Most patios are underused. They’re a convenient location for the barbeque, so most of their use centers around cooking and eating. Which is great, but a patio can be so much more. A little planning can transform even a small patio into a vibrant outdoor room.
The Indoor/Outdoor Transition
Patios are often underused because people don’t really consider them part of the house. Smoothing the transition between indoor and outdoor spaces encourages people to use the patio. Continuing colors and themes from the indoor room out in the patio is a great way to merge the two spaces.
The connection can be as subtle as a vase of flowers indoors cut from the flower beds surrounding the patio. If your indoor space uses blue tile, perhaps continue the color scheme outdoors with blue patio furniture cushions. The goal is to visually connect the patio with the inside of the home, so it no longer feels cut off from the rest of the house.
Every room in your home has a function, whether it’s the kitchen, the dining room or the den. What function does your patio have? Sure, there’s the outdoor BBQ and summertime eating, but what other function could the space serve?
Position some chairs facing each other in a shady corner, and you’ve got a coffee and conversation area. Make sure the chairs are comfy, and you’ve also got a shady reading nook.
Add a fire pit or chiminea and suddenly you extend your patio use well into the fall, as well as providing a focal point for the outdoor room. Hang a hammock in the corner, and you’ve got a wonderful place to nap on a hot day — or to sleep outside when the weather permits.
Wiring and Lighting
Adding some lighting and electric outlets probably does more to increase patio use than any other renovations. Use soft lights for a romantic mood, but include brighter lights for times when you want to read or work in the evening. An indoor dimmer switch allows you to quickly change the patio’s lighting and mood.
A couple of outdoor electric outlets provide you with all manner of patio options, from plugging in extra lighting to recharging your laptop or hauling out the old TV to watch the Big Game outside. Convenience and comfort make your patio a place family and friends will naturally gravitate towards.