It is not news to say that Americans have been spending more time at home in recent years. It is also true that what homeowners expect from their homes has changed significantly over this period. Due to this change, home improvement projects are more popular than ever. Outdoor terraces and living areas, in particular, have become increasingly important. Just as homeowners say they want more from inside their homes, they also expect more from the outside.
Your pro customers are also reacting to this growing interest in outdoor living spaces. According to a recent survey by the New Home Trends Institute, 58% of home building professionals said creating a connection to the outdoors will be a major theme in their designs over the next three years.
Drawing parallels between indoor and outdoor spaces makes sense. Homeowners are beginning to pay more attention to the appeal of a seamless aesthetic, while professionals are rising to the challenge of showing what is possible in building decks and outdoor living spaces today.
Showing homeowners and contractors how to connect the interior and exterior of a home can be very profitable. Thoughtful finish selections and design details keep customers happy, which can lead to more referrals, improved bottom line, and increased margins.
Tie it all together
Assessing a home’s interior design elements before planning an outdoor space can be a great source of ideas for connecting the indoors with the outdoors. Whether building a brand new deck or renovating an existing deck, here are five things to consider to achieve a cohesive look that will enhance both the interior and exterior of a home.
Decking. Connect indoor and outdoor spaces by choosing a decking material similar to flooring in a home. Many homes have a living space that opens directly onto a patio or deck. Installing a deck in the same or similar shade as the interior flooring can help the two spaces come together and feel like one unified living space. Also think beyond wood. Alternatives available include concrete, fiberglass, plastic, PVC, aluminum, rubber and composite decking materials in a range of shades that will complement any color palette.
Bridge railing. Consider choosing a deck railing that complements the hardware or accessories found around the house. For example, an oil rubbed bronze railing could be chosen to match the light fixtures in the kitchen or the hardware in the doors and cabinets. Or, mirror interior wood features by installing a natural wood top rail or a powder-coated aluminum railing system with a wood-grain finish top rail, which gives the organic look of wood without the need for tweaking. ‘maintenance.
Powder coated deck railings are available in a variety of colors making it easy to coordinate the railings with exterior features such as siding and trim, as well as interior finishes for a more coordinated appearance that makes spaces more intentional .
While traditional picket infill and cable infill remain popular, new railing infills continue to expand the design possibilities of outdoor spaces. For example, stainless steel wire mesh infill and laser-cut aluminum panels in geometric and nature-inspired patterns, as well as custom designs, offer an unexpected way to connect indoor and outdoor spaces while making a statement.
Lighting. Select outdoor fixtures that coordinate with fixtures inside the home to create a smoother transition from indoors to outdoors. Use the same bulb types and light temperatures in both areas for a consistent feel. Installing dimmers and setting a similar level of brightness also contributes to the illusion of a continuous space. Light needs to come from more than one source for even illumination, so explore the use of overhead lights and under-track or post accent lighting, which not only helps provide security but brings an element of additional design to deck areas. Look for waterproof lighting for extra protection against humidity.
Awnings. Another way to create a cohesive look is to install exterior awnings that complement elements such as siding and woodwork, or carry a color palette from a visible interior space. These exterior architectural decorative pieces can be installed on doors and windows, providing weather protection, as well as an easy way to coordinate finishes between the exterior and interior of the home.
Fixed-type canopies, such as powder-coated aluminum canopies with polycarbonate panels, offer durability and impact resistance along with the ability to choose from a range of color options that coordinate seamlessly with railings and other outdoor features .
Trellis. Adding a trellis or series of trellises to a deck can reflect the botanical design elements used inside the home while creating a connection to the outdoors. Echo the theme of an artwork or upholstery design by placing live plants on strategically placed trellises. A number of trellis options are available, including marine-grade stainless steel versions, which are weather resistant while providing an elegant, unobtrusive backdrop for plants and vines.
Especially when it comes to decking, railings, and awnings, look for product lines that provide visual aids, such as color swatches, chip sets, and online visualizers that make it easier for homeowners to imagine what the products will look like in their home once installed.
bring it home
Today’s homeowners want outdoor living spaces that not only look good and are low maintenance, but that function as an extension of their home. Fortunately, the options continue to expand as manufacturers introduce innovative outdoor products focused on creating indoor and outdoor environments that feel like they were designed as one space.
By showcasing a wide range of cutting-edge design options, you can stand out and be seen as partners who can help transform indoor-outdoor living spaces from ordinary to spectacular.
– Kym Nosbisch is director of retail and product marketing for Feeney Inc. (www.feeneyinc.com).