How to Create an Outdoor Room at Home


8 tips for adding great value to your home

With increasing property values today, consider investing in an outdoor space, as it can really add value to your home. Outdoor spaces have become one of the most sought after home additions while creating another enjoyable room for entertaining your family and friends.

Creating this new outdoor room can be as simple as adding comfortable lounge furniture to a deck. You can also go as elaborate as building a structure that allows you to create cover from the weather (for at least three seasons).

Here are some ideas for creating an outdoor space that will be comfortable, functional and valuable, depending on your budget and lifestyle.

Review what you have



Assess whether or not you can create an outdoor space on an existing deck or patio. If the deck is in good condition and is ready to go, look for pre-made umbrellas or pop-up canvas cabanas that can be added to the deck surface temporarily to provide different ‘spaces’ within the larger deck area.

If you are building from scratch, determine where your seating area will go, are you going to add a small kitchen or BBQ area or simply a lounge space? If this is an elaborate job, enlist the help of an interior designer! Believe it or not, you are actually creating an outdoor space with all the function and flow of an indoor space. Designers will assist in how flow and sizing will work. Then discuss their plan with a licensed contractor.

If you live in a condo and are working with a balcony, check what the condo by-laws allow. Many have rules about BBQs, flooring and furniture size and weight.

Consider adding a fireplace or heating element to the seating area


Even in the best climates, parts of North America can become chilly at night. If your municipality allows it, consider adding a gas fireplace, as this can really help with warmth and ambiance. If this isn’t possible, look for patio heaters, as these can extend your time outdoors when cooler days become the norm. Check out Napoleon Fireplaces.

Add a dining area


Greige Design

Although you may not eat outdoors regularly, it can be the best way to entertain large groups and enjoy the season. After all, it keeps the mess and guests out of the house! When adding a table, remember that there must be enough space to allow the chairs to be pulled out from the table. To get the ideal amount of space needed, take the width of the table and allow 4′ to either side of the table. This allows for someone to sit in a chair and then push away from the table. So, in a best-case scenario, you would have about a 12’‎ wide area with a 48″ wide table. Not everyone has this kind of space, but it does give you an idea of the room required. This is the ideal sizing; if you have less space than this, rethink the table size and placement.

Don’t forget, a pedestal table is going to work better than a table with legs, as more chairs can fit around this style.

For furniture ideas look at Hauser or Windergarden.

Consider an outdoor kitchen



An outdoor kitchen ranks high with resale homes, but it can be a costly addition. If it is in your budget, go for it! Usually, this will include a built-in BBQ grill, potentially an additional burner and cold drawers or fridge. A sink and facet are also a possibility; again check with your municipality.

When adding a BBQ, locate it away from the seating area or where smoke will be a problem. It should have a clear path to the house and counter area around it for cooking and prep. If it is in a covered area, consider an overhang that’s deeper than normal to ensure rain won’t hit the grill on less than perfect weather days.

Select stainless steel product and stone veneer cladding, as this will have the longest life span outdoors. We love Subzero-wolf, Alfresco Grills and Contur.

Think comfort in seating



Gone are the days of uncomfortable patio chairs with sticky vinyl pads. Today, full sectionals and chaise lounges are the norm with Sunbrella fabric and plush cushions in colours designed to coordinate with indoor schemes. Test drive a sofa before purchasing it to make sure it’s comfortable for the type of lounging you plan to do. If your furniture is going to remain outside all year, think about resin, as it’s very good in wet and cold climates.

If you plan to furnish a condo balcony, check that this is allowed and that the furniture won’t blow off in high winds, which can be an ongoing problem on higher floors.

For a high-end option, look at Andrew Richards Designs. For a well-priced choice, check out Canadian Tire.

Invest in an area carpet


Chilewich Rugs

To really get the comfort of indoors on your outdoor floor, purchase a carpet made for outdoors. There are lots of choices including Chilewich or an indoor/outdoor broadloom. Most of these can remain outdoors all year.

Explore outdoor media hardware


Sunbrite TV

Believe it or not, there are TVs that can remain outdoors all season long! Companies like Sunbrite TV make equipment that can withstand snow and rain, giving you an opportunity to create a fully functionally exterior space. ‎Sonos speaker systems allow you to bring your music out with you and play it from your iPad or iPhone. The possibilities are endless.

‎Install outdoor lighting


No matter how minimally you wish to invest in your outdoor space, be sure to add lighting. This can be as simple as ‎mini lights or ‘patio lanterns’ hung around a railing or strung above the area. Even floor lanterns with battery-lit candles add inexpensive and lovely mood lighting. LED rope lighting can be hidden within structures to create a glow or indirect lighting.

Soffit and landscape lighting can add another dimension to an outdoor room and create pools of soft light that create focal points at night. Add uplighting to the base of trees for a mysterious feel in the evening and soffit lighting above doors and windows of sheds or structures to punctuate other buildings on the property.

With an outdoor kitchen or bar, be sure to add enough lighting for working when the sun goes down. This may mean an overhead pendant light or permanent electrical fixture so this area can be used all year round.

No matter what element you add to your outdoors, permanent or temporary, it is now considered a good investment to make, not only financially but also emotionally. Nothing beats enjoying the sunshine and relaxing when right at home!