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Create a beautiful & functional outdoor room
Furniture completes an outdoor room. - photo by Photo Contributed

As the weather warms and the days grow longer, who doesn’t happily anticipate opening windows and doors to let the fresh air in? And once we think about bringing the outdoors in, our imagination naturally goes the other way, as well - bringing the indoors out. It seems that our love affair with backyard entertaining heats up around this time every year. Whether it’s a quiet family meal under the stars or a backyard barbecue for dozens, the appeal of outdoor living is undeniable.

Home improvement expert Leslie Segrete says: “Your outdoor space doesn’t have to be uncomfortable just because your favorite couch isn’t there. With an expanded selection of outdoor pieces available now - and at all price points - it’s easier than ever to set up a charming space that can serve as the perfect backdrop for small family gatherings or the big neighborhood bash.”

Segrete offers some advice on how to create a beautiful, functional - and most importantly affordable - outdoor room no matter what your color scheme, whether it’s apple green, citrus orange or other hot colors of the moment. With just a little work, your outdoor area will be the family’s favorite gathering spot from spring through fall.

1. Start with the basics.

The hot trend right now is to make your outdoor space as put together as your indoor living spaces. Kmart’s Country Living collection offers a large selection of beautiful and versatile patio furniture at an incredible value that will enable anyone to transform whatever space they have into an inviting outdoor living area. Whether it’s upholstered cushions, a fast-drying sling chair, items made from resin, aluminum or steel, there is something available to suit every taste and every budget. And with the coordinated sets that are readily available, one doesn’t have to be an interior designer to put together a beautifully designed space.

2. Follow the same design rules you use in your home.

Look for big items (such as sofa and chairs) in a neutral palette and add a pop of color with accessories. For example, cushions can provide a welcome splash of color, as well as make the space more comfortable and inviting. Just as it is in indoor spaces, lighting your outdoor space is key: Add a lighted chandelier or string a few party lights to illuminate the area. An outdoor fire pit can provide heating and light at the same time; it’s a perfect addition for when the evenings are still cool.

3. Consider how the space will be used.

If your entertaining will be primarily adult-centric dinners and gatherings, you can decorate your space in a more polished way. If, however, your shindigs will be kid-friendly family affairs, a more rugged, irreverent vibe (with all unbreakable accessories) may be the way to go. For smaller areas, Kmart’s bistro set would be ideal, and there are furniture sets that would be perfect for a larger dining area, a bar setup or simply a comfortable seating area. For music, find one of the many portable iPod speakers on the market - these can be whimsical and fun or smart and chic, whichever matches the tone you’ve set in your space.

4. Don’t be afraid to use design in your landscaping.

For an outdoor space, landscaping is a fantastic way to expand your color palette. Perennial flowers and shrubs cost more in the short term, but will last for years. Maximize annuals, as well; they are a great way to add a splash (or two) of color. You can choose interesting planters, such as copper pots or eco-planters, or decorative plant stands to create a focal point.

Remember, you already have beautiful greenery to set the stage, and you don’t have to break the bank to create a gorgeous outdoor space that will be like adding a room to your house for six to eight months of the year.

Whatever your personal style, and however you plan to use your newly designed outdoor room, making the space an appealing destination will ensure that you and your family and friends will be clamoring for the warm weather - and the good company and fun to be had in your new backyard entertainment spot.