optimal entertaining in a casual or formal setting.

Inspired Indoor-Outdoor Spaces

Whether you want to entertain large groups or relax with your family, indoor-outdoor spaces will let you combine your outside amenities with indoor comfort.

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Be sure to check out Kolbe's gallery for inspiration on how to enhance your indoor-outdoor space.

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