Take it outside: Tips for affordable, fun and functional outdoor living space

We are having a sizzling summer in southwest Florida and most of us are staying as close to the air conditioning as possible!  However, summer will not last forever and now is a good time to think about these tips from my article in ASID Professional Design Magazine. They will help you to enjoy your your outdoor spaces when the weather allows time on the lanai or porch!  
Special to ASID Professional Design magazine, Summer 2011Photo of cover of ASID Professional Design magazine
By Wrenda Goodwyn, ASID Industry Partner
As a decorator, I have always believed the outdoor space is as important as the  indoor space.  It extends your living area, adds an additional room to the home and can be a cozy retreat.  Whether designing a small patio in a condo or apartment, a huge lanai with pool or a screened porch, it can be the favorite part of a Florida home all year.  And it can be done affordably!
Come up with a plan. Do you want this to be an extension of the living area through open doors (use similar fabric and furnishings) or do you want it to be a separate nook apart from the living area (use wicker, antiques, eclectic collections).  How do you want the space to feel?  Tropical, beach cottage, contemporary, country, cozy, etc.   Be sure to work with the client to determine your direction and have a plan before they begin making purchases!
Furniture: Incorporate weather- resistant furniture: sofa, chairs, chaise lounges, dining table.  My favorites:  rattan sea grass, wicker, metal, mosaic table tops.  (Pottery Barn, West Elm, Aida Gray Home, Pier 1, Restoration Hardware).  Tip:  Think comfort. Source: West Elm.
Color: Tropical paint colors and fabric prints.  Tip:  This is a chance to do something a little different than anywhere else in the home.  Bright and tropical or more muted and subdued colors.  
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