Experts offer tips to make outdoor spaces feel just like home

A grill is great addition to all outdoor spaces and sets the tone for cookouts.
Courtesy of Dyna-Glo

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A grill is a great addition to all outdoor spaces and sets the tone for cookouts.

Now that spring is officially here with summer-like weather in tow, it’s time to head outside, at home. Decorate a balcony, patio, porch or backyard to create a relaxing outdoor oasis, work-from-home space with a backdrop of beautiful oversize planters or a warm and welcoming place for family gatherings and play.

To transform your space, Kellie Sirna, principal and co-founder of Studio 11 Design, recommends assessing the intended use of the space. “Invest in pieces that continue the design story within your home and have dual functionality to make the most of every square foot of outdoor space including side walls, storage and shelving,” she says.

Nikki Klugh, CEO and principal designer of Nikki Klugh Design Group, says, “[Extend] your decor and color palette to your outdoor space to create one cohesive design between indoor and outdoor spaces. This will make your home feel like one big living space instead of a bunch of separate spaces.”

The following 10 suggestions — from seating and lighting to storage and plants — can help create peaceful, comforting and entertaining spaces for use during warm weather months and more (because you can fire up the recommended grills all year round).

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Enjoy a cool breeze whether sitting still outdoors or taking a spin in a swivel chair. Courtesy of Room and board

Credit: Handout

Enjoy a cool breeze whether sitting still outdoors or taking a spin in a swivel chair.
Courtesy of Room and board

Credit: Handout

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Enjoy a cool breeze whether sitting still outdoors or taking a spin in a swivel chair. Courtesy of Room and board

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Sit on it. Sure, kids can sit with adults on outdoor seating but it’s also great if they have dedicated space too. For this, Room and Board offers the Crest swivel chair which is perfect for small or large spaces; available in over 40 colors and styles like tweed, velvet and a fabric weave; and offers a 360-degee view, which is a win for kids who want to see what’s going on at all times in every direction. While the chair is designated for children, it’s big enough to accommodate an adult so purchasing a pair means no one has to share. $849-$949. roomandboard.com.

Stay put. Chairs and lounge furniture are more comfortable with the addition of plush outdoor chair pads from Ikea. Styles like Kuddarna, which is available in gray or beige, feature stylish tufts and ties to keep the pad in place. Additionally, the cushion can be used on both sides so folks can sit awhile when lounging or working from home. $12.99. 441 16th St. NW, Atlanta. 888-888-4532, ikea.com.

The cookout. Spring and summer are ideal for al fresco dining and the Dyna-Glo five burner propane gas grill is great for searing, smoking and grilling in larger spaces. Features include a side burner, primary cooking space big enough to fit up to 23 burger patties, built-in thermometer and condiment shelf plus wheels to transport the grill. When the cookout will be held at a smaller space like a balcony, opt for a compact smoker that can cook a variety of foods simultaneously and features a removable middle section that converts the smoker to a portable grill. Both are available at Home Depot. Large grill, $279; small, $84.74. homedepot.com.

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Keep a can of aerial fire spray handy to extinguish unexpected flames. Courtesy of First Alert

Credit: Handout

Keep a can of aerial fire spray handy to extinguish unexpected flames. 
Courtesy of First Alert

Credit: Handout

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Keep a can of aerial fire spray handy to extinguish unexpected flames. Courtesy of First Alert

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Safety first. If things get too hot, fight household fires with a First Alert EZ aerosol spray fire extinguisher. The nontoxic-foam is safe to use outdoors when things like grilling, smoking or candle burning go awry. Available at Target. $10.69. target.com.

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Candles set the mood for al fresco dining, offer a welcoming fragrance and create a relaxing environment. Courtesy of Air and Anchor

Credit: Handout

Candles set the mood for al fresco dining, offer a welcoming fragrance and create a relaxing environment.
Courtesy of Air and Anchor

Credit: Handout

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Candles set the mood for al fresco dining, offer a welcoming fragrance and create a relaxing environment. Courtesy of Air and Anchor

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Fragrant smells. Complement an outdoor oasis with a pair of candles from Air and Anchor. The air candle evokes a relaxing, kick-off-your-shoes vibe with notes of Egyptian amber and jasmine; the anchor candle smells like a home with welcoming notes of mahogany teakwood, leather and patchouli. Both are housed in stoneware clay which can be repurposed. Each candle burns up to 50 hours which sets the tone for quiet nights on the porch or balcony for several weeks. $66 for the pair; $34 each. airandanchor.com.

Lush greenery. According to Sirna, “biophilic designs such as privacy plants, including potted plants or hanging planters, create seclusion and breathe life onto a balcony.” For large balconies, opt for tall planters which double as decor and offer privacy; small balconies are better served by hanging planters, box-shaped planters and vertical gardens which are great for growing plant and produce. Visit Pike Nurseries for an assortment of low maintenance plant options and DIY tips like gardening advice, recipes using homegrown produce and more. Prices vary. Multiple locations throughout metro Atlanta. pikenursery.com.

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Area rugs are an easy way to decorate outdoors spaces. Courtesy of Kevin Francis Design

Credit: Handout

Area rugs are an easy way to decorate outdoors spaces.
Courtesy of Kevin Francis Design

Credit: Handout

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Area rugs are an easy way to decorate outdoors spaces. Courtesy of Kevin Francis Design

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Cover up. Area rugs are an easy way to make outdoor spaces feel homey, like an extension of the interior dwelling. Atlanta-based Kevin Francis Design, a home decor and interior design studio, offers a hand-tufted maze pattern rug in a variety of colors and sizes that is ideal for accessorizing, providing a place to walk barefoot, practice yoga or lounge during at-home picnics. Prices start at $158. kevinfrancisdesign.com.

Light it up. Brighten up evenings with weather resistant outdoor string lights. The Hampton Bay 16-foot battery operated 50-bulb clear string lights can be used to decorate a railing, tree, table, mason jar or create a custom display that needs highlighting. It’s also great for setting a tranquil or romantic vibe. The lights are safe for indoor use so in winter months, bring the festive mood in. Available at Home Depot. $9.97. homedepot.com.

Two-fold. “Every outdoor space — from apartment balcony to expansive yard — can add both style and function with a table that doubles as storage.” Sirna says. The Romford metal coffee table at Wayfair is weather resistant and features hidden storage, spacious enough for pillows, books, games and more. The tabletop is comprised of a sturdy aluminum frame complemented by a resin wicker basket. It’s delivered fully assembled so it can be used for dining, working or adding storage immediately. $669.66. wayfair.com.

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Entertain and exercise with a low profile trampoline, perfect for kids and adults up to 352 pounds. Courtesy of Sawyer Twain

Credit: Handout

Entertain and exercise with a low profile trampoline, perfect for kids and adults up to 352 pounds.
Courtesy of Sawyer Twain

Credit: Handout

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Entertain and exercise with a low profile trampoline, perfect for kids and adults up to 352 pounds. Courtesy of Sawyer Twain

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Jump around. A low profile 14-foot in-ground Avyna trampoline offers easy on and off for the entire family since it’s near ground level and net-free. Available at Sawyer Twain, this trampoline offers a fun activity but also doubles as a fitness equipment for adults who want to exercise outdoors. $1,795. sawyertwain.com.