Living Large in your Outdoor Space
Top trends to inspire your exterior living spacesBy Brandpoint
Whether you have a yard at your home or a balcony off your condo, you can extend your living area outside. Outdoor living spaces ranked first among special function rooms desired by consumers, according to a 2017 survey by the American Institute for Architects. Here are some insights gleaned from homeowners, contractors and industry experts on related trends.
Among the biggest trends is a shift away from seasonality as consumers adopt more of a year-round mindset, no longer restricting outdoor living to the warmest months. Thanks to new high-performance materials and innovative design approaches, homeowners are transforming a range of outdoor spaces. For example, Trex has reported an uptick in requests for its RainEscape deck drainage system by clients adding multi-seasonal living space underneath elevated decks.
Among the hottest design influences right now is a feeling of coziness and comfort. This summer, outdoor spaces will beckon homeowners and their guests to relax and rejuvenate with thick, stylish cushions, inviting pergolas and firepits.
Hide and chic
With the increased usage of outdoor living spaces comes higher demand for chic decor and privacy. An easy design trick is to add lattice panels to enhance privacy and conceal storage areas or unsightly views. With styles ranging from romantic to deco, lattice panels can be integrated into any outdoor area and applied to structures such as arbors, trellises and gazebos, or used as decorative wainscoting or deck skirting.
Just because people are spending more time outdoors doesn’t mean they’re willing to put in extra hours for upkeep. In fact, high-maintenance materials like wood are seeing a decrease in demand as people are opting for offerings that deliver better performance.
On average, a pressure-treated wood deck costs less per square foot than a composite deck upfront. However, unlike wood, high-performance composites resist fading, staining, scratching, rotting, cracking and mold. No sanding, staining or painting is required, and food and drink spills wash off with soap and water.
Residential goes commercial
While railing matched to the decking remains popular, an increasing number of homeowners are utilizing decking and railing pairings in modern, metal finishes, as well as designs inspired by commercial architecture. More homeowners are inspired by outdoor spaces they find in commercial settings, such as hotels and urban rooftops, and want to replicate those looks in their homes. A prime example of this commercial-to-residential trend is the growing popularity of horizontal railings such as rod rail — a sleek, industrial look that’s ideal for optimizing a panoramic view.
Fun and games
Kids are not the only ones who enjoy playing outside. Outdoor play spaces for all ages are on the rise, including everything from regulation cornhole courts, horseshoe pits and embedded sandboxes to dedicated spaces for volleyball, badminton and bocce ball.
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