Above: Some outdoor rooms, like this one designed by Insperiors, have just about everything you’ll want. 

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Summer is just around the corner! After spending the past year and a half masked up and meeting over Zoom, you’re probably ready to kick back and relax with friends in person. And what better way to do this than with an outdoor living space?

Nathan Reynolds of Insperiors believes creating an outdoor living space can help you make the best of the warm weather. As the name suggests, an outdoor living space can be an extension of an interior room like a kitchen or living room just outside your home. Maybe it’s an exclusive outdoor space for lounging or other activities. Or maybe you just want a nice grill area or pool with some seating. Reynolds said some current Insperiors’ clients are working on outdoor kitchens, pool bars, patios and even “she” sheds.

“We’re not a landscaping company, but we can help homeowners understand some design vision and what they can do with their space,” Reynolds said. 

A kitchen outdoors – why not?

One of Reynolds’ suggestions for outdoor spaces is sectioning areas of your yard off into different “rooms,” if you have the space to do so. 

“[Setting up chairs and a table is] great but not everyone at a barbecue, party, graduation or shower wants to always sit at the table,” Reynolds said. “So you want to have some living room outdoor sectional, or a few chairs around a fire pit in addition to a table, or maybe some outdoor games. Like when you’re inside your house and you’re entertaining you lay your food out and then move to the dining room for a meal and then the living room for conversation or dessert. Think about sectioning the outside in the same way.”

There are plenty of fun ways to spruce up an outdoor living area. Reynolds said you can buy outdoor area rugs to section off areas of the space. You can decorate tables with brightly-colored umbrellas or chairs with UV-resistant pillows to keep their color. There are even outdoor TVs that, while more expensive than typical TVs, are glare resistant and can survive rain or snow – kind of nice if you want to have a group over to watch a movie or a game. 

And while grills are a classic for summer cookouts, Reynolds suggests creating an outdoor kitchen that can be just as big or as small as you’d like.

“Have you thought about including an outside cooktop, or just one burner so you can do a clam boil or stew or lobster?” Reynolds said. “Think about what appliances you use inside your kitchen that you could put outside. There are countertops and appliances made specifically for the outside, even outdoor refrigerators. They are great for storing hamburgers, hot dogs, condiments, beer or juice boxes for the kids.”

Regarding entertainment, some of Reynolds’ ideas range from outdoor games like bean toss that you can easily find at big box stores to tea carts so you can share drinks and snacks with friends. He also recommends setting up an outdoor gardening station or potting table for those with green thumbs that you can turn into a mini outdoor bar when entertaining.

Even if you don’t have much outdoor space, you can add plants, flowers or smaller furniture to create your own slice of the outdoors. And if you have a lot of space, hot tubs and pools could be fun investments. Reynolds suggests using screens or plants around spaces if privacy is a goal.

Of course, outdoor living isn’t always cheap. Reynolds advises getting at least two quotes on labor and multiple opinions. He also said that you don’t have to do a full outdoor remodel in one go: it might be more economical to buy things over time.

“Prioritize what you really want to do,” Reynolds said. “What would make you really enjoy the outdoors this year? Make a list of what you really want and then go through again to target what’s realistic.”

Reynolds also noted that some projects should be planned months ahead. He said a lot of homeowners don’t consider labor or appliance shortages, and especially with the pandemic, there have been delays in the shipping supply chain.

“If you really want something but it’s not available, maybe it’s worth the wait,” Reynolds said. “If you really want it and what you believe is the best, I’d suggest waiting for it. I think some people feel rushed in their decisions, but we want to make our clients comfortable.”

If you’d like to hear ideas more specific to your home and needs, reach out to Reynolds and the team at Insperiors. They have even more ideas they’re willing to share and are more than happy to help you design your dream home.

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