Now is the perfect time to embrace indoor-outdoor living. With some investment and planning, you can modify your property to take advantage of fantastic views, connect with nature, or create your dream entertaining and lounging space. From a screened porch to a poolside pavilion, the options are seemingly endless. Below, we review some of our favorite ways to make the most of your home’s indoor-outdoor living potential.


Remodel a Terrace or Patio

If you already have an open-air patio or terrace, there are numerous ways to upgrade the space so that you can fully embrace indoor-outdoor living. Start by adding more lighting. From romantic vintage-inspired string lights to festive lanterns, lighting can significantly alter the mood of your space. Next, consider putting up a shade sail to protect your sitting or dining area if your terrace or patio is without cover. Leafy pergolas or open arbors are also terrific ways to add shade and beauty to existing terraces or patios.

Building a fireplace or installing a sleek gas fire pit will make your outdoor living room inviting throughout the year. Just be sure to pick a design that references your home’s existing style so your remodeled patio feels like part of a cohesive plan. If a fire pit or fireplace is not possible, invest in some quality heaters to make your space more comfortable as temperatures cool.

Adding a permanent outdoor kitchen and grilling station will also increase your ability to enjoy indoor-outdoor living. One of Southern Living’s favorite designs sees a “fully functional outdoor kitchen … discreetly tucked into its own area for ease in entertaining and dining outdoors.” The kitchen even features a “dishwasher so that [hosts] needn’t leave the party to begin clean-up.” And while reviewing plans, don’t forget to find a secure and stable location for a wood-fired or gas-powered pizza oven – one of the year’s most popular outdoor kitchen appliances.

Finally, durable yet upscale furnishings are critical when creating an indoor-outdoor living space that will be an extension of your home. Designers suggest to Martha Stewart Living that homeowners should “look for fully upholstered outdoor sofas made in sturdy fabrics that can hold up to extra moisture, heat, or humidity.” Interior designer Alicia Murphy also recommends that homeowners incorporate “‘outdoor rugs and pillows that are textural and feel elevated enough that they could be in your living room, and really add a level of finish that makes the space feel complete.’”


Design a Screened Porch

One of Martha Stewart Living’s favorite ways to enhance a home’s indoor-outdoor living potential is to design a screened porch. Jeff Rossen of Rossen Landscape suggests to the Magazine: “If you have a second-story deck, enclosing the area underneath can turn a dreary spot into a cozy outdoor living room; if you are adding an entirely new porch, Rossen recommends placing it behind your home and to the side for optimized flow.” The flooring and finishing materials will also have a significant impact on the ambiance of the new screened porch. For example, pavers will make the porch feel more like an outdoor patio, while wood flooring or tile covered by an indoor-outdoor area rug is more likely to feel like a continuation of your home.

Your plans for the room will guide how you decorate the space and what fixtures are installed. Ceiling fans and inset ceiling heaters are clever additions that make your screened porch usable even when the temperature changes. If it is meant to be an entertaining space, consider what appliances need to be supported to make the area an ideal place for hosting celebrations or cozy get-togethers. Rossen confides to Martha Stewart Living that he “often installs masonry fireplaces, bar-ready plumbing, outdoor kitchens, recessed lighting, and televisions … for his residential clients” to make the new porches even more appealing.


Create the Ultimate Sunroom

Are your rear windows providing enough natural light? Do you have the views of your gardens or pool that you want? Replacing your current windows to create the ultimate sunroom could be a terrific solution. My Domaine applauds: “A sunroom that opens into a covered outdoor living room beside a pool gives you the best of everything, and you’ll never have to call it an early night because of the rain.” Southern Living remarks that by adding “large sheets of glass [to] wrap the corners on upper floors” upstairs rooms will have access to enviable amounts streaming sunlight and sky views.


Install Folding Glass Walls

Consider linking your bedroom or living areas to surrounding landscape or water views by installing folding glass walls or moving wall systems. More comprehensive than sliding glass doors, these folding glass systems effectively remove the barrier between indoor and outdoor spaces. Picture creating a more dynamic relationship between your home and nature. Custom folding glass configurations, including curved or corner designs, allow your walls to effectively disappear whenever you want to relax in the open air or open your space up for entertaining. Modern systems offer nearly effortless operation. As an additional benefit, these high-performance systems when closed also provide better protection against escaping heat or air conditioning and are available with storm protection for coastal properties.


Construct a Shaded Pergola

If you already have an outdoor dining area that you enjoy, upgrade it for improved indoor-outdoor living by framing it with a shaded pergola. The experts at Better Homes & Gardens reason: “Not only will it make your dining area cozier for your guests, but the overhead covering will provide welcome shade on hot, sunny days.” If the flooring is already concrete, tile, pavers, or crushed gravel, lay down an area rug under the dining furniture to visually enhance your outdoor dining room.

Next, consider lighting. Better Homes & Gardens recommends “[hanging] a few lights from the pergola for a finished look that will allow you to continue using the space after the sun sets.” Vintage-inspired Edison string lights are a dreamy (and popular) option. However, if your goal is to create a more glamorous environment, hang a chandelier from one of the pergola’s sturdy overhead beams to illuminate your summer evening dinner parties.


Build a Poolside Pavilion

Does your property feature nautical themes and a coastal vibe? Recreating that atmosphere in a poolside cabana will perfectly tie your indoor and outdoor spaces together. To do that, Southern Living recommends renovating a cabana or building an “open-air pavilion” decorated in a “blue-and-white color scheme, canvas curtains, a porthole-style window, and lots of chairs for lounging [to] reflect [your] coastal style.” And if hosting is on your mind, consider installing a full outdoor kitchen inside the pavilion to maximize its potential. When it is finished, it will undoubtedly be your favorite place for pool parties, barbecues, and entertaining on warm spring and summer nights.

Visit Distinctive Collection by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate when you begin your journey to buy or sell your unique home.