Outdoor Living: decorlife with Kim Purvis

Story by Kim Purvis

Summer 2022

Outdoor living has always been novel in our short summer months, but over the past couple years outdoor entertaining has become really special. Because of the rise in popularity of outdoor living spaces, items like furniture, barbecues and fire tables can be tough to find and receive before the leaves start to change. I’ve compiled a few suggestions to help you plan your outdoor living space thoughtfully and avoid those spur-of-the-moment shopping mistakes.

An average-sized deck or patio is likely to suit one type of sitting area, whether it be dining, lounging or chairs around a fire table. Really consider how you enjoy relaxing outdoors. If you eat all your family dinners outside on a beautiful evening you’re more likely to make use of a dining table and chairs, but for those who envision long nights visiting over a glass of wine, perhaps a sofa and comfy chairs around a fire table makes more sense. Both have their advantages. My caution is to avoid over-crowding the space in order to accommodate all types of seating.

Use your space well. If you’re fortunate enough to have a larger space, create zones or individual ‘rooms.’ It really cozies up each seating arrangement.

When you’re considering the location of your furnishings pay attention to how you might take advantage of a view, path to the house or creating some backyard privacy. There are so many beautiful privacy screen options that this can become a beautiful focal point on it’s own. Screens can also be effective at cutting the wind, which can be a mood killer when you’re sitting outside.

Our weather can be unpredictable. As lovely as the appearance of a cute outdoor sitting area can be, resist the urge to buy the cheaply made furniture that will wear poorly and become an eyesore. Read reviews; consider products that are rated to handle our climate.  Regardless of the price you pay, ensure everything is tied down securely lest your outdoor living room end up in your neighbour’s yard, upside down.

Finally, just like inside your home, small added touches like area rugs, throw pillows and ambient lighting can really cozy up your space. Often the little details need to be stored indoors or a cute outdoor storage bin, but they’re worth the effort to enjoy a long, warm summer evening with friends. Don’t forget to consider some type of heat source when the evenings turn chilly – overhead propane heaters, propane stand heaters and fire tables are all effective in creating just enough warmth to keep everyone comfortable.

However you choose to enjoy your outdoor living quarters, I hope we’ll all appreciate the gift of gathering together and the little things, like long visits on the deck late into a summer night.