While we love the idea of an outdoor room where one can relax and dine as comfortably as indoors, we tend to resist outdoor spaces that look too "furnished," with matching sets of bulky wooden chairs and over-the-top outdoor kitchens. It seems possible, instead, to create a casual, comfortable outdoor room with just a few simple elements, without sacrificing your personal style. Take these five relaxed and lovely spaces
As always, Livingetc is full of chic and simple solutions. Their outdoor gallery has tons of great ideas for creating a simple, un-fussy outdoor room, but here are a few of our favorites (as pictured above):
• 1 Mixing and matching colorful outdoor pieces can create just the right feeling of effortless style. We like the green umbrella here, which blends nicely with the treetops without trying too hard to literally "camouflage."
• 2 If your outdoor space is small, with not quite enough room for a big lounge chair, consider having some durable waterproof cushions made to fashion a chair up against a garden wall. You can affix the "chair back" to the wall by hanging the fabric loops from hooks. Add a couple of throw pillows, a few potted plants, and you've got a nice little outdoor reading nook.
• 3 Feeling exotic? Why not stake a Middle Eastern-style tent in your lawn, using a length of cotton muslin and bamboo poles? Sure, it might be tough to clean (and isn't terribly practical for those of us in windier climes), but as a temporary fixture in the hottest months, we love it.
• 4 A big beanbag-style chair is an unexpected choice for outdoors, but we love the way it looks; in a container garden like this one, its low profile won't interfere with the potted plantings. This particular weather-resistant pouf is the Float by Paola Lenti.
• 5 If you're thinking about starting from scratch and creating a new hardscape or deck, consider something like this simple concrete bench. It should be easy for a concrete guy to install (just like a stair), and its sleek look could work very well in a spare, contemporary garden.
Check out Livingetc for more simple outdoor style inspiration.