If you’re following us on Facebook, you probably caught a glimpse of the absolutely stunning outdoor living spaces at the Bay Park home we recently staged. Planning and pulling items for that job are actually what inspired this post because, well, I LOVE summer. I love everything about it…the morning air, the night air, how the light changes and (most importantly) spending time outdoors. Even on a really hot day, there’s usually at least one opportunity to enjoy time outside my house. And since summer in Southern California really lasts six months or more, expanding our living spaces to include the outdoors only makes sense!
Whether you have a tiny balcony or an expansive yard, there are plenty of ways to create a space that will allow you to revel in the seasonal warmth. However, it’s essential that you consider how much space you have before purchasing outdoor furniture.
As with any design decision, form should follow function. Take some time to think about how you will use your outdoor space – will it be for dining, lounging or both? Do you long to have a spot to sip your morning coffee in the breeze before starting your hectic day?
Once you’ve defined the use of the space, the first thing to do is measure it – but not just the exterior dimensions. If you want both seating and dining areas, you’ll want to map out how much space you can devote to each function. You’ll also need to allow room around your outdoor furniture for easy access and flow.
Now that you have your space(s) allocated, you’ll have a sense of the scale of the furniture that will be appropriate. One of the unfortunate mistakes I see people make is purchasing items that are too large for a space – which, ultimately, makes it less enjoyable. It’s really not going to be comfortable for you, or your guests, if it’s difficult to get up from a table or it’s hard to squeeze between chairs to retrieve a drink!
Fortunately, many stores are now offering a variety of sizes and options for outdoor furniture – some even have a “small space set” filter to search by.
Some things to keep in mind while you’re shopping for that perfect dining or seating set: 1) review a handy diagram like this one for table dimensions – and then add at least 24-26 inches from the outside dimension for chairs. 2) Allow about 18 inches between a sofa or chairs and a coffee table – this is crucial space for the comfort of knees!
To finish off your new usable space, include an outdoor rug, which will add an additional element of definition and color. Then sit back, relax and enjoy!