Never Go Inside: How to Create Your Outdoor Area's Atmosphere

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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Did you catch our post last weekend that talked about how to create (or boost) atmosphere? Atmosphere — that feeling of a rich, comfortable, stylish home that you never want to leave — isn't just for interiors. Your outdoor area is an extension of your living area and deserves a boost to its atmosphere, too. Here are some ideas on how to make your outdoor area feel as inviting as your living room.

Treat it like another room of your house
Want to have an outdoor space that you use more often and enjoy? You've first got to treat it like another room of your house — and not just leave it to gather leaves and get unused! Commit to sitting in it, doing activities in it and tidying it up on a regular basis. Figure out what it is that you need in the outdoor space to enjoy it more (it could be a fan to keep you cooler or less bugs — which tips for getting rid of is coming up in a future post).

Don't forget about accessories
Go back to some of the first brainstorming sessions you did for your outdoor space this summer. Remember when we asked you to write down specific words and styles that inspire you? You've hopefully tackled finding or making your big furniture pieces by now, so it's time to add the icing to the cake. Using those inspiration photos, styles and words shop for or DIY accessories that will fill out the space and make it feel more like a living space. That could be art, hanging lanterns, small table top knick-knacks — anything you might use to decorate inside, consider taking outside (if they can be put outside). Making your outdoor space feel more like a "room" will make it immediately more inviting.

Lighting is vital
Hopefully you took some of our advice from the lighting post, but if you still haven't, it's vital. Even if it's just a set of candles for low mood lighting, it'll help.

Get it comfortable
Don't forget to add comfy items like pillows and throws! You don't have to leave them outside if you've got weather that won't allow it, but these kind of accessories really make an outdoor area feel like a room. Yesterday's professional post is a great example.

Have snacks available outdoors
You can't leave snacks laying out all the time (unless you're looking to fatten up the local wildlife), but don't forget to bring out some snacks for you and guests when hanging in your outdoor space. Perhaps consider a rolling bar cart you can roll in and out of your space that has lots of treats? And if you're worried about bugs and flies, consider a food tent.


Visit the Guide to the Perfect Summer main page for links to all of the posts published so far or sign up to have them delivered directly to you each weekend.

(Image credits: Carly Bishop; Janel Laban)

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