The Great Outdoors

By Vanessa Deleon

As the temperature warms, we all know that spring is the official start of outdoor living. The outdoor experience includes backyards, front porches, terraces, rooftops and much more. This is the space many spend the majority of time during the warmer season. However, creating the perfect outdoor space can be challenging. The first thing is for your interior personality to continue onto the exterior of the home. Here are a few tips to help when designing your outdoor space.


1. Function. Comfort. Measure.
Find furniture that’s functional for the space. It is important to measure and figure out if the items will fit. If the space is too small, scale back. Don’t cram furniture into the space. It is just as important to test the furniture for comfort. If it’s comfortable and fits, you’re on your way to spending a great time outdoors.

2. Invest in quality outdoor furniture.
The old adage “I’m not rich enough to buy cheap” is true. Invest in good quality outdoor furniture, the kind that won’t rust or break because the legs on the chair are thin or the colors fade the first year. When shopping, check consumer reports and reviews before making your final decision.

3. Outdoor furniture needs a little TLC.
Just because it’s outdoor furniture, does not mean you will always leave it outdoors. Keeping the furniture under an awning or umbrella can make a difference and may add longevity. Take note that some outdoor furniture companies offer covers when ready for storage.

4. Make each space unique.
If you have several outdoor spaces, consider making each unique. Nowadays, there are many choices. Some outdoor furniture can be hard to distinguish if it is intended for indoors or out. If the space allows it, you can create a reading area with a bird cage swing, hammock or a love seat.


5. Add some warmth for chilly nights.
Spring is the start of favorable weather, sure, but evenings can prove to be chilly. If the space allows, try a built-in-fireplace. For smaller spaces, you might consider a free-standing lamp, elevated fire-pit, or heat lamps for the alfresco-look. 

6. Add overhead lighting.
Extend the outdoor living space by adding a pergola, trellis, or a custom-made overhang—these help provide some shade. You can get creative and hang some cool string LED lanterns. Don’t be afraid to use your favorite light fixture outdoors. I have a beautiful chandelier hanging from my trellis in the backyard.

7. Don’t forget about appliances.
If you are planning on entertaining a lot, make a list of appliances you might want for an outdoor kitchen. Having a full kitchen outdoors is convenient. I love my under-the-counter fridge that’s located right next to the barbecue and outdoor sink. 

Vanessa DeLeon
Vanessa DeLeon Associates
Vanessa’s inspiration is rooted in her cultural composition. Her award-winning work combines modern, stylized designs with classic décor. She has become an influencer in the interior design space, specializing in high-end residential homes, commercial venues and hospitality spaces.