How to Make Your Outdoor Space Feel Like a Living Room

DESIGN SCHOOL

How to Make Your Outdoor Space Feel Like a Living Room

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MEET THE DESIGNER

Michelle Jamie

Principal and Creative Director of The Vanguard Theory, Michelle Jaime, who grew up on Oahu, Hawaii, knows a thing or two about outdoor living. Who better to ask for outdoor decorating tips than the native Hawaiian and the visionary behind one of Honolulu’s hottest hotels? In addition to her high-end residential work, she’s responsible for transforming boutique hotels like the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, a new art-driven and pattern-packed destination, which won a Gold Key Award and an Independent Lodging Congress Award for Most Innovative Hospitality Design. Gleam some of her island style from her tips on how to make your outdoor space feel like a living room. 

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Anchor Your Space

 

Much like an indoor room, an outdoor space should be styled from floor to “ceiling.” That’s why Jaime considers an outdoor rug a “necessary piece” for a luxe outdoor space. “An outdoor rug can soften and define a sitting area,” says Jaime.The designer advises layering rugs as well. “Start with the larger rug below, then mix textures orpatterns and start with the larger rug below.” Try a graphic stripe on top of a faux natural basketweave for a layered look.

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Add Accents With Style


Once your furniture is in place, it’s time to add decorative accents, just like you would with an indoor living room. “Mood lighting and layered accessories can elevate any outdoor sitting area,” Jaime says. “Cluster a few lanterns on the floor for candles and add ceramic accessories such as ginger jars to create an extensions of your living room.” And, even though you are outdoors, a bit of well-placed greenery can add dimension. “A beautiful arrangement of planters with plants of different heights and shapes can bring elegance to a space.”


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Bring in Prints

 

Jaime loves to bring in prints for a more dynamic aesthetic. “I’m a fan of pattern on pattern to create more interest in a space,” the designer says. “The rule is to layer decorative accents using varying scale and pattern. All fabrics should have similar color palates for a buttoned-up cohesive look.” Pick up patterned pillows, rugs, throws, and even towels to add interest.

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Mix and Match


With the right accessories, rugs, plants and lighting, you can bring even the simplest outdoor space to life, but Jaime also loves to blend outdoor furniture styles to create a more curated look. If you decided to mix and match, she cautions, “don’t mix too many furniture styles or else it will look like a yard sale.” Instead, try an outdoor sofa in one style flanked with a pair of complementary outdoor chairs.


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Prep for a Party

Prep For a Party

 

Outdoor spaces are all about entertaining, so Jaime has a few go-to tips for making your exterior feel inviting for guests. “When entertaining outside, add a little twinkle by stringing up lights and clustering lanterns along the footpath or on the dining table for a dramatic tablescape,” she says. “And dress every dining chair with a throw so when the sun goes down, your guests can be comfortable and cozy.

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