Outdoor Room: A Retreat
Oh dear I’m behind on posting about this porch. It was such a simple makeover but I’ve had one trouble after another this summer trying to get this photographed. Weather, surgeries, you name it. Finally I just said to myself this weekend, you have GOT to take photos even if it is gray and dreary. And of course, it was gray and dreary. But, now you can imagine life here in the NW. Some beautiful days, some gray days. But at least we don’t really have 110 degree days. #grateful
Every summer since I’ve lived in this house, I’ve tried to have a little place on my porch to retreat from the world. Basically that involved simply having a small table and a couple of chairs.
I did use my porch last summer for drinking coffee or working at the table, but I knew if I was going to really be able to relax and escape from the world, it would need to be even more comfortable.
Here is how it was the first year I moved in (see above). Fine but not very comfortable or finished feeling.
So this was my summer to make a giant leap ahead on this covered front porch!
Thanks to help from Lowe’s, I’m well on my way to completing this space. It was pretty much going to be only a weekend project, I didn’t want anything complicated or time consuming for this summer. The only thing really left to do is to cover a few throw pillows and paint my front door. Those last items will be revealed soon! But for now, let’s see what I’ve been working on so far!
Here are 7 tips I used in creating my outdoor room.
Tip One: Dream of Ambience.
Here is what I imagined before I started redoing my porch:
When I walked out my front door, I wanted to feel like I was at a resort at a far away lodge on a tropical island.
I know, I do have vivid dreams about ambience. Ha. That is tip number 1 for me. I need to create an escape in my mind.
So I imagined a lodge style tropical retreat since my house is a craftsman style, I wanted the style to enhance what I already had going on with the exterior features.
Tip Two: Make it Comfortable & Functional.
Enter my shopping trip to Lowe’s. I spotted some very comfortable outdoor chairs I knew would be PERFECT for the “tropical resort” feel I was going for. And can I tell you that they are EXACTLY what I had hoped they would be? They are a magnet for me nearly every day, and that means this porch gets used a lot! Even if I am only out there for a few moments, I seriously feel like I have had a mini-vacation! They are so comfortable and look great.
I found this set of nesting tables at Lowe’s as well. I love that I can pull them around the porch to use as a place for food and drink, a laptop or just a surface for accessories. Functional and cute!
Tip Three: Lay the right foundation.
In order to create the effect of a true outdoor room, I knew I’d want a rug. But like I said, in the NW, with all the rain and occasional wind combined with the wonderful trees we have here, lots of things fall from the sky. Little pieces of trees and plants are always on the ground.
I knew it was going to always look messy unless I found a stylish “debris concealing” rug. And Lowe’s had just the right one for me, it is so easy to clean too! This rug pulled the whole “room” together and grounded it so it feels cozy and comfortable.
Tip Four: Lighting makes the room beautiful, even at night.
Even though this is an outdoor room that I hoped to use a lot in the day time, I wanted to make sure it was also inviting at night. It is also the place where you first enter our home and we often have guests over in the evenings.
I already had an awesome lantern hanging from the porch ceiling, but with the additions of a few candle lanterns and string lights the whole space is lit up at dusk with beautiful soft flickering light. I use battery operated candles in many of the lanterns to make it safe.
Tip Five: Plants bring life and serenity to the room.
I wanted to bring even more of the retreat feeling to my space through plants. A couple of palm trees brought a nice tropical ambience that I am LOVING. The fronds blowing in the breeze add so much to the feeling of this room! I also have ferns, a hydrangea, succulents, and a variety of small creeping type plants.
Tip Six: Texture gives the space character.
When I saw a river rock style planter at Lowe’s I knew I HAD TO HAVE IT. The texture it brings really transforms everything about this space, giving it a richer more spa like feeling I love. And the very textural hanging reed basket filled with ferns adds character like a window box! I also adore hydrangeas in a woven basket. Don’t you LOVE hydrangeas? I just think they are so beautiful.
Tip Seven: Accessories make the room.
Last but not least, no room is complete without the accessories. A weather vane, bird cage, a shabby mirror, an old fireplace log holder, a wooden crate filled with fun plants and miniature accessories, another container of succulents, rocks and shells, throw pillows … they all bring personality and conversation to this comfortable retreat.
Next up in this project, I have pretty and colorful fabric to SEW more throw PILLOWS for this porch and some for my back deck! More reveals to come, I created another little space outdoors I’m pretty tickled over so I’ll show you that this week too!
Thanks to Lowe’s for providing the following items for this room:
Chairs and nesting tables
Many of the lanterns
Reed window basket
River Rock planter
UPDATE! See my 2014 updated front porch here (and below).