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Create home harmony by integrating indoor and outdoor spaces


As warmer weather calls many of us to the great outdoors, intentional décor, accessory and furnishing choices can create attractive welcoming and cohesive spaces.

Nancy Gracia, an interior designer and owner of Bare Root Design Studio Inc. in Newtown, said outdoor spaces adjacent to or opening to outdoor spaces from the inside make sense to style with an intentional eye to color, texture and cohesive styles.

“With a deck opening up from an indoor you have a flow (from which to) open to,” Gracia explained.

Select deck flooring or patio materials with indoor and adjacent related spaces in mind. Whether you want to match colors or contrast them with colors and textures found indoors, plant and landscape materials are also a factor.

Gracia follows landscape designers and outdoor design professionals for tips and inspiration for handling outdoor spaces because landscape professionals are distinct and separate from her work as an interior designer.

“The color combinations in plantings — even your choice of pots can be a focal point” and integrate indoor colors, shapes and textures, she said.

Lisa Lazarus, owner of Lisa Lazarus Interiors LLC in Abington, Montgomery County, said current fabrics and furnishings provide a lot of options for seamless transition space opportunities.

“You want to have cohesion as you move from your indoor space to your outdoor space,” Lazarus said.

Styles you embrace indoors can be replicated outdoors and vice versa, she noted.

Performance fabrics that behave like high quality velvets provide a luxurious option for seating and cushions — both indoors and outside.

Colors can also work to help indoor and outdoor elements work together.

“A color story to transition doesn’t have to copy (what’s indoors) but it should relate to it,” Lazarus said. “Whatever your main color indoor, a thread of that can be mimicked in your outdoor spaces.”

Bringing the outdoors inside — whether through textures and colors found in nature — is another approach-integrating option.

“Relaxed elegance using comfortable furnishings that can hold up, outdoor rugs and greenery, living walls with plants, all of that is reflected more and more in how people are living outdoors,” Lazarus said.

From draperies to outdoor fans, awnings and lights, consider how you’ll use the space and what elements will best help you to enjoy it.

“Think about what appeals to you, and what makes you happy when you see it. We all have emotional responses to color, and there are certain colors we love and make us happy when we see them,” she said.

Considered elements in a comfortable conversation area, chairs gathered around a fire pit, green elements — these can all be used as transition pieces.

Well put-together spaces — both indoors and out — have a core element in common: how they function and serve those that live and visit the home.

“The key to everything is functionality — whether it’s in large or small spaces,” she said.

Outdoor lighting and sculpture pieces can become opportunities to personalize a space, too.

“Even if it’s a patio garden with no lawn, incorporating flowers that have the same colors as the inside” can reference and create a unifying thread to pull indoor and outdoor spaces together, Gracia said.

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