You’ve worked hard to decorate the inside of your home – so don’t give up when you get to the patio. With the right furniture and finishing touches, your patio can feel like another room in the house. We interviewed an interior and exterior designer – Sophia of Sophia Designs in Houston, Texas – to get a few tips on making the most of your outdoor living area.
What tips do you have for making your patio an extension of your home?
Sophia: It’s important to use space in the best way possible. Think about exterior space in the same way that you think about interior space. Think about a focal point in the “room,” such as a sculptural piece, fire pit, flower or herb garden, or a water feature. Then, match your designs around that one point. I like to use native plants, stones, and colorful cushions in exterior design.
As far as furniture goes, the options are endless. I tend to use classic or modern furniture with neutral color bases. I add stonework and rocks for an organic feel and a water feature for a calming affect. Also, outdoor rugs are a great accessory to define a space.
What colors work well outdoors?
Sophia: Every year, the Pantone Institute forecasts a color of the year. This year it’s “Tangerine Tango.” They say it has “it has the adrenalin rush of red with a friendliness and warmth of yellow.” It’s a great color for the outdoors. You’ll see it on umbrellas and cushions, and flowers like marigolds and lantana. Tangerine Tango is a positive, hopeful color. Blue is a great complementary color.
How can someone choose colors for their patio that match their home?
Sophia: Work with the colors of the exterior of your home. Consider the existing outdoor structure – wall, brick, siding, whatever. You can even hang artwork outside if it’s water resistant, like a sculptural, iron piece of art.
Also, it’s important to incorporate the home’s interior design by taking the same style and colors into the outdoor space. For example, if your home has a traditional style, use a traditional style on the patio. If you live in a contemporary home with a lot of angles and pops of color, use the same ideas outdoors. Mixing styles can result in a patio looking “added on,” instead of like an extension of your home.
What are some current outdoor design trends?
Sophia: Stripes are classic and work with everything. Personally, I love huge checks also. People tend to forget about lighting—the lights on fans are too harsh, so get a lamp with batteries. Candles, firepits, outdoor fireplaces, solar and garden outdoor lights bring ambiance to the space. I suggest spotlighting interesting areas in your outdoor space, like your artwork or garden. Lighting helps make your patio look richer but without much of an investment.
Do you have any favorite products?
Sophia: I like metal and synthetic furniture that looks like wicker and wood. All are easy to clean and look wonderful. I like to decorate with all kinds of planters, rocks are important, and cushions, pillows, and umbrellas for color. Sunbrella is one weather resistant fabric that’s great for panels and awnings.
My team installs a lot of netting and drapery panels; our workroom purchases, constructs and installs these special fabrics. Netting comes in all kinds of colors – beiges, whites, greens. It helps keep bugs out and you can roll it up like a shade. You can drop it down at night to keep things more private.
I also love patio panels. They look like indoor draperies and you can hang them from your patio cover at each of the four corners and strap them back. They come in an endless variety of weather treated fabrics. Stripes are good for a cabana feel.
Contact Sophia Vassiliou at Sophia@sophiadesigns.com or 281-685-1429.