Outdoor Living Space Mistakes: What Not to Do

Oh, summer. Season for dusk cocktails and barefoot picnics on the porch. But is your outdoor living space ready? We interviewed professional designers to identify the most common mistakes people make outdoors. And there are way more exterior design issues than not using barbecue sauce-proof outdoor fabric.

No furniture covers

“Call me OCD but I can’t stand people buying outdoor furniture and not buying the furniture covers to match,” complains Becky Shea. I’m all about longevity and making sure every piece lasts as long as possible, so be sure to protect your pieces by buying what you need to protect them in bad weather!

An outdoor space signed Jean Liu mixes furniture (and cushions!) for a finished look.

Stephen Karlisch

Too much matchy-matchy

John Liu biggest pet peeve? “Buy a set of furniture!” For whatever reason, we’re seeing customers default back to the ‘Rooms To Go’ mentality when it comes to outdoor spaces,” she says. “Keep it personal and interesting by mixing and matching.” (Just like you would with an interior room!)

Not enough surfaces

“There often aren’t enough end tables, and one thing people do when they’re outside is eat and drink,” points out Janice Parker. Comfortable seating with plenty of side tables and coffee tables is very important. These don’t have to be matched and, in fact, they’re more fun when they don’t!”

Overheated metal

Although metal is a material of choice for patio furniture, be careful how you use it, advises Courtney Sempliner: “Aluminum absorbs heat from the sun, and that’s a big mistake. This doesn’t work for chairs, side tables, or accent pieces that are directly exposed to heat and that you and your guests will touch.”

Messy sheets

We love a leafy garden, but be aware of what you put near flora loss. “If you have a tree that loses needles, petals or fruit, they can stain your outdoor cushions and the space will never look like you dreamed it up,” warns Kristen Nix. “These areas require a durable material with no cushion or evergreen! »

Model overload

“Too many different types of furniture and fabrics is a mistake,” says Todd Richesin. “There’s already so much going on outside, including an ever-changing display of foliage and sky colors. Furniture should be simple – some type of something, whether it’s wicker, wood or metal – all upholstered in the same fabric. Throw a cushion into the mix for extra punch.

Not enough air

Although we love an outside breeze, sometimes (especially in the height of summer!) you need a little more. “Sometimes people forget to consider a fan instead of a pendant light,” says Ashley Daryl. “For the outdoor living room, it’s always nice to have a ceiling fan – in those months with warm temperatures, it’s a real treat to be able to turn on the fan and keep the bugs away!”

Seat too low

For your outdoor space to be welcoming, the furniture must be comfortable. “I’ve seen too many recent options with seats that are too low off the ground,” says Allie Mann. Make sure your outdoor seat is the right height: between 18 and 23 inches off the ground is comfortable for most people. »

outdoor fireplace
An outdoor fireplace by Alison Pickart.

Edin Kunkel

modern outdoor fireplace
A modern outdoor fireplace by Studio Shamshiri.

Amy Neunsinger

Not enough heat

“Here in Los Angeles, temperatures can drop 30 degrees or more from day to night,” says Greg Roth of Build before the house. To get the most out of your outdoor space, make sure it’s equally comfortable in different temperatures: “If you don’t plan ahead, installing outdoor heaters can mean unattractive exposed ductwork or inefficient portable heaters that get in the way.Plan ahead, and you can have an evenly and comfortably heated outdoor entertaining space all year round!If you don’t want to go with built-in heaters, consider an outdoor fireplace, like these -above.

Too much padding

The great thing about performance fabrics is that they allow almost any type of furniture to go indoor-outdoor, but that doesn’t mean they should, says Billy Ceglia: “Too many heavily padded pieces! I’m all for comfort, but when it really feels like you’ve moved your living room onto your patio, it’s starting to feel a bit strange…and the thought of what could live in all those cushions and stuffing……oy!”

The wrong fabrics

When choosing performance fabrics, be aware of the specifics: “Use an ‘outdoor’ fabric that is not solution-dyed acrylic is a big mistake,” says JP Horton. “Many companies print on flooring that is safe for outdoor use, but the print will fade over time as it is applied locally. In solution dyed fabrics, the color is inherent in the yarn itself and you can even bleach them. Get a overview of performance fabrics here.

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