6 Designer Tips For Creating An Outdoor Dining Space

6 Designer Tips For Creating An Outdoor Dining Space

There’s something so magical about dining outdoors. It could be enjoying breakfast or a cup of coffee on the porch in the early morning hours of the day, an afternoon cookout with family and friends, or outdoor dining under the stars. Creating an outdoor dining space can be fairly simple. However, I have some tips that can help you create an outdoor dining space with a little extra designer ambiance.

broken floor tile
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ONE

Make your outdoor dining area a destination. Select your outdoor dining location carefully. If you have a small yard or a balcony, it can be fairly simple; you can create a cozy dining area in a small space a lot easier because of the space restrictions. You will automatically locate the furniture closer together, which will make a more intimate space. However, if you have a large yard, the tendency is to spread things out a little more, making things feel more disjointed and random. Suppose you have a large yard; you want to create distinct areas throughout the yard. For instance, for an outdoor dining area, keep the furniture and dining area furnishings in a clearly defined space. Creating a destination that you can see from across the yard, create a path to this area, and it will now function just like a room.

TWO

Create a definition for the outside dining area using architectural features. Architectural features help you to define the space. If you don’t have existing architectural features, consider adding a pergola, a gazebo, a patio, or a deck. You could also define the outdoor dining space in simple ways. Like adding an outdoor area rug, free-standing columns or garden structures, a grouping of large potted plants, large furniture groupings, or landscaping; this will help you create the bones of the outdoor space.

THREE

Choose sturdy outdoor dining furniture and consistent with the style of your home and yard. Suppose you have a formal house and yard structure. You don’t want to use super rustic primitive furnishings. You can mix styles, much like mixing styles on the interior of your home. However, more than likely, you’ll have fewer furnishings in your outdoor seating area—so less opportunity to balance out choices that are not keeping with the style of your home. If your dining area is in a covered space, you don’t have to worry about the wear and tear of the weather. However, if you don’t have a covered space, you’ll have to be more mindful of your furniture finishes as they will feel the full brunt of the sun and the harsh weather. Choose fabrics that are water repellent and have UV protection.

FOUR

Bring the indoors outside. Don’t be afraid to set an outdoor dining table just like you would prepare an indoor table. Outdoor dining doesn’t mean that you always have to use plastic plates and utensils. Make your outdoor dining special by using special touches on your table. Replace the standard patio furniture cushions with custom outdoor cushions. You will have a more customized look. There are hundreds of designer fabric options that are rated for outdoor performance. This will add another layer of luxury and personality to your outdoor dining space.

FIVE

Create an ambiance with accessories just like you would in an indoor space. You can use potted plants, potted trees, architectural pieces, vases, and lots of candlelight in an outdoor space. Outside lanterns and varied lighting sources can create a beautiful, layered look to your outdoor dining spaces.

SIX

Use your imagination when creating your outdoor dining space. Even if you don’t have a yard to create an outdoor dining space, simply setting up a dining table near an open door or window could help you create a unique outdoor dining experience.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

How To Set Yourself Up For A Successful Renovation In 2021 And Beyond

How To Set Yourself Up For A Successful Renovation in 2021 and Beyond

Renovating can be a complicated process. If you tackled a renovation before either on your own or with experienced professionals, then you’ve had a little taste for the process. Delays, product issues, shipping issues, inspections, and many decisions need to be made quickly. Now add to this process a global pandemic: additional supply chain issues, long lead times, and labor shortages. However, you have been waiting patiently to tackle a large renovation project in your home. You saved for it, you are tired of looking at the old dated kitchen or bathroom, and you are ready to go.

Especially now that you’re spending more time at home, you are excited about making these much-needed improvements in your space, and you are looking forward to entertaining at home. How could you possibly set yourself up for success in a renovation in the current climate of renovation now and in the future?

