By: Mary Rink

You’ve heard the saying “bring the outdoors in,” but spring and summer are the perfect times to bring the indoors out, adding another room to your home!

Now that gardens are taking shape and developing color, so too should your outdoor space.

Even if you don’t have an actual covered patio or a deck, you can easily create the feel of a room by using your imagination. Make use of furnishings and lighting already in your home to enhance your favorite corner of the yard.

Find inspiration in photos to spark your creativity and design a cozy outdoor seating area perfect for your next get-together.

A Place to Begin

Start with a focal point. It could be a large beautiful tree, a trellis with a climbing rose, a fountain, a garden or a pond.

Create a Color Scheme

If you have specific colors in your garden, incorporate them into your outdoor space. It is also a good idea to use some of the colors in the interior room closest to the outdoor space to create a feeling of unity.

Think about Your Furnishings

Furniture is now made for both indoor and outdoor use, as are rugs and fabrics! Options vary: weather-proof wicker, teak (mold, rot and insect resistant) and UV-protected simulated wood or cast-aluminum.

You can create a seating arrangement that looks as comfy and inviting as your own family room! The goal is to create a conversation area with your furniture arrangement. A popular way to accomplish this is with “chat sets” that come in countless matching pieces, making it easy to create an outdoor room. You can select side tables, end tables and chaise lounges that all coordinate with the set.

If you like to hunt for treasures, simply peruse antique stores (the Historic Square in downtown McKinney is full of wonderful shops!) or visit rummage sales for wicker chairs, a picnic bench, Adirondack chairs, a bistro set, etc. Don’t be afraid to blend furnishings!

Use Accents from Your Home

Pull accents from around your house such as baskets, hurricane lamps, candlesticks, ceramic water pitchers (pretty for adding freshly cut flowers), mirrors, netting, birdcages, etc. Choose items for the outside that you enjoy having in your indoor rooms.

Bring on the layers; tablecloths, pillows, drapery panels, candles, potted plants, wrought iron wall art, hanging lanterns, chandeliers with candles, etc.

Add an Outdoor Rug

Place a rug under the seating arrangement in a hue that coordinates with your color scheme. This will help anchor your focal area as well as provide a great opportunity to add more color! Otherwise, anchor the area by using a variety of large and small potted planters around the setting.

If you have a covered patio or pergola, add outdoor fabric panels to create a sense of intimacy and privacy.

In covered, protected areas you can add artwork, outdoor table lamps and floor lamps, electric chandeliers and ceiling fans.

Now pour yourself a glass of tea, and enjoy!

About the author: Mary Rink is owner of The Decorating Rink, which offers interior redesign and home staging services in McKinney.