Designer Diaries

Aug
26

Creating a Chic Outdoor Space

SFDG designer Barb Ince recently designed an outdoor kitchen and entertainment area that rivals any indoor space. We chatted with Barb about her design approach and snagged some great tips for creating a chic space for outdoor entertaining .

First and foremost, Barb recommends applying the same design techniques to an outdoor space that you would to an indoor one:

1. Comfy seating is a must!

Don’t settle for your old wicker patio furniture -- spring for something that’s as cozy as your favorite living room chair. All-weather fabrics have come a long way, and you can now find ones that are as plush and luxurious as the ones you use indoors.

2. Define separate spaces

Use area rugs (outdoor ones of course) or other objects to define separate spaces. Barb used a combination of rugs, greenery and planters to create different areas and soften the edges between the deck and the garden.

3. Don’t forget the lighting

Combining different types of lighting throughout the space helps create the appropriate ambiance for any occasion. Incorporating a combination of natural light, accent light, and candles allows for bolder lighting for family gatherings and muted lighting for more intimate events.

4. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

Accessories add personality and warmth to any space. Use the same types of accessories outdoors as you would inside. Some of the accessories Barb used include a candelabra, vases, planters, bowls, hurricanes, and more.

5. Bring your dream kitchen outdoors

This outdoor kitchen includes all the elements of a typical indoor one – grill, sink, warming drawer, ice maker, refrigerator, storage, and more.


6. Set the mood with music

Speakers were built into the design plan and provide subtle background music amidst casual conversation. Of course they can be turned up when the occasion allows (just make sure the neighbors are invited)!

One of the most innovative aspects of this outdoor space is that it doubled the usable square footage of the house. The homeowners can open their doors and have twice as much space.

Even though summer’s winding down, there’s still time to throw the ultimate outdoor party. In order to make your get together extra fabulous, Barb suggests using real dishware and glassware. Not only is it more eco-friendly, but it will make your guests feel like they’re at a special event.


In weather-permitting situations, add even more glam to your outdoor space and decorate as you would for an indoor party. Strategically placed candles, vases, and other decorations really vamp up a space.

LXTV recently featured Barb’s work –- click here to watch the segment and see a 360-degree view of this fabulous space.

Got more tips for creating an outdoor space? We’d love to hear them!

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