interior design 1

Small windows, awkwardly placed doors, indoor and outdoor clutter, odd places for steps; these and other barriers will interrupt a smooth visual and traffic pattern between your home and yard. Follow these tips to design creative and useful spaces that work together.

Design It When Building

Design your outdoor areas close to your home’s main indoor entertaining rooms. Rather than building an outdoor grill area or pergola in the farthest corner of the yard, build them just outside your kitchen door. This way you can go from kitchen to patio to outdoor entertaining area without a long hike or interruptions in your trip.

To merge your interior and exterior rooms, writer and architect Dylan Chappell suggests using large pocket or accordion doors. Don’t be afraid to design with them (when building) or install them (for existing structures). When you can literally open up your interior to the outdoors, it removes physical barriers that get in the way and lets occupants and visitors enjoy both types of spaces together.

Bring the Outdoors In

Don’t leave up barriers such as solid walls with small windows or no windows at all. Expand the windows and remove any barriers to open the interior up. Use floor-to-ceiling glass, mid-wall-to-ceiling windows and large panel windows to open up the view and make walls disappear.

When the view is opened up, it’s easier to link indoor and outdoor living areas with similar furniture, flooring choices and color schemes. This is especially effective with focal points and special features like swimming pools, fountains or water features. When you know an outdoor feature like a pool will have an unobstructed sight line from the house, you want to choose patio decor that matches your interior.

Use Color and Accessories

When you can’t afford to take out a whole wall or install floor to ceiling windows, you can still create good flow with color and accessories. Keep it simple when designing your outside space by relating your garden to your indoor space. Use similar materials inside and outside to create symmetry and flow, use the same color palette and create vignettes outside that mirror interior themes and designs.

For example, if your interior reflects your travels, do the same with your outdoor space. If you have a spectacular plant or indoor tree that’s the focal point of your living area, create a similar focal point in the yard with ornamental planting.

When you can’t spend a lot of money on construction, spend time on planning creative design with complementary colors and materials that tie the feel of the interior and the exterior spaces to each other. Wicker living room furniture inside and rattan patio furniture outside, wrought iron light fixtures and railings in both the interior and exterior spaces, or a thread of yellow color accents in interior upholstery and exterior cushions creates a unified sense of both spaces.