This is the time of year that we can use our outdoor spaces as extensions of our homes.  Whether you live in a beautiful beach community in sunny California or New England, we all thrive when we’re connected to the outdoors.  In fact, it’s even scientifically proven that we’re happier when we are part of nature.  So, get inspired by these awesome, outdoor living rooms and see if you can incorporate some of these design ideas into your own backyard.

Cover design by Hutker Architects

A Room Outside

This self-contained backyard is the epitome of outdoor living.  The yard is just an extension of the main home.  And the side and back fences define the space, making it feel like a room without a roof.  In bad weather, the beautifully landscaped space still acts as the visual extension of the interior living room.  Design by Yamamar Design

Modern, Simple, and Pure

This outdoor space designed by Hariri + Hariri  Architects reflects the overall design of the home.  Clutter is left out of this minimal design and lets us focus on ourselves – kind of like a spa retreat.

 

Making Connections

Although this breakfast nook is technically inside the home, the design makes us feel that we are directly connected to the outdoors.  Simple windows with minimal sight lines allow the view to flow easily back and forth.  Here’s a design tip: our eyes see through dark objects easier than light objects. Hence, the dark window mullions and frames almost seem to disappear.  Design by M. Elle Design

Add a Roof to Define a Space

This terrace design by Matt Fajkus Architecture incorporates a beautifully crafted pergola as part of the design.  This pergola does two very important things. First, it provides the necessary shade for warm Austin afternoons and second, it defines the outdoor space.  Our brains perceive the “roof” overhead and we feel like we are in a room – just a clever extension of the main living space.

Create a Focus to Help Connect

The simple idea of adding a focus to your outdoor space provides a mental connection between inside and out.  This outdoor space designed by Klopf Architecture offers a beautiful fire pit as a focal point.  When inside, we want to go out to feel its warmth, sit with friends and talk.

Your Home is the Backdrop to Your Life

And, in the case of this design, the home is the backdrop to the outdoor spaces.  The home itself, along with the yard, becomes part of the view.  An outdoor fireplace centers the terrace and becomes the place we all want to gather around on those late summer evenings.  Design by Hutker Architects

Furnish Your Outdoors Like Your Indoors

M. Elle Design has furnished this awesome terrace with furniture that would work just as well inside.  By using indoor furniture outside, we make the space feel more like a room. It’s cozy, inviting, and perfect for morning coffee.  Plus, the pergola helps define the outdoor room even more.

Create a Retreat

This little gem sits proudly in the yard free and clear from the home, giving it an added level of importance.  By adding the pergola and by raising the deck, we know this is a special place.  Surround it with the lush landscape and you have a keeper.  Design by Lillian Montalvo Landsape Design

Walls and Focal Point Create an Intimate Outdoor Room

This outdoor space designed by Building Lab incorporates two of the elements mentioned above – walls and focus.  The combination creates a wonderfully intimate space that is a clear extension of the interior living space.  We are drawn to the fire while the walls focus our attention on each other.  There are no distractions as far as views are concerned. Instead, we are gently coaxed into conversing with one another.

Small Space Makes a Big Impact

We just love the way this modest sized deck accommodates various forms of socializing with one another.  Note the seating bar at the window.  During nice weather, this window can be fully opened to allow guests a perfect vantage point to converse with the host inside. It’s a pretty cool solution for a fairly tight space.  Oh, and by the way, hanging out among the tree limbs is not a bad way to connect oneself with nature.  Design by Turn Design

When is a Room Not a Room

This outdoor living room is literally connected to the home with a roof and all the comforts we come to expect from an interior space.  When the weather is right, just slide a few doors, and you have an outdoor space to die for.  Add some screens to those doors and you can create a wonderful room for almost any environment.  Note how the fireplace draws us to that end of the room where we can just sit for awhile.  Interior Design by Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design