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Art of Design: Outdoor Space

Joseph Pubillones on

Nearly every home has some sort of an outdoor space, from a generous terrace and backyard area to a small balcony. No matter how small or inconvenient the outdoor space, it is a physical and mental respite. And it doesn't take a large sum of money to decorate your bit of paradise. It is said that spending time outside with family and friends can even improve your quality of life. So whenever I am asked about the design of outdoor spaces, I say decorate them as you would an indoor room.

Even though fall is near, there is still time to enjoy the outdoors, and also plan any changes you'd like to make during the winter months so your outdoor room will be ready for its debut next spring.

Why not start with what's underfoot? Cement floors can be embellished with stone tile when possible. However, when tile is not an option, there is still an opportunity to enhance your flooring -- by painting it. Why not add a pattern and a make a statement? An indoor/outdoor area rug is yet another option. This can help you define a seating grouping, and it warms up the outdoor space.

Drapery, shades and canopies can be added where applicable. Besides providing protection from the elements, these outdoor fabrics soften, define and even frame the view from your outdoor room to vistas or landscaped areas beyond.

Furniture layout should emulate that of an interior space. Creating conversation areas is the goal, as well as a place for a beverage tray or bar. Depending on how much space is available, you may even want to incorporate a table and chairs for al fresco dining.

Understanding lighting is also a must for creating ambiance in an outdoor living room. Often, outdoor spaces are under-lit and dark once the sun goes down. It is important to take into account lighting, both electric and from candles or gas lamps. Nowadays, manufacturers are producing table and floor lamps that are adequate for outdoors. While lamps and even chandeliers can give overall lighting, candles will add that flicker of light that will make you relax and look even better.


Potted trees and plants will help create the perfect ambiance for your outdoor space. Introducing fragrant plants adds yet another dimension to your outdoor room. Placing plants in each corner of your space or in pairs adds a certain amount of serenity and elegance.

If privacy is an issue, adding a trellis wall is always a good solution for intruding eyes. Trellis walls can be designed to add architecture to your space. Wood slats can be placed to create archways, chair-rails and even to fake a window. These trellises can be placed with creeping vines for a garden element or even against a mirror to add depth to a constricted area.

You can even add "art" to the outside walls. Wall sculptures and printed canvases on laminated fabrics are available at your local decor shop. Let your mind run free and create your own oasis.


Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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