The move of expanding indoor space to the outdoors continues to grow. As part of that trend is the creation of more private areas that are room-like, complete with kitchens and fireplaces, according to Lori Pruitt of Summer Classics Home.
Today’s requirements for outdoor spaces are just about the same as those for indoor spaces, according to Gail Adkins of Change-Magic. “We need comfortable seating, adequate surfaces for food and drinks, and good lighting. And if space isn’t covered, then colorful umbrellas are essential,” Adkins says.
“Since people are using their outdoor spaces for entertaining, comfort and style are at the top of its list,” says Lori Pruitt of Summer Classic Homes. “With a wider selection of outdoor furniture styles, clients are no longer limited in their choices, and the same goes for the fabrics,” she says.
Pruitt adds, “I see a big movement away from just having a set of chairs on a patio to having a fully furnished ‘room’ complete with accessories, lighting, throw pillows, and rugs that all work together.”
Incorporating fireplaces, media centers, additional kitchen space, outdoor spaces serve much the same purpose as a family, says Adkins. “It’s a space to kick back and put up your feet,” she adds.
Absolute AV offers home automation services for the outdoors, according to Richard Frierson, including outdoor entertainment systems, lighting and shades, underwater sound, aqua optics, irrigation systems, and water features.
Ramcey Rodriguez of LightStyle Solutions says he is frequently asked to provide systems for controlling outdoor surroundings with motorized exterior shades to block the sun, heat, and UV rays to protect furnishings and make the outdoor spaces more comfortable.
Outdoor furnishings have expanded from Adirondack chairs or “disposable” faux wicker to incorporate resin-based wickers that are durable for years, and the use of aluminum in a variety of styles also extends furniture life. Today’s outdoor fabrics are designed to express the style choices and finishes found indoors and capable of lasting beautifully for many seasons.
Bringing ease to outdoor spaces as well as to indoor spaces demanding family-friendly finishes are new indoor-outdoor fabrics with textures, patterns, and colors to coordinate with any style, Adkins says.
Rory Rehmet of Pride Family Brands, an award-winning designer, and manufacturer of outdoor furnishings and accessories, says trends for 2016 include contemporary styling; luxurious, woodgrain looks in weather-resistant construction; sectional seating (including crescent-shaped arrangements), and fire pits and fire features.
One of the hottest trends—literally—for 2016 is the incorporation of warming features in outdoor spaces. From candles and tiki torches to fireplaces and lighting, products that lend physical and ambient warmth are in high demand.
Fire features not only add ambiance to an outdoor space but also provide heat and light that allows you to use your deck later into the evening and into the fall.
Doug Franklin of Lynn’s Patio Shop agrees that fire pits and fire tables are “incredibly popular” and says they draw family and friends to the outdoor living area. “There’s just something about the flame that captures the imagination,” he says.
Fire pits and fireplaces also provide great focal points and natural gathering spots for conversation and, of course, s’mores.
Outdoor kitchens have expanded over time, growing from a simple grill to grills that can handle whole turkeys, pizza ovens, and smokers. Cooking islands now incorporate refrigerators and sinks. The concept of outdoor cooking has grown far beyond a backyard barbecue, says Jeff Lunsford of Hearth & Grill Shop.
In agreement is Crystal Watson of Embers Grill & Fireplace Store. “Homeowners are hungry for fully-appointed kitchens with features like integrated trash bins, ice chests, and cabinetry that add convenience and luxury,” she says. “They also help to keep an outdoor space organized and reduce all those pesky trips back and forth into the house.” To help homeowners make the most of their outdoor kitchens, Embers offers cooking classes.
Bishop Hearth & Home offers a wide variety of products for outdoor living areas and kitchens including fireplaces, gas grills, smokers, pizza ovens, garden grills, and outdoor furniture.
Offering outdoor lighting, outdoor appliances, and more is Ferguson, which has four showrooms in the mid-state.
“Everyone loves the feeling of being outdoors,” says Darryl Myers of Mr. Enclosure Sunrooms. “Constructing a sunroom allows the homeowner that feeling 365 days a year. It adds a new dimension to the home, allowing the sunlight to fill the home without the heat, bugs, or weather.”
Myers adds that a sunroom can be whatever a homeowner wants it to be. “It can be a gathering room, an office, hobby room, playroom, pool or spa room, or just a cozy leisure room for family entertainment.
Sunroom owners generally say they discover the room is where everyone wants to retreat. “More people are seeking year ‘round living, a place for their morning coffee and evening relaxation,” says Myers.
Middle Tennessee homeowners are fans of the three-season sunroom, according to Shane Barber of Mid-Tenn Exteriors.
Myers adds that three-season sunrooms allow homeowners 9-10 months of enjoyment of the space without the added cost of making the room suitable for year-round ‘living.
In agreement is Mikele Goodchild of American Home Design, who adds, “Sunrooms allow area homeowners to extend the time they can enjoy the outdoors. Hot weather and bugs don’t have to drive you inside and crisp, cool days are more enjoyable with an enclosed, climate-controlled space that allows you to embrace the outdoor views.”
There are a variety of outdoor living sources in the Nashville area including:
American Home Design
Bishop Hearth & Home
Decorating Den Interiors
Embers Grill & Fireplace Store
Hearth & Grill Shop
Mid Tenn Exteriors
Pride Family Brands
Summer Classics Home