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Here are a few tips for setting your renovation up for success:

ONE

Have a realistic idea of the cost involved before starting construction on your projectresearch with local pros. Googling average construction costs in your area and info given HGTV will not give you accurate construction costs for your project, in your area, on your home. Homeowners are often misinformed by general information about renovation costs. You might have an idea or a number in your head as to what you think a project should cost, but unless that number is based on research with actual local professionals and local building code requirements, it’s just a guess. Going into a renovation project with unrealistic cost expectations can be much more problematic than facing the budgeting facts while still planning your project. Looking at the budget early on allows you to pivot or make the scope of work changes while it is still easy to do so; this is especially important now with the current product cost fluctuations.

Add rich color.

TWO

When you meet with local pros, you need to know exactly what you are asking them to build right down to the final details. This is the only way you can get accurate numbers on predicted renovation costs. This leads to the importance of having a complete detailed design. When you have a complete detailed design, the pros can then use it to quote the renovation, labor, and product cost. Without a detailed design, even a pro is forced to guess what the cost might be since they don’t know the details of what you would like to build.

THREE

Planning is everything. Planning has always been the most important part of any renovation. However, it’s usually the part that is quickly rushed through to get to the excitement of demolition and building. Accurate and detailed planning is so important for the success of your project, not only for the budget and to estimate cost, but for the outcome design-wise. The planning is the place where the most time should be spent. Design elements can easily be changed in the planning stage, and ideas can be explored before ground breaks on your project. Allowing for a more seamless construction project since decisions have already been made and products already ordered.

FOUR

Use an experienced project manager. Management of a renovation project is not for the weary or the inexperienced. Unfortunately, homeowners sometimes assume that this is a quick and easy, straightforward process easily done with a few phone calls. Managing renovation projects for more than 20 years, I can tell you that it is anything but simple and easy. Now, trying to navigate the current construction climate, it’s even more important to utilize a pro who is very experienced with the ins and outs of the industry and the daily twists and turns of supply chains. Experienced pros can navigate a renovation seamlessly because they know where to anticipate problems, plan for them, or process solutions quickly when issues do come up. They also deal with vendors and contractors daily and know how to keep things moving efficiently. Moving into the future of renovating, this will be so important in the next few years for the success of any renovation project.

FIVE

Good contractors, craftsmen, are laborers are hard to come by, and when you do find one, they will be busy working on projects and will always have a stream of incoming projects. When a contractor does not have an organized system of processing new projects, you are often forced to keep calling until they can fit you into their schedule. So for many homeowners, this can be frustrating; even getting a phone call back from a contractor can be difficult, especially now in the current climate. Using a complete team for your design and build project is the key and will be the key to renovation projects especially in the next few years. Designers, project managers, and design-build firms have connections with the most skilled and reliable contractors and craftsmen. A precious resource for any homeowner that is considering a renovation. Especially if you are a busy professional with your job to do or business to run. Taking on a renovation project, hiring individual professionals, and navigating the system will be the time equivalent of another full-time job. Hiring a team that usually works together will ensure a seamless process from start to completion. With a design-build firm, your project begins with the initial design, continues throughout construction, and ends with the final details of furnishing your space after construction. This full-service process allows for the necessary planning, purchasing, and implementation of the complete design vision.

SIX

Patience is the key. Getting that designer look involves planning, custom finishes, and products, perhaps furnishings and products made to order, fabrics that are sourced to the trade only. So lead times on these items are often much longer than a quick trip to a local store. The result, patience pays off when the outcome of your project is magazine-worthy and exactly what you had hoped for, a totally unique design to your tastes and lifestyle, with quality craftsmanship and finishes that will stand the test of time.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Re-Designing Your Empty Nest

Re-designing Your Empty Nest

You’ve reached the point where the children have grown up and are out of the house. They may have come and gone for a temporary stay, but you now have the house to yourselves for the most part. After many years of putting off those major renovations or buying new furniture, you start to look around at your home to assess its condition. Everything needs repainting, furniture needs to be updated and purchased, and the list goes on. You consider whether you’re going to relocate, but you decide that you would like to update your current home instead.

You know that it needs some major renovation and now is your chance to renovate your home. On the top of your wish list are your dream kitchen and a new master bathroom. These current rooms have worked hard for you and your family, and they are showing some wear and tear. You realize that it’s time to re-configure your space and think about how you use it., but you don’t know where to start. You do know that you have waited long enough to do these renovation projects, so you want it done right. You want to be happy with the results, so you know that you should hire a professional designer. Now is a great time to get the help of a designer, and it is a time that many of my clients call me to assist with re-designing their homes.

broken floor tile
Add rich color.
From my years of experience working with clients, here are a few tips on re-designing your empty nest.

