Archives for April 2008

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

this old house

One of the things that really contributes to the success of an outdoor room, in my opinion, is when there is a certain amount of privacy. After all, when you are in your house you have both walls and windows. I think the same should be true with the outside. My husband and I have always had a notion that outdoor rooms should be closed off enough to offer the feeling that you are in your own private world, but be open enough to let others have the tiniest peek of what is inside. I think it is part of our romantic notion of living a fairytale life. When you can steal a little glimpse of something beautiful as you pass by, but not see the entire scene, it leaves room for imagination and draws others to the space.

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

house to home

By leaving portions of your rooms open, you are also allowing the room to be connected to the beauty that might surround the room. There is no need to close off a room if the mountains beyond are fantastic, if your neighbor’s cherry tree can be framed to be a part of your view, or if you want to be able to have neighborly conversations with those who pass by your front porch.

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

house beautiful

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

southern living by jean allsopp

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

house to home

Each space will be different in its need for privacy or openness. But with the right balance, your space will feel intimate and cozy enough to entice you into the space without making you feel claustrophobic once you get there.

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

house to home

Borders are what give an outdoor room a sense of enclosure. And without definition, we lose the sense of the space being a room. By using things like the side of the house, shrubs, potted plants or trees, benches, trellises, small posts, ropes, lattice screens, lanterns or fences to create various borders, we can start to create definition in a space. You can really be creative here in what you use to define a room’s border.


Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

house to home

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

Homes and Gardens

I like to allow spaces to unfold as one wanders from room to room, rather than revealing the entire space all at once. This can make your space seem bigger than it is, leaving it a bit of a mystery as to where the yard really ends.

Outdoor Rooms: Creating the Borders

House Beautiful

Inspiring Ideas: The Shape of Things

Inspiring Ideas: The Shape of Things

DECORATING MISCONCEPTION:
A common misconception with decorating is that if you love everything in your room, your room will magically work as a whole. I get calls all the time from clients who say “I know what I like, and I buy what I love, but when I get it home I am disappointed that it doesn’t work.” Buying what you love is generally a good idea, but to really make a room feel right, there are more things to consider than love. If it were only that simple! It isn’t always about loving everything you have, it is about how things work together. Decorating a room is like putting together a puzzle, and finding the correct shape of the pieces determines your success.

CONSIDER THE SHAPE OF THINGS:
One of the tips I often share with clients is that you need to consider the shape of things when you put together a room. So often rooms are made up of mostly rectangles. Rooms are rectangles, we have rectangular couches, chairs, coffee tables, end tables and rectangular rugs. We might love each and every thing in a room, but still the room feels awkward and uncomfortable. Sometimes the reason it feels this way is because traffic through the room doesn’t flow properly if there are too many sharp angles. Especially in walkways, small rooms or tight spaces. Adding things that are rounded will make a world of difference in how the room will ultimately feel. Rounded backs on chairs, round ottomans, round rugs, curved corners and round tables will create a sense of movement that can transform a room into one that is more comfortable to move around in and more pleasing to the eye.

BONUS FURNITURE ARRANGING TIP:
Interestingly, some decorators put everything in a room on an angle in order to create drama and movement, as well as to get that “WOW THIS ROOM LOOKS DIFFERENT” experience. They place a rug on a diagonal and all the furnishings diagonally in a room. Let me just say here that while it does make the room look different, you want to be careful that you are not creating nausea with the new angles. A bunch of rectangles crooked in a room still can look awkward. Turning pieces of furniture in different directions can revitalize a space, and oftentimes some pieces do in fact look better at an angle, but I would proceed with caution if anyone tells you to turn your entire room on the diagonal. You might just end up seasick. If your room is awkwardly shaped and things feel uncomfortable, try adding in rounded pieces instead.

photo: Traditional Home online

Inspiring Ideas: The Shape of Things
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