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The line between indoor and outdoor spaces continues to blur as many homeowners are electing to decorate the porch, patio, or sun room as a basic living space much as they would the kitchen or family room. These outdoor areas are becoming more sophisticated, a true extension of the indoor home.

So, where do you begin, and how do you master the design of flowing your indoor and outdoor spaces together? Here are a few things to take into consideration before creating the outdoor space of your dreams. First, start with a plan.

It’s generally a good idea to begin this planning process by first taking into consideration all the possible events your family will want to plan for when they use your new outdoor haven. Large gatherings and family events will call for one type of plan. And conversely, an outdoor space designed for two to relax and unwind will dictate a totally different set of priorities.

As you consider all the activities you want to accommodate in your new outdoor space, you might consider creating specific spaces for specific events. Activities such as outdoor cooking — on a grill or customized outdoor kitchen, might be best suited in one area — dining in another. And just as on the inside of your home, area rugs are a great way to help separate and definite spaces. Today’s selection of outdoor area rugs is wide and varied — in many shapes, sizes and colors.

Second, make sure you purchase furniture appropriate for the type of outdoor area you are planning. If your area is a sunroom, the furniture only needs to be sun and fade resistant. If on the other hand you are planning a patio with little to no cover, you will need outdoor furniture tailored to harsh sun, wind and other outdoor elements. Manufactures have categories such as “Outdoor Limited Exposure” and “Outdoor Weatherproof.”

Lastly, make the area your own. You can be bolder with color alongside Mother Nature. The durable outdoor fabrics that are available today come in many patterns and vivid colors. Creating an elegant outdoor space is allocating time to plan and an investment in design that will make an anchor space; the space where family gathers, shares and remembers forever.

ANGELA ROWE, DDCD is Owner and Interior Designer of Decorating Den Interiors.

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