ONE

This is a great time to look at your entire space differently. A room that formally made a great kids’ space might now take on the role of a great entertaining space, or it might be just the extra space that you need to create that dream kitchen. Look at your space differently and decide how you can improve the layout of your home.

TWO

Think out of the box. An empty bedroom can easily be transformed into an office space or a home gym. An empty bedroom could also be transformed into a beautiful new master bathroom or master closet space—time to create an oasis that you can enjoy in your own home.

THREE

Have a designer assist you and create a new design plan for your entire home. Having an extra set of skilled eyes can help you to imagine the possibilities for your new space. Having an overall plan for your entire home will help you visualize the space and create a coherent look throughout your home. A designer can help you create the design and help you understand the renovation and implement your project best. Based on the scope of work that needs to be done, your designer can help you create a phased plan that will help you implement your design smoothly or overtime if needed.

FOUR

Time to sort and purge items. Even if you decide that you would only like to make small changes, assess the items in your home. If that old coffee table has seen better days and you always wanted to replace it, now is the time to sort and purge closets and storage areas. Purging items might free up the extra space needed to enhance one of your renovation projects or help your existing space function better than it has in the past. Looking at your whole space in a different light can be much easier when the spaces are cleared and organized.

FIVE

Add some luxury. If you always wanted to have a white sofa but were nervous about maintaining it, now is the time to go for it. Designer fabrics are so user-friendly now and are very easy to maintain if chosen carefully. Adding accessories or finishes, even small additions to a room can enhance comfort and give you a touch of luxury. Enjoy using all those finishes that you have been thinking about including in your home someday.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

How To Make Design Decisions That Stand The Test Of Time

How To Make Design Decisions That Stand The Test Of Time

When you shop for design elements for your home or scan through the latest Pinterest pins, HGTV episode, or design publications, you start to see definite patterns of popular design trends. Interior design trends come and go just like the latest fashion trends. Some design trends might last longer than some of the fashion trends you purchased last summer, but they still, in fact, have a cycle of popularity.

Some design trends last a few seasons, and other design trends could last for a decade or so. When designing your entire home or shopping for a few simple home accessories, it’s hard not to be influenced by the current design trends since we see it when we are shopping at a retail store. There are ways to utilize current design trends in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling regretful in a few years about the choices that you’ve made. More significant, more permanent design elements can be pricey, and you want to be sure that the products you choose are something that you’re going to like in the future. Here are a few tips when making design decisions to avoid “design trend regret.”

broken floor tile
Add rich color.

ONE

Be patient. Take your time when shopping for your home. Don’t buy the first thing that you see. You might be shopping for a simple throw pillow, and yet everyone is showing orange throw pillows. You want a blue or green, but you don’t see many in those colors to choose from. You finally settle for the orange because it’s readily available. Take your time when making design decisions. A few custom-designed throw pillows can give you any look that you like but will take longer to customize than a quick trip to the store. As a result, you might be ready to get rid of those orange throw pillows after a few months, but the well-thought-out design selection choosing fabrics and styles that customized to your look could last you a very long time.

TWO

Incorporate trendy items in small ways. You might love a popular pattern or print, and you want to incorporate it in your home. You’re not sure that you want that super trendy pattern on a sofa since that will last you a lot longer. Try incorporating the pattern in a throw blanket or a few inexpensive pillows or accessories; this will allow you to integrate trendy patterns and colors in your homes without a large investment.

THREE

Use classic shapes and fabrics for large purchases. A classic white sofa can stand the test of time, allowing you to use trendier fabrics and patterns on top of that traditional white background.

FOUR

Choose all of your construction and renovation elements carefully. You might only be renovating that kitchen once, so choosing a super trendy countertop or backsplash tile might be something that you regret a few years from now; this is where the help of a designer can be very valuable. Knowing what design elements are trendy and what elements are classic can help choose tile countertops, cabinet design, and fixtures. If you love that super trendy light fixture, then go for it, but at least you’ll be entering into that decision knowing that you might find that it starts to feel dated after a few years.

