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BRIANA: Here’s a seasonable topic from our own Camille: Outdoor living rooms. It seems like people are making their decks, patios and yards more elaborate and bringing all the comforts of the indoors outside. There are plenty of beautiful examples of this trend, like this cabana, but what are your personal feelings on elaborate outdoor living rooms? Are living rooms even greater in the great outdoors or are they big wastes of space?

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Image: Courtesy of Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

MEG: That cabana makes me want to lounge outside in a caftan with a turban on my head and a spritzer in my hand all day long. I think it’s crucial to create spaces in your home that are intended for rest, relaxation, and time spent outdoors. The more we can make our homes invite that type of chill vibe, the better! If I had a backyard big enough to hold my own cabana, you better believe I’d be on that in a heartbeat. And let’s just ASSUME a hammock is involved, okay?

GRANT: I’d love to have a space like this, but l always wonder where the people put all this mess after the photo op is finished.

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Design: Jamie Durie

As it is, my tiny outdoor set gets so dirty so fast and I’m super resentful of the citronella candles I need to bring inside.

FARIMA: I use my tiny, dinky screened-in deck all the time – when I’m eating dinner, hosting a party or just because it’s a beautiful day. If I had a really nice outdoor room, I don’t think I would spend much time indoors.

KAYLA: I only have three awning windows providing sunlight into my floor-to-ceiling concrete loft, so sometimes my place feels like a jail cell when the weather goes south. If I had even a tiny outdoor space, I’m not sure I would ever go inside. I find myself getting caught up in outdoor furnishings and then realizing, “Oh yeah, I have absolutely no reason to add these to my shopping cart…” Womp. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a locale with beautiful year-round weather, wouldn’t you deck out a space you could enjoy January through December? I would.

Me in the mornings: http://heavyeditorial.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/conair.gif?w=640

MEG: Same here. After living for years with no outdoor space, I now have a beautiful balcony that overlooks our shared garden and backyard. I take any chance I can to sit and drink coffee or read out there, it’s a total game-changer. Having outdoor space invites those zen moments in your day-to-day life, and it has really enhanced and improved the quality of my life. I fully support maximizing these spaces in whatever way encourages you to get out there and enjoy it. I’ve added window boxes with flowers, potted plants, Tibetan bells, and a constellation votive holder. All of these little touches make the balcony feel like an extension of our home and I am in love with it.

P.S. All I really want out of life is The Golden Girls lanai.

JESSICA: I’m thinking I’m required by law to say outdoor rooms are the bee’s knees. However, I can barely keep up with properly furnishing my indoor space. I finally bought a couch last week. (For those of you keeping score, I moved to Atlanta almost a year ago.) I sympathize with neglected lawn-owners across the country. I’m also very limited on outdoor space — my balcony has room for maybe two chairs and that’s it. And even then they’ll be competing with a hoarder corner of gardening supplies.

::cue “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid::

What would I give, if I could live inside of this photo…

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Image: Jamie Rector

What would I pay, to spend a day warming by this fire pit….

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Image: Jamie Rector

I’ll stop. But you get the point.

TREVOR: I prefer sunrooms to actual outdoor spaces. Maybe because I don’t have to worry about the rain ruining everything, or storing everything during the winter months like Grant said. They just seem more accessible to me. But maybe we should all just move down to the Keys so we can enjoy an outdoor space year round. I’m game.

KELLEY: When I moved into my little 1970s rancher, I had a 14 x 17 patio on the back that did nothing but collect the baking heat in the afternoon. So I put a screened porch on it and outfitted it with Craigslist finds and stuff from my garage. It’s still not quite HGTV-worthy (My pillows don’t match! My “hey y’all” sign isn’t quite working on that wall!) but OMG, I sure do love having dinners out there with friends. And watching storms blow in. And reading on the couch …. So I’m all in favor of outdoor rooms, despite my frustration with what I’m sure are now-soaked cushions, thanks to this morning’s rain. I’ll take those over that awful, bare patio any day. (As for that “little gem” in NYC? Where the h3ll do you SIT?!)

TREVOR: I’m pretty sure I’ll die if I don’t get a “Hey Y’all” sign.

BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: Ugh, outdoor rooms. My all-time favorite space to design. Here’s my issue: in the city, I have an amazing midcentury house with an elaborate outdoor living room with a huge dog run, but it’s the city so I’ve got nothing to look at except my fence and grass. While it’s gorgeous, I honestly use it days a year because taking all the cushions in and out is more of a hassle since I seldom use the space. Now, in the country, I have a SICK view which beckons me to come outside all day, everyday. With the exception of August, I’m lounging in my outdoor living room at least an hour and a half everyday because that breathtaking focal point just takes all the stress away. It’s really all about the view. Also, mosquitoes suck, literally.

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Design: Brian Patrick Flynn


We’ve opened up about outdoor rooms, now tell us what you think:


Defend the Trend

70 Responses

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  7. Sharon says:

    We spend seven or eight months of the year cooped up inside. When the weather turns nice (65 degrees-plus), we LIVE outside. Having an outdoor living space isn't a nicety, it's a MUST!

  8. rosewood11 says:

    Some of the designs are pretty, but I like being where bugs aren't, so I'd rarely use an "outdoor living room" if I had one. Especially if it was as seizure-worthy as that horrible geometric wall in the first picture. That makes my eyes hurt!!!

  9. Rosewood11 says:

    As I was working through these a second time (7 weeks later), I have one other thought about an "outdoor room." It's a nice idea but if you live in an industrial area, it's not such a lovely idea. Think wet, sooty, dirty furniture. Think about trying to get all the soot from a steel mill off even your "faux wicker." I've tried to do that, and it's a nightmare. Unless you have a paid staff that washes off all the surfaces daily, this is a romantic ideal that is diminished in the light of harsh reality.

Briana MowreyBriana is a writer and senior editor for HGTV.com. Her self-described design style is "mid-century modern magpie." She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with her husband, their spoiled dachshund, Chauncey,...


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