FIVE

I am a firm believer in using items that you love in your home. If you choose items that you love, you might love them five years from now or even ten years from now. We all love seeing those design trends and the beautiful items that we can choose from to decorate our homes. Just don’t feel like you have to have a specific item or color because that is popular. Our homes should be an expression of ourselves. We are all unique individuals and can express our personalities through our homes, and the result is a unique blend of styles colors that fit you, your personality, and your lifestyle for many years to come.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

How A Designer Can Help You When You Are Moving Into A New Home

How A Designer Can Help You When You Move Into A New Home.

Purchasing a new home is exciting. But planning out how your new home will look and function can be a little overwhelming. Are you excited about designing your new space, but you’re not sure if your existing furniture will work in the space or if you should plan on some new pieces?

You know that you would like to renovate the kitchen and bathroom in your new home, but you’re unsure if you’ll get to that right away. Where should you start?

The living room and dining room might not be as costly to renovate, but you know that you would like to add the new furniture to that space. Should you start there?

There are so many things to consider.

broken floor tile
Add rich color.

ONE

Involve an interior designer early on in the process. Suppose you’re thinking about purchasing a home based on the idea that you envision a beautifully renovated kitchen in the home you’re looking at. In that case, you might want to get some professional advice early on. Then you can be sure that you can create the kitchen of your dreams in this existing home. Sometimes people aren’t aware of how much space it takes to do things. You might envision a large kitchen with a beautiful island, but in reality, once things are measured out and designed, you might not have room for that in the space you’re looking at. Having involvement from a designer early on in the process can help you make intelligent decisions on a house right for you. A small amount of advice from a designer is well worth the cost if it keeps you from buying the wrong home or confirming your decision that this house will become what you would like it to be.

TWO

Have your designer take a look at your new space and your current living space. If you purchased a house and are awaiting your moving day see if you can arrange a site visit with the designer to review the new home and visit your existing home. Viewing both locations will allow the designer to see all of your furnishings and how you currently live in the space and help you create an idea and interior design plan for your new home. Doing this before you move can help you decide which pieces of furniture will work in your new home. Then you can avoid moving items into the new space that are not going to work.

THREE

If you’ve just moved into a new home involving a designer early on can help you settle into your new space. Before you go too far into your plans, a designer can help you decide how to set up your room. If a renovation is something you’re thinking about, your designer’s input is invaluable in creating a phased plan of action for your new home. Helping prevent backtracking as many times, homeowners dive into a project and then later down the line start an extensive renovation project like a kitchen or bathroom and realize that adjacent rooms will be affected when renovating some of these more complicated spaces. You don’t want to have to be putting holes in that expensive wallpaper in your dining room because now you’re going to be renovating the adjacent kitchen and need access to the walls for piping or electrical work. Your designer will help you create a plan of action that makes sense for your goals and for the process of renovating a home.

FOUR

A designer will help infuse YOUR personality into your home. Settling into a new space can be difficult. You have so many ideas, and you want to make the place feel like you’re home. You can accomplish this quickly and easily by getting the help of the designer. Creating a warm, inviting, functional space is essential, but a good designer will easily create a space that reflects the homeowner’s personality. Discuss your ideas with your designer; giving them insight into your likes and dislikes will help them use their skills to create a design that you will love. It’s the quickest way to help your new space feel like your home.

FIVE

If you want to move into your new home knowing some of the big projects have already been taken care of or knowing that you are ready to re-design your home from the beginning, contact your designer as soon as you know where you are moving. A design plan for your entire home can be created so that the bulk of the work can be done before you move in, with thorough advanced planning. You are allowing plenty of time to create a detailed design plan for your furnishings or perhaps renovate the space before moving in. Once you move in, your designer can set up your entire home from the beginning. I have all items delivered at once.

Several situations can be encountered when moving; the stress of packing, planning, and relocating can be very disorienting. Knowing that you have a design plan for your new home from the beginning can help you feel confident that you will be able to tackle putting your new space together, whether you do it over time or all at once.

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

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